Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

Kasumi and I played tennis with Mio and Erik today. Then at night went to see Fahrenheit 911 with Kasumi.

The movie rocks. I can see the US right wing seething. Good. I like it when they seethe.

I am not saying it was convincing. Michael Moore was being disingenuous as usual. But the right wing needs a kick in the pants now and then. All political affiliations and "isms" need this. The left has already been having the shit kicked out of it for years now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

No time to leave a legend

A bit confused earlier today. Someone talked about his motto being “Live, love and leave a legend”. I wondered for a moment about that statement. It sounded really nice and all, but it just didn't resonate with me.

I think I had a problem with the part about leaving a legend.

I soon realized why - it just doesn't sound like something I want to sacrifice my net-surfing and book-reading and movie-watching time for.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Hiking

Spent the day in the mountains.

Assembled at 7am at Sai Market – me, Kasumi, Mio and Nakata-san.

First we went to Naeba-san. Hiked a long ways to an outdoor onsen.

Then hiked back to the car.

Drove to Gunma and found this small onsen village. Had ramen. Dip in the onsen. Very big, very clean, very comfortable. Had a mechanical Chinese foot massage.

Drove back to Tokyo. Made a stop at a service area. Had kenchin jiro soup.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Home party

Had a home party today. Kasumi’s party.

In attendance were Noda-san and Tango-san, Jack and Tetsuko, and Kaien and her son. The kid is starting Shogakko now.

It was fun talking to everyone. Noda-san and Tango-san as usual are not very knowledgeable about many things.

Jack talked about his mistrust and disdain for the power structure in the U.S. He said that the whole creation of wealth is based on the military. The worst thing about it is that it is not just one or a handful of people at the top orchestrating this thing, it is so deeply part of the system that everybody, or at least a very great number of people, are dependent on this military-industrial complex.

He did not believe Bush is evil, just dumb. He thinks Cheney is the worst of the current administration. I agreed, the guy is creepy. We talked about possible Bush Administration involvement in 9/11, he mentioned someone who wrote that bin Laden was a stooge for these guys, but Jack did not believe things went that far. I agreed with him there too.

Kaien also talked about some weird interesting stuff. Nowadays China is ridiculously capitalist. Universities are all privatized. Only the rich can attend. The gap between the rich and the poor is very bad. It sounds like a horrible society. Jack said that China always had a huge gap between those at the bottom of the heap and those at the top, and now it has reverted to that.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Museum day

Today was a major museum day.

I went to Uguisudani with Kasumi and Yoshida-san. Our first stop was the Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan).

Here was the order we saw/did things.

1) Checked out the Kichijoten National Treasure painting of Lakshmi. In addition we saw objects from the Yakushiji temple and its pagodas, mostly from the 8th century. The Lakshmi painting was definitely the centerpiece.


2) Saw a gorgeous resplendent collection of fine and decorative art from Japan as displayed in exhibitions in the west in the 19th century. A couple of things really struck me. One was a black underglazed porcelain framed piece. The artwork looked exactly like the kinds you see with the blue underglaze, but the black was a twist on it. It looked very cool and elegant. Another was a couple of shiny gold knife bejeweled knife cases.

3) We ate a fabulous lunch at the Hotel Okura Garden Terrace located in the Horyujikan. I had the Gastronomy Lunch, which included a fillet of beef steak along with shrimp in a reddish-orange creamy sauce. It set me back 3150 yen plus tax but was well worth it. The bread too was nice, seemed like a multi-grain brown bread.

4) Looked at a fine collection of objects from the Horyuji Temple, mostly from the 8th century. Some pieces that stood out in my mind were paper with sutras written on them. The kanji looks like the same characters as now. There was also a sutra in Sanskrit which looked exactly like today’s Devanagari scripts, not that I know them or anything. The writings were so clear and so neat they could have been done yesterday.

After this we walked into Ueno Park. We came upon the Tokyo-to Bijutsukan (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). There was an exhibition of objects from the Sechuan period in China. I wasn’t that interested but they were. It cost 1300 yen to get in. I decided to be a good sport, and also to take in these cultural things when it is foisted upon me. I probably sure as hell wouldn’t go on my own, but we grow as a result of both our own choices and also going along with what those close to us are doing.

After all this I was pretty museumed-out. As we continued walking through Ueno Park we passed by a science museum. Yoshida-san asked if we want to see that but I said I am overflowing with museum info at this point.

We then got on the Yamanote Line from Ueno Station’s Koen-guchi and went home.