Saturday, April 27, 2019

Journey to Kyoto/Poetry

Why do they seek me out -- the mad?

When all I want is to be sane and simple,
To watch the waves and count the flowers
And tell the stories of my heart?

Why do they follow me, demanding that I join them in insanity?

I want to cook the gentle food,
watch plants emerge with fruits and flower,
rub soft furred ears, toss balls for tots.

Do they think to break me, when my only goal is
to bring forth the light that's deep within my soul,
to join enlightenment as one, forever?

It's the first step that's the hardest.
After that, it's just a matter of persistence.   

Friday, April 26, 2019

Death and Social Media

Death and Social Media 

For years I've done all the right things.  I've had a blog.  I've had Twitter. I've had Facebook.  I haven't had Instagram because I am not a photographer.  I'm a writer.  I don't know what to do with it.  But I've been looking into it.
And then Something Bad Happened.
All social media is premised on the idea that people are generally nice.
They aren't.
Somebody started trying to engage me with a half-dozen or more spoofed identities stolen from people I know.  I was pretty quick in catching those, and that unleashed The Wrath of Demons.
They established at least a dozen accounts using my very unusual name -- which continues to turn up as very, very rare.  Trying to get rid of those.  
I do have a business to run, and I don't have time to learn this crap.  I resent that I have to.  But I knock some down and more pop up.  This leaves me in one place, until they lose interest and go away.

I can't use social media.

I can't establish accounts under a different name:  my name is part of my branding.  This is part of my business name.  I can't just make up a (non-existent) middle initial or something.  My name is part of my brand, my business, and it's not just up for grabs and easy to change.
What did people do before social media engagement became a primary way for writers to engage with readers?
Do those ways still exist anymore?
I guess I'll find out.
This blog is more secure. I'll be communicating here.  
There IS a new book coming out in June.  This isn't going to stop me.  It's not even going to slow me down.
I do not do "giving up."

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Linguistic Milestone/Going native

As soon as you can make "arigato" and "konnichiwa" understood, people will start telling you how great your Japanese is.

I noticed some time ago I wasn't getting that anymore.  That's considered a milestone in language learning.  Well, good.  I've lived here a year and a half. I should be getting better.

But in the last couple of months, I have noticed something new.

Unless I am in an area populated by at least 50% foreigners, nobody speaks to me in anything but Japanese anymore, and often not even then.  They take my ability to speak in reasonably competent Japanese for granted.  I don't know why.

When I run into a wall, where the conversation starts going over my head (and this happens fairly often)  I now get cranky looks!  I apparently speak well enough that I am supposed to be fluent -- at least for my present purpose, whatever that may be.

Of course, I am finding this very funny.  I just wish I were as fluent as they think I am, or should be.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sakura Season

The cult of sakura is based on the notion that sakura blossoms are so fleeting that they must be cherished and enjoyed immediately, like life.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Sorrow in joy.  Be conscious of the moment with its splendor and its sadness.  Live in the now.
It's Tuesday, April  2, and the absolute peak perfection of probably the most popular of the sakura tree varieties is this week, with huge parties planned for last weekend and the next.  Today may be the height of perfection for certain trees along my usual route.  I duly went out an admired them.
However, the season actually goes on for weeks.
First the Official Bloom Predictors (I can't remember the name, but there is truly such a body, I think connected with the national weather service) issue a prediction for when the blossoms are most likely to start and peak in different parts of the country.  They are alarmingly accurate.
This prediction will be formally announced and sakura watchers will start checking trees on a daily basis so the forecast may be updated.
People will start planning parties, large and small, public and private, reserving spaces in public places known for their blooms, hiring buses, reserving restaurants, catering picnics.  This is a HUGE event.
Food vendors will start selling everything pink and everything made with preserved blossoms from last year.  They don't taste like much to me, but they are pretty.  Like candy corn at Hallowe'en, it's the season so you have to buy some.
People will plan trips to the country, so they must book train tickets (yes, there's a premium for the tickets at this season) and rental cars and hotels.  Onsen resorts have probably been booked since last year.
People like me, who have invitations to hanami (flower viewing parties and events) will also watch and enjoy seeing the flower buds swell on different varieties of trees, watching the early varieties color first, then bloom and now reach their peak.
These will fade and the blossoms blow away as the leaves burst out and then the later varieties bloom, fade, fall and leaf out.  It'll go on for another couple of weeks, easily.
The whole thing takes at least six weeks.  I try to think of the reason for all the excitement and enjoy every single second of it.
And it really is wonderful!