Sunday, January 23, 2005

Im turning Japanese I think Im turning Japanese I really think so

Sunday January 23 2005
I read `Hokkaido Highway Blues` by Will Ferguson over the last week or so.Going back and forward to work via train.I didnt find myself "laughing out loud in recognition".The author trots out every stereotype and chestnut in the book-literally.Towards the end I was trying to spot which tired cliche he'd drag out next um maybe it`ll be the pachinko parlor oh no its the xenophobic anti-American drunk businessman reading manga who fought in WW2 and wants to strike up a conversation using really bad English....yawn.
Maybe its because Ive been here the same length of time as Will-san.
Maybe its because it seems so unoriginal.
Maybe its because of his hypocritical attitude towards the locals generosity;on the one hand he decries their willingness to share yet on the other hand is quite willing to take full advantage of it....not so much a 'travel ferret` as a `travel rat`.
Maybe I could write something equally banal by merely thumbing through a travel guide(he mentions Lonely Planet) drop a few place names and invent a few one dimensional caricatures.
Maybe I could get Bill Bryson to call me 'gifted' too.'Gifted can to my mind include 'intellectually challenged'.
As for his so-called insights yeah they are deep"When you are pinned to the centre every journey is a circle" or even deeper,"One runs through ghosts in Japan and the past is always there.." wow

Random Thoughts

The new Secretary of Education in the States is a woman with the surname "Spellings".Somehow I cant see literacy rates rising.

Out of sheer boredom and a spasm of creativity I decorated another Japanese Tobacco Company cigarette vending machine.They are emblazoned with the stupid slogan "Taste Your Delight".With the aid of an indelible black marker this can be changed to the more honest "Taste Your Death".Its my personal program of revenge against a company that has bastardized an innocent Joni Mitchell song (among others) to coerce people to adopt cancer as a lifestyle.

"Your music collection is a little outdated"...sigh yes Im sorry I still play The Smiths and The Beatles and Godforbid the occasional Mozart on the basis that its not of this decade or century.
Can music age well or badly like wine or fashion? that Will Ferguson is an insight.

Friday, January 14, 2005

`Coz you have to believe this will be your year"...Friday January 14 2005

My all too brief work break from Dec 29-Jan 5 was busy as I juggled DVD watching,reading,writing the odd New Year card and paper mache activities.
I rented Big Fish and Elelphant with a few lesser titles over the break.I enjoyed Big Fish..Tim Burton is a very visual director as opposed to one who concentrates on words as he said in the commentary ,film is a visual medium and he isnt a fact there are a couple of scenes in the movie that are virtually devoid of the spoken word but the actors notably Albert Finney and Jessica Lange managed to convey more because of this absence.He also noted that theres too much reliance today on cg effects.He used where possible the real things including a seven foot giant man to give the actors something other than a blue screen to work with plus he maintained that audiences intuitively knew when things were false or artifical.
As for Elephant loosely based on the Columbine school shootings it was deliberately low-key and understated which made the resulting killings all the more difficult to comprehend..the film was criticised for not pointing the finger at the causes.Personally I think thats crap..there are various things hinted at.Its up to the viewer to decide..Im sick of movies that rob their audiences of intelligence and lead them by the nose through a plot..were the killers mad or bad..i cant say for sure..
I usually rent DVDs if possible because they have extra features such as directors commentaries explaining why they did this or that and left things in etc...Unfortunately the only thing I learned from the commentary of `In the Cut` was that New Zealand director Jane Campion is a very ill mannered obnoxious opinionated woman.Right from her opening sentence producer Laurie Parker was interupted continually by Campion who literally hogged the commentary they were doing suposedly together.It wasnt only her grating accent and monotonal voice that annoyed me it was Campions constant intrusion into Parkers conversation that got my hackles up.Near the end Parkers reduced to a few grunts of approval as Campion prattles on.It would have been nice to hear something from the production side rather than Campions lofty pretentious arty farty dribble.Besides which the video was pretty crap.
Paper Mache
Due to the inclement weather I didnt get much done as it took far longer for the glue,gesso and paint to dry than I calculated.Still I managed to finish a couple of things which now adorn the Voice Room at work including a little Cloud 9 which Im quite chuffed with.There are 2 more things almost complete while Ive got a blue moon piece on the drawing boards..must see if I can get photos on this blog.
New Years Day
Spent a quiet New Years Day happily reading the best American Magazine Articles of 2004...the local Shrine was crowded with locals making their first and probably only visit to the shrine this year and taking the oppurtunity to pass around fake 10,000yen notes they`d copied on their home computers the night before..
If theres one Japanese word thats entered the worlds collective vocabulary it must be tsunami.While not directly affected by the events of December 26 I do know people who are waiting for the return of others who`d been holidaying in that region.I havent felt compelled to donate either despite the appeals of such humanitarian leaders as Sandra Bullock,Leo di Caprio or George Bush.seems to me the world is more than willing to rush aid to immediate natural disasters while almost wilfully ignoring festering man-made disasters such as Rwanda,the Congo or Dafur..wheres the equality,the justice...where is the love?
Im almost mobile again thanks to the good doctors and physios at NTT Hospital.I`ll have a slight permanent limp and my right foot will be a flat-foot but then I always fancied myself as Sam Spade.....I can lose the temporary cast this week and the crutches next week thank God so if you see me limping on the street walk on by.....