Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Waterbed Fantasy

Everyone has fantasies.
It's true.
Even your mousy librarian in junior high (who used to wear odd apparel that clashed like elephant tusks with humus and couscous, who used to purr in ecstasy when she hammered a book card with her little stamp) had a fantasy of desire that plagued her every shelving day. And I'd be a prude if I didn't mention that it probably involved talking dirty poetry, a parking cone and a few vats of hibiscus juice and office supplies. But I trigress…

I, too, have an unrelenting fantasy. It's one that began chiseling itself into perfection when I was a ripe young teenager and first saw a waterbed in the house of the 16-year old anarchist boy I had a crush on.

But, you can stop reading now, because this particular waterbed fantasy, though involving a degree of moistness, is far from sexual and certainly involves the harming of no gerbils, curious snakes or even vacuums with low self esteems.
It goes something like this:
I approach the waterbed. I pull out a nail, or an ice pick or a vampire tooth or Goliath's sewing needle or a piece of a shattered German beer mug and go on a serial mattress-stabbing binge. Once I've poked a sufficient amount of holes, I toss something really heavy on the bed (a led-filled conch shell attached to a small-framed sumo wrestler), and sit back and bask in the beauty of my self-created fountain from which water flies in all directions, and transparent, liquid rainbows lick and slobber on all of the bedroom furniture. Ah, yes… a truly beautiful vision…

(Explanation: I was reminded of this silly childhood fantasy today, only because it's exactly what I'd like to do this evening. Only, I'd like to replace the waterbed with the clouds over this city in Japan.)
Let it rain!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Something wigged this way comes

Tripping a few dark nights ago over boxes packed only in my imagination; like floundering with a penguin on the edge of a close-to-collision iceberg, I was overcome by an intense need (not unlike a clingy friend) to sit swathed in blackness and humidity and listen to downloaded Ray Bradbury stories from my youth.

I'm not sure if it was the nostalgic scent of science fiction, or the malignant heat, but I've been feeling rather pensive ever since my evening spent with Ray.
And, honestly, I'm a little scared of this sudden melancholy. This, because, I usually am the kind of person who would do anything (including teach a raccoon in a clown wig to ice skate) just to maintain an empty cranium devoid of meaningful thoughts and, by all means, vacant of any musings of true universal significance.
But here I sit now, with a bit of newborn thunder threatening to make its way through the birth canal of the fat, soggy air, pondering the memory of a gift I got last year.

It wasn't the unripe Japanese radish my neighbor gave me, a smooth touristic recreation of the Obelisk or even a studded porcupine on speed. It was, in fact, the haphazard salad of words that a friend mused through the receiver. And the dressing-coated words floated through as modulated current flows politely greeting a distant origin - granules compressed and re-guided, amplified and alienated; their frequency transformed into something I once found on the seat of a train in New York. The words themselves were too simple for recollection, the meaning too deeply reminiscent of volcanic expansion. In fact, I can't even remember the words. But I remember the feeling engendered by what I heard…
And what I heard, what spilled out, through duplex coil on the night of a typhoon was nothing but static. Static so clear, I could taste salty remnants of the big bang and feel my skin cracking with a coating of brine shrimp and sun.

That's it. No more Bradbury for a while. Bring in the raccoon and four tiny ice skates! And, why not a tiny nocturnal mammal-sized hockey stick too?! I don't have time for this thinking thingy. It stings.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Leg Spa

Just as I was traversing the final slope into sleep last night, the phone rang. Slightly delirious in that Jorge Luis Borjes-bred middle ground between waking and sleeping, it seemed quite a strange and surreal phone call.
It was a friend of mine, slightly inebriated, just calling to say hi.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I responded, as one does.

(This particular friend speaks excellent English, so I can speak with uninhibited fluency without having to slow my words down to snail-speak.)
We chatted about mundane things for a minute and then got to talking about our weekends. As one does.
And, this was when it turned all magical-realismy.

“So what did you do yesterday?” I asked.
“Oh, I went to a leg spa!”
“Mm. I see.”
“Yeah, they had many boiling legs, and I ate some.”

And the magical realism kicked in like the first wave of a good trip. Gabriel Garcia Marquez couldn't have painted a more vivid image in my head.

Suddenly I saw a luxurious spa/resort in the secluded Japanese countryside. It was beautiful, with heated, marble-bedded floors and high ceilings.
It was apparently quite a popular joint too,
because there were hundreds of vacationing families of legs there! Mama leg and baby leg soaked in the hot pools while grandpa leg sipped sake in the leg spa bar. And, for the first time, I felt what it must be like to be a leg on holiday!

The vision vanished like inhibitions on a Saturday night
And was replaced by the realization that my friend was just talking about a hot spring where you go to soak your feet and boil eggs.

What a rip-off!
Leg Spa my ass!

Friday, June 24, 2005

On Head Shrinking

Some hobbies are really easy. Like, watching T.V., bungee jumping, arbitrary rock collecting and staring at the wall.

Others require a bit more skill, like scuba diving, finger painting, jump roping and patchwork quilt making.

Then, you have the hobbies that require quite a lot of adroitness indeed. Like under-water origami, haiku writing in a headstand position, part-time Quantum Physics in the bath tub of Newton's 'Love Hotel', and doing your taxes
in the dark
with a zebra balanced on your head.

Yeah, those are pass-times that would certainly give you a deep respect for Sisyphus and his stubborn stone.

But, I have to say that the MOST difficult (as well as utterly heinous and time-consuming) hobby would have to be
Head shrinking.

I mean, let's think about this…
(Warning: this is not for the faint of dark humour)

First, you have to acquire a head. Preferably from one of your arch-foes.

Then, you have to slit open the head and carefully peel the dermal husk from it to be saved.

Then, you have to coordinate a meeting with the Spirit of the Anaconda in the river to arrange a sacrifice of skull and sticky brains. (this task can be particularly hard, as the spirit of the anaconda has quite a busy schedule)

Next, you have to get yourself some chinchipi plant juice (maybe it's just me, but I can't find it in any of the local supermarkets).

Then boil with water for a few hours.

After that, simply throw the head in and watch it shrink. (Parental Supervision Advised)

And finally, it's a mere matter of shaking the head filled with heated stones for about a week, sewing three bamboo pegs in its mouth and charcoal painting its face so the spirit can't come back and drop in, uninvited to dinner parties.

And, voila! You've shrunk a head!

Now, display it on a sharp fence pole.

And, there you have it. My Top Pick for Difficult-Hobbies-you-hope-your-child-will-never-try.

(Sidenote: When I have a child, I think I'll give him a stack of origami paper, some paints, a scuba get-up and ask him to contemplate balancing a zebra on his head in the Space-Time contiunum. Yeah, I know. Some people just shouldn't have kids.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Astonished in the Loo

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve written here about Toilet Paper.

And I know that my corroding Dignity would be obliviously arrogant if it didn’t expect a Bulk package of bitch-slaps for such a homicidal, brutal over-beating of such a banal topic...

But I just can’t help myself.

Afterall, toilet paper is such a universally-relatable theme.
Everyone uses it.
(...or, at least, knows of its use by someone else)

What I’m really spiral-doodling myself towards, though, is the astounding and marvelously progressive phenomenon of “Self-rejuvenating toilet paper rolls in Japanese public bathrooms”.

In L.A., I would rather carve off my toe nails with a butter knife and pour salt, Tequila and lime in their place than step into a public park bathroom without proper protection (something along the lines of a gas mask and a full de-contamination lab outside).
And, 9.9 times out of ten, there is no toilet paper aside from that soggy tissue under the syringe.

But, here in Japan, I have been repeatedly astonished by the cleanliness of outdoor, public bathrooms and, most importantly- unsuspectingly ambushed by the presence of teams of up-to-bat toilet paper rolls in the most unlikely of defecation/ urination forums.
I mean, where else in the world is there a government-offered, free line-up of toilet paper rolls that manages to maintain its position over weeks in a downtown public park?

Just yesterday I walked to the top of an overgrown hill whose trail was inhabited by ubiquitous Spring growth, plastic Pokemon toys, sake bottles, candy-wrappers, refrigerators, old tires, new bamboo shoots, dragon flies and empty bento boxes.
Guess what I found in the vine and bush-devoured pisser up there?
Yup: Three curious spiders, seven eager branches, a rain-wrecked comic book and

three pristine, untouched rolls of toilet paper.

...Nothing short of miraculous, I tell you...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Metaphorical Glamour

I’m rolling out the long, metaphorical Red Carpet today. I’m putting on my finest, metaphorical black, sequined dinner party gown and getting a metaphorical manicure. I’m slipping on the metaphorical crystal high-heels and draping myself with metaphorical glamour.
Why such metaphorical extravagance?
I’m welcoming a very good friend to the Blogosphere today. If you’ve ever wondered what Cookie Monster, Che Guevara, and Camaron have in common, you can check his blog out here .
With that done, I can now metaphorically remove my glamour.
It was a little too big on me anyway.

(*Update: I realize that, strictly speaking, none of these are really metaphors. But, unfortunately with loss of braincells comes depleted vocabulary and reduced motor skills (for example, I sometimes catch myself accidentally poking myself in the eye and exclaiming "Couch!!".)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Naked Dinner

Don't worry. This isn't an “I-had-a-dream-last-night-that-I-showed-up-to-dinner-with-my teeth-falling-out-and-then-started-falling-and-falling-only-to-realize-I-had-no-clothes-on” post.
Nor is it an inspired Ode to Burroughs,
or heroin for that matter.

It's about four empty, wooden, grieving bookcases.
These solitary shelves in mourning were home to an eclectic family of children, all geniuses at an early age, who harnessed Words like Cinderella's carriage did mice. That is to say, with a lot of magic and agility.
But just hours ago, ALL of their children went up for adoption, or were sold as sex slaves to under-privileged Vietnamese youth. (read: I'm cleaning out my apartment in preparation for a move)

Just imagine the Emptiness and Nakedness these lonely, wooden vaults of creativity must be feeling right now!
I mean, it's one thing when your kids take off to get laid and dabble in drugs at college, because you know you will see them again… (or at least, someone who looks like them.) But, when they dive into a bookcase at the bottom of the Dead Sea or decide to become hermits in the back of a silverware drawer, sustaining themselves on occasional splattered spaghetti sauce for the rest of eternity, the loss is indescribably organ-scarring.

So, I think I'm gonna take my vacant bookcases with me to dinner tonight. That way, we can wake up to find ourselves displaying our bodies white-assed a la Adam-n-Eve together over wine and pasta.

(The 30 other guests present at tonight's meal might find it bit odd when I enter with two bookcases under my arms and two more balanced on my head…
Oh well.
"My therapist told me to do it!")

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kidnappers and Blinking Lights

First they blindfolded me with a gortex, pink bandana.
Then they gagged me with a genetically-engineered hamburger bun the size of a pro-women's basketball.
Then, they fettered and chained me with string cheese and lots of old shoelaces tied together.
Then they threw me in the back of a car speeding up a mountain road.
Then they took me out of the car, removed my blindfold and we stood in silence on a bridge, watching dying stars in the river.

Ok… so I made some of this up.
They weren't really astronomy-high kidnappers. They were my adult students. And they didn't really gag me with a hamburger bun, or even really blindfold me.
But, they did throw me in a car navigating a mountain road at high speeds. And then we did stand in silent darkness watching fireflies along the river.
There was one truly breath-taking moment for me when my friend was looking, bowed in reverence, at the tiny, pulsating life force in the palm of his hand, and everything seemed to simultaneously come together and fall apart.
And then
They released the string cheese bindings around my chest, and my breath came back to me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ghandi had no Catnip

“We all want to be in touch with the Divine. We all want to dissolve the Ego. That's why orgasms are so popular.”
-Tom Robbins

A New Recipe for achieving Enlightenment:

1) Put your Ego in a zip-lock bag with lots of holes in it. Then throw it on your neighbor's roof.
2) Close your eyes and contemplate an enormous, empty denim jacket sleeve.
3) Balance three plates in your right hand, a baby shower, box of catnip and some dried octopus in your left, and a hybrid pick-up truck filled with children and desert sand on your head.
4) Go pick up the zip-lock bag from your neighbor's roof.
5) Relax and order yourself a high-quality orgasm on the rocks.

Hot Potato Grandma

Today, I gave my 13-year-old students dictionaries and told them to write a journal entry of some kind. The results gave me confidence that they will soon be ready to dominate the House of Blog. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

“My grandmother had a cancer last week. I was shocked. She was passed on to the other side.”
(I have to wonder who was involved in passing grammy to the other side. Also, I just had a great Sports Festival activity idea: Why not try a “Grandma-passing relay”? Wholesome fun for the whole family!)

“I rode a jet coaster and eated many popcorns with brother. It was exciting. The weather was cold and dad. But I had a good time there.”
(How about this for a Menu item:
Popcorns with Brother - Lightly-buttered brother on crunchy bed of popcorns
And how about this for a weather forecast:
60% chance of rain today. Don't forget your umbrella, just in case you find that the weather is dad. (I once knew a guy who learned that the weather was his cousin Billy twice removed. He was definitely glad he'd brought his umbrella that day!)

“I played yakuza yesterday ate school. I was very fun.”
(I DID sense there were some heavy mob vibes yesterday over school lunch when the puny, geeky kid was forced to give his apricot pudding to the cool, big kid…)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Abduction or Fantasy?

I felt like I was a puppet in one of those Japanese anime movies where the main character steps onto a bus, or into an abandoned building or through a gate and is spirited away into a world of ghosts, imaginary creatures and magic.
In my case, it was a building, though hardly abandoned. The living dead circled: some staring at this alien, human intruder and others lying on their backs, floating across the floor on squeaky wheels. The air felt centuries old and, I swear, I saw some of the mops scrubbing the floors without a handler.

Yes, it was my annual check-up at the small-town hospital.
First, they filled a syringe the size of a large, straightened plantain with my blood. (“Hey!You thieving, living-Dead cunts,” I wanted to scream. “stop! There's a really good reason that red stuff is in my arm and not in your alchemist's plantain!”)
Then they attached diodes and wires to my legs and arms and little octopus tentacles to the flesh covering my major organs. (“Wait a minute… this isn't a check-up offered free to Junior High School employees… It's the result of Neptune's new legislation to up the 2005 status quo for abductions!”)
Then an old woman (who I'm fairly certain had a bulging, third eyeball on her left breast) took my hand and placed it on a joystick. I played an exceptionally boring video game for two minutes, and the woman then cooed at me like an eerie dove at midnight (“Per-r-r-r-rfect eye site”, the Third Eye added in ghetto dove dialect).

“Now, pee in a cup, and we'll lock you in a small torture box to check your hearing.”

And that was that.

(For the record, I'm healthy as vegetable juice with good hearing, perfect eye site, regular heart beat, and diabetes-free. Just an abnormally high blood-alcohol level and an engorged, psychological understanding of the Living Dead.)

Winner of a Blowfish!

Why is it that when something is offered to us for free, whether we want it or not, we usually take it?
I was in a convenience store last week, making a meager purchase of pineapple tea and salt-doused soy beans, when I was forced to stick my hand into the mouth of a box and pull out a card.
“Wow!” exclaimed the acne-freckled boy behind the counter upon examining my card, “You are so lucky!”
I had won a free Instant Cup-O-Noodle! Whoopie! It was some new, experimental potato-cream flavored ramen (mixed with some other flavor represented in the form of an indecipherable, obviously Plutonian kanji). I took it.
It could have been a peppered Que-tip with dipping slug slime, or a glow-in-the-dark bristle-less toothbrush with soccer balls and blowfish dangling from it,
and I probably would have taken it.
Just to be polite.

And then I go and point fingers at blowfish-esque corporations for excessive production of non-biodegradable waste, when what I really should be doing is signing up with the local Hypocrites Anonymous Therapy Group.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Of Beavers and Things Tiny

This afternoon, I was sitting in the tiny park across the street from my tiny apartment, oscillating on the tiny swing, a tiny canned coffee beside me with tiny sand barnacles clinging to it. I was only a tiny way in to my book, and the tiny pigeon steps were initiating a tiny percussion performance beside the only-moderately tiny sandbox.

I was just reading the sentence: “He would've reached out and stroked her beaver, I'm fucking sure of it, except that only Barry would have noticed,” when a tiny old Japanese grandma, whose tiny vertebrae aligned themselves at a 90% angle to her tiny legs, started talking to my not-so-tiny, white shoulder.

Even if I could have understood her Japanese (which imitated, in a tiny way, the language spoken by a rice field at dusk), I just couldn't concentrate. I was completely overcome by the polar opposite of tiny embarrassment.

I mean, who did I think I was?! Sitting there, reading about beavers being caressed (and subconsciously fantasizing about my own beaver gnawing on a tree trunk) in the presence of such a kind, wise elder (albeit slightly impaired in the realms of articulation and height)?

But I couldn't let grandma read the last sentence from my book through my eyes, so I bowed my head and told her I would love to visit her family for dinner.

(Oh, man! I think I misplaced my sarcasm today!! If you come across it, please return it to me immediately. You can spot it by its tiny, glittery beads on its tiny, pink toe nails.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Criminal Clock on the loose!

Suspect: average male, short, square, with blue-tinted plastic body

Profile: demented serial dream-killing Alarm Clock

Transport: he rides a polka-dotted pendulum that swings back and forth between 'The Land of Perpetual Beeping' and 'The Land of Anal Second Hand Movement'

Description: schizophrenic alarm clock. A cheap, non-descript criminal who distinguishes himself only by the glow-in-the-dark stickers tattooed on his hour and second hands. Armed with serious agression.

Please, if you see this clock or hear his piercing, soprano beeping scream, serially dream-killing through your neighborhood, don't panic. Just notify your local authorities immediately!

Enforcement teams are assembled around the globe, ready to detain this monster!

Cheek muscle work-out

I went sailing on Sunday and damn, if I didn't catch myself smiling like a maniac! The maniacal sailing smile is just one kind of smile, though.
Smiles come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of sincerity.
Here are some of my favorites:

1) The “Say Cheese Smile”
(It's the smile we've all honed over years of snapshots and fingering through photo albums. It's the smile we can count on to always look moderately decent, whether we're in front of the Eiffel Tower, or sleeping on a worm-carrying Tequila bottle in downtown Mexico City, or offering cigarettes to the monkeys at the San Diego Zoo, making vulgar poses beside Ms. Mona Lisa, or acting out 'Frankly, my dear, I just don't give a damn' in a bar in Casablanca. It's the reliable pointed-lens-inspired smile.)

2) The “Nervous Smile”
(It's the I'm-a little-uncomfortable-and-don't-really-know-what-to-say-so-here's-a-nice little-lip-crescent-to-fill-the-awkwardness Smile. This one is especially popular in Japan.)

3) The “I'm a self-recognized idiot Smile”
(This is one of my favorites and by far my most frequently used smile. It's the one we use when we realize we just said something really stupid, absurd, gullible, inappropriate or completely out-of-context. For example: “Oh! You went to the dairy museum yesterday? How nice. I sang karaoke with a cannibal.”)

4) The I-Know-what-you're-talking-about-but-really-have-no-clue Smile
(It's the smile we use when we didn't understand a word of what was just said but we really wish we did, because it sounded exceptionally intriguing. And it included a wet, sexy surfer!)

5) The sincere humour-inspired Smile
(It's the sincere face muscle response to hearing something that we find genuinly funny. In my demented case, it might be inspired by an exclamation like: “The sky is vomiting felines and pregnant precipitation again!” or “I just realized I'd forgotten to realize. Again.”)

6) The True Smile
(This one is entirely individualistic. It might be salty, ocean wind-inspired, or rice-field chorus frog-song conjured. It could be anything really. Like the image of electrons in Adidas sweat suits irradically jumping from lotus to lotus as they cycle through their iPod playlists. Or, it could come when an old friend is sewing a patch on their bathrobe and looking for their passport. Or when you can finally see those stars that had been drinking Heinekins behind a murky sky for so long..)

Well, there are at least 2842 more Smiles to address, but (as you may have noticed from my recent lull in posts), I'm really busy right now.

But, I'll find time to test-drive a few more smiles today!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Constipated Larvae craps Fireflies

I was never much of a pyromaniac as kid. I never set fire to a toothbrush, a beetle, a shed or even my grandma's pants.

But, I have to say that I became a bona fide fire-groupie tonight as I swam down the local mountain among a school of bamboo-torch-toting locals.

It was the annual mountain festival, celebrating Mt. Daisen's rebirth in a new season.

Looking up at the hundreds of flame-carrying bodies descending in the dark mist, I was mauled by paralyzing beauty (and, apparently, cheap clichés as well!).

I wish I could describe the brilliance of this trail of fire through the trees that made me want to stick a hand (preferably someone else's) down my pants and stenographize.

This is as close as I can get, though:

Just imagine a caterpillar.
Now imagine the caterpillar's smoothly winding path along a recently rain-pecked forest floor.
Now, imagine the forest blind-folded in drizzle.
Now imagine the caterpillar again.
The caterpillar is steadily shitting out 200 families of fireflies per meter as he travels.

Yup. That just about explains it.
Now, where's my lighter? My toothbrush is begging for a barbeque.

Friday, June 03, 2005


What I actually wanted to post today was something entitled “Snowboarders in Summer”. I was going to report on a few conversations I had last night about 'Snow that isn't here now but IF it were…'
It would have been the story of some Japanese mountain bums - turned Quantum Physicists. A classic and emotional Coming-of-Snowboarder-Age Spring Season Must-Read.
But, unfortunately, I got lost on the way to the Best-Seller list…..
So, we'll see no royalties from this brilliant idea of young, yuki-darumas entering the rainy season.

And why? Who caused such a potentially, career-bashing side-track?,
Well, the fame-blocking Culprit was:
The Dullest Blog in the World ; a site that elucidates the various deeds of every day life with great understanding and has kept me giggling through every attempt my neurons have made at writing (or seriousness, for that matter).

It's hard to accomplish anything when you're giggling.
But, I have a witness who can support my claim that I can still do SOME things, anyway:

"Yes, my neighbor, -c. She is very kind woman. American from. But she laugh is very loud in the shower every day."

(Sidenote: Thanks, Ted , for having this link on your blog. I'll never be productive again.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

God's Crush on an Atheist

(God blogs sometimes when others are being sarcastic and he's feeling down...:)

I got the blues. I got 'em real bad.
I'm in love with a girl. A girl who doesn't even believe I exist.

Her crooked, crescent grin is more delicious in its fecundity than Adam's first rib, and her parted, slender legs make me wish my publishers had edited out that Red Sea bit from my closet of skeletal shrapnel. And when I see the jealous wind off the ocean comb her long hair back like a narrow canyon does, I feel an insatiable guilt over my condemning verdict in the Solomon case. Yes, she is truly the most magnificent and beautiful creature in my creative portfolio!

But, damn, does she piss me off sometimes. For example, on our first date, when darkness was upon the face of the deep, and there was still some formless void, she said, “I got it,” and hit the light switch. I mean, what?, does she think God doesn't have feelings and pride too?!

But, still, love is irrational. I would carve myself into a giant, salt Pokemon sculpture for just one glimpse, over my shoulder, of her radiance!

But, then she goes and does something like eat shell fish! Or she claims that my resume/c.v. was plagiarized off some Quack named Evolutionary Science. Or she covets her neighbor's mountain bike while babbling on about how unethical slavery is. I mean…, it just makes me crazy!

But, then… it takes only a few moments of passion beneath the firmament for me to forgive. Even her insistence that we call the firmament the “sky” doesn't bother me anymore.

I'm in love with a girl.
I just wish I could get her to believe I exist.

(cue final blues bass line and harmonica)