The cyclical nature of blogging and life in general has caused my absence from thinks for a while. I prefer reading other people's blogs at the moment.
We watched Jarhead yesterday, with Jake Darko. It's OK, but nothing really worth writing about. It's just a little bit in film no-man's-land. It is a war film, after all.
I'm listening to Grandaddy after a hiatus of many months. His voice is still soothing.
I now have 7 more days at my job and 20 days before we leave for the tropical paradise that is Hawaii. We've rented a Ford Focus for 6 days and this time we're sure to have a CD player. In LA our car hardly had an engine and Naomi ended up listening to her Ipod as I drove done the Interstate to the desert.
Yoski and I are going snowboarding again, the second time this year for two days. This time we're off to Naeba in Niigata prefecture.
posted by PA on Sunday, February 19, 2006
Blogs with prizes?
Have a look here and see if you can win a nice Babyatom t-shirt: babyatom music quiz
posted by PA on Monday, February 13, 2006
Just finished my Friday night's music session. When I sung this song I was basically thinking of Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! but that's not to say it's in that league. But everytime I write a Peach Boy song I seem to return to a Talking Heads hypnotic marching kinda rhythm. The only Talking Heads stuff I really know is from a DVD Yoski lent me with "Once in a Lifetime" and "Take Me to the River" on it. They left a big impression on me, I think. Firstly I liked the title of the DVD, "Stop making sense" and secondly I thought David Byrne's crazy on-stage antics were cool. He was feeling the music. He seemed to be anyway. I don't know much else about him. But now everytime I get my Korg into action I set the drum beat going and then really get into the rhythm. That's why, especially on this track, I can't be bothered making a chorus. The chorus just gets in the way of the rhythm...Anyway, here's my new song.
It's called, "I know" and it's track 6 at Peach Boy
posted by PA on Saturday, February 11, 2006
Friday in Japan
Well, Friday evening has arrived again. The bottle of wine has been opened and a little Arrested Development has been watched. It's very good actually. Very clever and very funny. Some great characters in it too. It's far better than Scrubbs, I reckon. Scrubbs incidently has the guy out of Garden State. Which we're hopefully going to watch tomorrow. Looks damn good that movie. Natalie Portman is my fave actress. Just for Leon and Closer, really.
Hey, I'm writing a little drunk and it's showing. See those short sentences?
Man, they're short!
I've now got a little over 2 weeks left at my job. I've got exactly one month before we leave for Hawaii.
posted by PA on Friday, February 10, 2006
Not much really, just signing in
I was just reading my brother's site and saw that I'm one of his friends. It then dawned upon me that I have a responsibilty to update my blog at least once a week, cause you never know someone might just be in need of some Unthinkable1 wisdom.
So here I am, back again. And here's my wisdom:
1. Do not let yourself be deceived by anything your mind creates.
2. Remember each and every moment that this is your life.
3. Happiness awaits you in every single moment, be it good or bad.
4. Always think of others and if there's no one around, think of yourself.
5. Never worry about looking stupid but don't go out of your way to look stupid.
6. Don't try to be what others think you are.
7. Listen and smell your world as often as you think about it.
8. Watch so much TV that you forget you ever existed.
(I'm starting backwards. I'm at number 8 so far. It's a start!)
posted by PA on Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Baby atoms, nuts and Arrested Development (Not the band!)
Well it's all fun at the little atom site: babyatom
And here I'm continuing with my rice-less diet. Tonite I'm having:
Two fried aggs
All stir-fried. I don't know what it's going to taste like but it's fun making it!
And tonite I'll mostly be watching Arrested Development Ricky Gervais likes it so I'll force myself to like it too. Scrubbs was OK but I'd kinda had enough by the end of Season 1 and 40 or so episodes. This looks better!
posted by PA on Thursday, February 02, 2006
A new diet...(physical and mental)
People at work were talking about diet recently. I've been thinking about it for a while but have never got round to changing my diet. But today for some reason I started. My new diet consists of not eating rice/pasta/bread every night - I have a cup of rice every night and I think this has created the "belly". That's the theory anyway. It's pretty darn fattening rice if you don't use the energy for exercise. And I usually go to the gym before having dinner so it all stays in my belly. Anyway, so here's what I had for my dinner tonight:
A can of tuna
A handful of pecan nuts
6 gyoza (Chinese dumplings)
A huge lump of tofu
What's cool is that I don't feel hungry after eating. I'd like to keep this up for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
I've reached the stage where I'm fed up with trying to know myself (See previous post) and just want to live again and stop thinking about stuff 24/7. I know the mind to be an amazingly complicated thing and often quite scary and maddening. But it's nice to know this. Thinking will never end and thoughts will never bring about an answer to the deepest questions in life. The more and more I get caught up in my thoughts the more determined I become to not get caught up in my thoughts again. And I suppose that's progress. I often think that I'm going backwards in my life, but really I'm going back over things I missed...
posted by PA on Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I got the final copies of the storybooks I've been writing over the past year. Here's a selection:
They look quite nice I think. I've got another 9 to write in March/April which I'm quite looking forward to...
posted by PA on Saturday, January 28, 2006
2 new bands and the quest to know myself
The other day I bought my first album online through Itunes. It was really easy and hassle free. Worryingly so! I bought the remixes version of Grizzly Bear's Horn Of Plenty. There are some fantastic tracks on there. It's kinda low-fi ambient and my favourite track is "Don't Ask." Some is very low-fi, I should add.
My second new album was off a friend from work and it's by Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. These guys aren't low-fi at all - more like hi-fi, really. They're pretty good though. They sound to me like Talking Heads. The lead singers voice is probably what does it.
A great couple of new bands for me to copy on my D4!
Apart from music I'm trying to get my head around thoughts and their power and where they come from. Plato or Aristotle or Socrates (or another greek philosopher) said "Know thyself!" And Zen Buddhism is really about this too. I hadn't really acknowledged this before. As I see it, it's not about purifying the mind, becoming calm, or being pure: It's about knowing yourself. Once you know yourself, you can't be deceived by yourself. I sit here and start to feel like buying a pack of crisps. I think I'm hungry. If I didn't know myself, I'd think I was hungry and would go and buy a packet of crisps. But if I knew myself I'd know that I was actually craving a packet of crisps as comfort food because I just got short changed at the convenience store. Then I could say, "HA! I know your game!" and then would resume watching TV.
But where do some thoughts come from? I've concluded after 2 minutes of thinking, that sometimes we think because we can...
posted by PA on Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Laughter is the greatest lemon tree
This is funny
I don't know what it is about Ricky Gervais. He just makes me cry with laughter. The last thing before this that made me cry with laughter was most of the Extras. Although Scrubs that I'm watching at the moment is quite funny...
Ah, leaving work today was like being enlightened. Snow covered the streets and the air was crisp and clear. A feeling of joy overwhelmed me. I stood by the road, a taxi passed and splashed me with water. Didn't bother me at all. Life is funny. Everything is so upside down, all the time. Even good days are all upside down...
posted by PA on Sunday, January 22, 2006
It's a liwle baby boy xylophone!
Seeing as it's a no-work day for me, I decided to enjoy myself. In the morning I went to the gym and ran for 30 minutes, swam for a bit and then sat in the steam room and jacuzzi. After that I went to this really nice and incredibly cheap fish restaurant (about 2 pounds 50 for as much rice and miso soup as you can manage and a small plate of sashimi or fried stuff) and read a bit of my Lonely Planet guide to Hawaii. Oh, yeah, we're off to Hawaii for 10 days in March!! I won't be working, you see...apart from writing 9 children's stories that is.
Then I went and bought my baby xylophone,
from a little shop nearby. I came back and wrote a little song for my baby xylophone but then realized that my guitar wasn't really in tune with my baby xylophone so I left him out for this song. Anyway, this new song is kinda strange. I think babyatom (or maybe Dylan) once said you should leave the listener wanting more. So recently I've been making the nice bits short instead of dragging them out. It kinda works I think...This song is called "My Footsteps" and it's track 4 at Peach Boy
posted by PA on Thursday, January 19, 2006
Stand off with an old lady and the wierd miscalculation
On the way back from work I was walking along the pavement by my house, saw an old lady approaching and moved to the side to let her by. Instead of walking by and appreciating the space I'd given her, she moved to the side too. And just stood there looking at me. I was too tired to exchange pleasantries or just walk on myself so I just stood there and looked at her. We stood like that for about 5 seconds. I wouldn't say it was a particularly enjoyable experience but when you're tired and on your way back from work, sometimes that's the best you get.
Or so I thought. Then I crossed the road to the convenience shop and bought my evening supplies. They came to 802 Yen so I put 760 Yen down on the counter and looked at the shop clerk. He looked at me and said my supplies came to 802 Yen. I reclaimed my 760 Yen and gave him a 1000 Yen note.
Both these events would be quite funny if it weren't for the fact that I wasn't doing them on purpose. In both situations I was like a lost child on the way back from soccer practice without a clue in the world...
I'm doing interviews this Saturday so I'm taking the day off tomorrow. I think it's best I rest.
Rest with my D4 that is...
posted by PA on Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Peach Boy shows his true colors
Nah, not really. I just tried out my distorted amp effect and it works quite well even though all the levels seem a little wrong. I was kind of imagining myself as Talking Heads when I was playing the verse and then New Order during the chorus. But the rythm of the first guitar is overpowered by the distortion of the second, so you probably can't tell! He he. This was a fun song to play though. Anyway, it's called Move On!
Some people say that you should play what comes naturally. But what happens if two completely different styles come naturally? I suppose the answer is obvious...
posted by PA on Saturday, January 14, 2006
Yes, it's the weekend and I feel as though I'm alive again and could write a brilliant post, but this one is enough for me: Classic
posted by PA on Friday, January 13, 2006
Scrubbs, Ebay and Waking Up
Waking up early and dragging myself out the door has never been harder. But then coming home and cooking my food, listening to music/podcasts and watching TV has never been better. I hope this doesn't mean that happiness is only really happiness because of sadness. If it does I don't believe it. I'm pretty sure that one can have a feeling of happiness without having felt sadness. They're not dependant on one another, are they? But to some extent they are, I suppose. Because of the long break, work is harder. Because work is harder, evenings are better. But there is a way to transcend it all, I think...and that invloves watching the Scrubbs.
I'm selling these Koala items on Ebay. They're made by Lotte a Japanese confectionary company. Basically I sell them to one person all the time. The same person each time. Can you guess the name of the buyer?
And here are a couple of pictures Naomi took with her new Pentax Optio 5 Mega Pixel digital camera she got for Christmas:
You can almost smell the trees...ooops, that's my fried rice! Better go :-)
posted by PA on Thursday, January 12, 2006
Myoko Suginohara, Nagano
Well it snowed and it snowed. I've never seen so much snow and it made some of the best powder snow I've ever boarded on. And the runs just seemed to go on forever, winding through trees and onto moguls and then into fresh powder and on and on. Long runs make your legs ache but they sure are fun:
Waking up to snow is nice...
posted by PA on Monday, January 09, 2006
First impressions of First Impressions
I've bought my copy of The Strokes new album and despite negative reviews online, I think it's ace. There are a few tracks that don't really go anywhere, which is rare for The Strokes, but most are incredibly creative and exciting. On my first real listen reading along with the lyrics I was amazed at how unpredictable the melodies are. They literally fly around like notes without a home. And Julian's voice is equally unpredictable, sometimes growling, sometimes mumbling, sometimes clear as a winter sky.
The immediate stand-out track for us was, "Ask Me Anything" - where Julian sings the same line, "I've got nothing to say" about 100 times in varying melodies. He took the words right out of my mouth!
And would you believe it, I'm still on holiday. But Naomi's gone back to work so I almost feel like I should be back at my desk too. But I'm not! So Yoski and I are off to Nagano for snowboarding and we'll be staying the night in a forest by a lake. In addition to the joyous fact we'll be staying in a forest (by a lake), the longest run at the resort is over 5km! Previous snowboard trips in Japan have been slightly disappointing due to the lack of long pistes, but on a 5km piste I can listen to a good 10 tracks! Perfect! However, it's been snowing heavily for what seems like the past year in Northern Japan. There's going to be a hell of a lot of white stuff...
posted by PA on Thursday, January 05, 2006
A busy Peach Boy
Man, I've caught the D4 bug, that's for sure. Today I really wanted to take it easy, but then I made the mistake of picking up my guitar and I stumbled upon a nice tune. Then I spent half the day destructing it and playing around with the chords and came up with a new song. It's called Galaxy 15: Peach Boy
posted by PA on Sunday, January 01, 2006
Silverhill Vs Peach Boy
Happy New Year!
Well so far I've written 2 little songs on my KORG D4. They're all works in progress, so if you notice a bad harmony or a drum beat that doesn't end when the song ends, that'll be why. Also, the reason I wanted the D4 was to get things down quickly and in a reasonably nice format before I forgot the damn tune. So these songs are mostly done in one take - if I can reach the end of the song without too many mistakes - and just on four tracks.
In theory, Silverhill will record some of these songs and bring them to their finality in the studio but for now the band is just me: Peach Boy
And that's enough computer for now. It is New Year's Day, after all.
posted by PA on Sunday, January 01, 2006
And so it begins...
From today I'm on holiday until the 10 of January. That is flipping long for a salaryman, I can promise you that.
I've really been feeling the stress of working recently and have just been running around non-stop trying to shake it off. So my recipe for a happy holiday is to just take it easy and...yup, just take it easy.
That's all there is, after all.
Happy New Year!
posted by PA on Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Our Christmas cake and burning snowman!
posted by PA on Sunday, December 25, 2005
King Kong Vs. Santa Claus
If these two ever met and did for some reason start fighting each other, I think King Kong would win - hands down. For a start King Kong is 30ft tall. Secondly, he doesn't carry any baggage whereas Santa Claus would have a huge sack full of presents on his back and would have to carry that at the same time as fight...
We just watched King Kong and it's everything it should be: exciting, scary, moving and sad. The dinosaur scenes are especially impressive and had us squirming in our seats. The only negative thing I have to say to Mr. Jackson is that the part leading up to when they first arrive on Skull Island is too long. Apart from that, er...money well spent!
So, I leave work on Thursday for my Christmas break and go to buy a rice cooker - mine broke the day before. I have a look at the nice expensive ones on offer with fancy designs and then finally decide on the second cheapest one which is 7,000 Yen (30 pounds) . I take it up to the cashier and lay my money down. The lady scans the barcode and then for some reason unknown to me rings a bell and shouts "Atari!" ("You've won!") then there's a round of applause. It turns out they were having a promotion and every 100th customer wins their purchase. I was the 100th customer. How's that for a Christmas treat!
And then the depression set in. I spent quite a bit of time looking at really nice rice cookers. If I'd decided to buy one of them I'd have had it for free. I could also have bought a plasma TV, a new Ipod and a PSP and got it for free! Man, what a dooshbag...
Of course I wasn't depressed at all. I'm very happy with my rice cooker.
So tomorrow is Christmas Eve and in Japan it's treated like Christmas Day, which means I get to open my presents. I've got chocolates galore (We decided to buy each other lots and lots of chocolates from import shops around Tokyo. I think it's a healthy thing to do.) , a KORG D4, a dvd and a book to look forward to. Er...and the joy of giving presents ;-)
Merry Not Christmas Yet!
posted by PA on Saturday, December 24, 2005
Arcade Fire are my new favorite band. They're awesome. They create such a desperate, longing, exlposive, apocalyptic, and yet uplifting sound that you feel compelled to move along with it and pay attention. I listened to them whilst running on the tread mill and managed to go for 30 minutes - my longest ever. It's thanks to Arcade Fire...There are dream-like scapes reminicent of Mercury Rev and marching beats that sound like Talking Heads and then there are melodies from a place not far from heaven...
Nah, I'm going overboard here. But they are flippin good...
Hey, Xmas is only a few days away. I've read most of my D4 manual and feel prepared for the day when I can actually use the machine. Excited is not the word. Nah, it is actually...
Right, back to Arcade Fire!
posted by PA on Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The future lies with D4...and the proles
Well, I haven't blogged for ages...
Today, we went and bought my KORG D4. It's under the tree waiting to be opened and created upon. Naomi let me have a little go before we put it away. I just listened to the drum beats - which took me about 10 minutes to work out. But they sounded cool. I can't wait to lock myself up again in a world of sounds and harmony. I've written 3 new songs which I'm quite happy with. Whereas before I stuck to a pretty basic formula: intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/instrumental/chorus/end, now I'm going for a freer and more experimental structure:
Intro/verse/chorus/strange bit/harmonies/verse/chorus/strange bit/harmonies/strange bit/melody from a different song/verse/end. Well, you know what I mean. I'm determined to write something different and interesting. Having said this, I played one song to Naomi today and she said it sounded like Travis, which is not a good sign. Tomorrow I'm going to buy myself some earphones too as my other ones went mouldy and I threw them out. I hate mouldy earphones, don't you?
Apart from D4 excitement, I watched the Fisher King the other day for the second time - it was beautiful. There this wonderful scene where Robin Williams' character is having dinner with the lady he is smitten with and she keeps dropping food on the floor and slurping her spaghetti. Robin Williams' copies her so that she doesn't feel so bad. It's a really nice scene. Although some parts haven't dated so well, it still retains the Gilliam magic...
And I watched the beginning of Smoke again before giving it to Naomi to take home and watch. It's such a nice movie - full of poignant stories and gentle wisdom. The soundtrack is nice too...
Have I told you I'm quitting my job? Well, I am. I've written 12 storybooks, am in the process of writing my second textbook, have helped create a talking pen, organized a sound recording and helped with many more, written copy for a website, been on one business trip by Shinkansen and generally sat in an office working solidly for 8 hours or more, 5 days a week for a year and 3 months. It's been a manic period and one I really don't feel is worth repeating. I'll take the money please, Chris. Actually, I'm pretty sure anyone who's reading this has probably been doing the same kind of thing for a lot longer. But, hey, that's enough for me...Don't get me wrong, I'm ready to work hard. It's just I'd like time to write my blog too, like the rest of you folks ;-)
And finally, the bidding war has begun: koala
Merry Christmas to all and everyone...aslong as you're nice :-)
posted by PA on Saturday, December 17, 2005
Podcasts and relaxing bears
Haven't posted in a while. Life is like that - sometimes you have lots to say and other days you're like a tree. Today I'm like a tree but I thought I'd post anyway.
Downloaded some new podcasts today - Ricky Gervais and Lonely Planet. The funniest thing about Ricky Gervais I think, is his laugh. It's so infectious...
Did my Xmas shopping today and bought some nice goodies for the family back home.
Just a few minutes away now from my 3rd Ebay sell: My little Rilakkuma bear. He's really cute so I'm pleased someone has bought him and is going to give him a new home. Shame I only got one bid though. I've yet to feel the excitement of multiple bidders.
My KORG D4 has been purchased and is on its way.
Right, s'about it. Time to contact the buyer :-)
posted by PA on Saturday, December 10, 2005
I'm working on some new songs so that when Mr.KORG D4 comes next week (I can't open till the 25th though) I'll have something to record.
It's very difficult to choose a style for my debut D4 album: I was listening to Badly Drawn Boy the other day and I thought, that's the kind of music I want to play! Then I was listening to Pavement today and I thought, no, that's the kind of music I want to play.
I suppose that's the problem,eh. I like so many different bands and I can't be all of them so I write a song then throw it away because I don't like that style anymore.
But tonight I wrote a song and I think it's my style: soft, melancholic, but essentially uplifting and philosphical (if I do say so myself :-) ) So I think I'll write songs naturally and stop being influenced. Man, I wish I'd never heard a single Elliot Smith, Grandaddy, Pumpkins song...
Anyway, my first song is called, "I want to start again." Like the song at the end of Rushmore, "I wish that I knew what I knew now, when I was younger!"
Seems like it takes a whole lifetime to unknow stuff...
posted by PA on Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Say goodbye to my little bear
Recently I've been re-trying to sell some items on Ebay. Up until now I've sold 2 items - a GameBoy Micro and a little bear called Rilakkuma. In all, I'm probably down 10 quid what with the fees. I've been trying to sell this really nice Hello Kitty long wallet, but it never gets a single bid. It's now the 5th time I've put it up for auction. I've also been trying to sell Naomi's nice kimono design apron but no one bids on that either.
Then today, a bid finally came for my second Rilakkuma item. I won it on a UFO catcher so I'm definitely going to make a little money on that. At last, I could break even. That would be nice. There's 6 more days left so get your bids in folks. Plenty of time, don't you worry: My bear
We watched Alfie which was a great little movie, we thought (Apart from the fact that we had to take a 30 minute break whilst I stayed in the toilet with a stomach ache from hell). I like Jude Law.
Right then. Time to go Christmas shopping and have a Mac - the benefit of going to the gym every day is that I can now afford to be really unhealthy - I think that's right anyway :-)
posted by PA on Sunday, December 04, 2005
I wanna have a warm Blog
I was blog surfing the other day and when I returned to mine, I felt it was too cold - for Xmas at least. So I went into the code and changed the color. I'm not sure if it's annoying to read or not, so please let me know... and I'll keep it the way it is.
How about this for a new segment: I give the first line of a joke and you have to finish it off.
A sumo wrestler walks into a pub and asks for a pack of Salt 'n Vineger crisps.
The bar man says...
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Everybody is a genius
The 3 events
The first: Whilst watching TV I learn that people can interpret the world with either the left side or the right side of their brain, then express it with the opposite side of the brain.
The second: I have a conversation at work about how in our youth we were really passionate about something and that maybe as we get older we push it aside.
The third: I am swimming and realize that maybe, just maybe, I could be an absolute genius swimmer if given the chance to train.
The Happy Genius
Caspian had been aware of the 3 events since birth. He'd dedicated his life to finding his genius.
At kindergaten he'd tried origami, flower arranging, calligraphy, archery, aikido, karate, kendo, ballet, tap dancing, gymnastics, parachuting, bungy jumping and horse riding, but he didn't really excel at either of them. He just couldn't immerse himself in these disciplines and as a result he fell short of genius.
At lower school he focused on music. He learnt all the wind instruments first, but to no avail. He then moved onto strings, starting with the harp. Then the banjo. Then the 12 stringed guitar. Then the cello. But again, he didn't excel.
At middle school he tried to immerse himself in academic disciplines. He studied mathematical equations until sunrise every night for his entire time at school. During the day he would study physics and create experiments to test the conductivty of earth worms. But once again to no avail.
In upper school, he read the classics. But often just the titles had him reaching for his dictionary.
In this way, he ended his school life.
He decided against going to university and instead immersed himself in the working world. His first job was as an apprentice mechanic. Then a pet shop owner. Then an intern with the Citizen newspaper. Then a data imputer for Aerospace. Then a car salesman, a door to door salesman, an EFL teacher, a farmer, a golden retriever, a gym instructor, a lawyer, a cartoonist, a radio dj...
The list went on and on as Caspian tried to find his genius.
But wherever he looked, all he found was the mediocre Caspian. Ever since his birth he knew for sure that everyone was a genius, and yet, he could not find his own.
Caspian grew old and weary until he reached his 90th year. Every day he lay in bed thinking and thinking about his life. And then it came to him - his genius.
"Yes!" he shouted. "What a wonderful journey I've made. Surely the journey of a genius."
And then he died a very happy genius.
posted by PA on Tuesday, November 29, 2005
God save the queen!
It came in a flash - what I want for Xmas.
Sandy Claus, I'll have one of these please: KORG D4
It's been a hell of a long time since I've wanted anything. And as I sat at work, it suddenly came to me: Not a PSP but something I can create with and write songs with.
I rushed out of work to Ochanomizu, the music goods center of Tokyo, and there she was, the KORG D4. Tiny, beautiful and cheap at about 100 pounds. There was a smaller one but the guy said it was harder to use. Basically I want something for dooshbags and this is the one.
Man, do I have to wait till December 25th?
Sandy Claus can be real mean!
Tonite I am drinking a Spanish wine and watching Easy Rider. I've never seen it and I thought it was about time. It is 9pm after all...
posted by PA on Friday, November 25, 2005
The 50p wisdom man
As I walked along the highstreet a man called out to me, "Wisdom for 50p!"
The man was standing on the corner with a lolipop sign which read, "Get your wisdom here for 50p!" in bright red letters.
I walked over to him and put a 50p coin in his hand.
"You have to get out of the hot shower at some point!" he said.
I grabbed my 50p coin back and ran home, feeling betrayed. "Wisdom!?" I sighed.
The next morning I had a nice hot shower. It had been a cold winter night and the air was still bitterly cold, so I'd woken up feeling frozen. As I showered I felt better. The feeling was so strong infact, that I couldn't will myself to leave the shower: In the shower I was comfortable; outside of the shower I was freezing. So I stayed a while longer...And then a thought entered my mind: The 50p wisdom man was right!
I wanted to get out of the shower, run to the street corner and apologize and give him his 50p back. But I couldn't. I couldn't leave the shower.
As I write this on my waterproof laptop I wonder where it all went wrong...
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Lost in translation lost in translation
"Just like honey." That's how I'd describe Lost in Translation on second viewing. It's such a nice film - gentle, moving and funny. The scene where Bill Murray is in the hospital waiting area "talking" to an old Japanese man, makes me cry. There seems to me to be two types of Japanese: Those that think you're a completely different species and those that think you're their best friend. And they're probably in equal measure.
But that guy I've met so many times before...Ah, there's many a funny scene in that movie - the strip club scene is funny too.
Tomorrow is a national holiday, so we're off to Kichijoji to go Xmas shopping. Shopping for Xmas. Sandy Claus and all that stuff.
OK. Movie Quiz time: In what movie is Santa Claus mistakenly referred to as Sandy Claus?
No prize for guessing!
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 23, 2005
For one to die, one must have lived
I had an interesting thought today...
Nah, I didn't really.
posted by PA on Monday, November 21, 2005
"You only live a day, but it's brilliant anyway."
That's a line from Elliot Smith's Independance Day. And recently I've come to understand what it is he's referring to: working life!
Basically, you work 5 days a week. Then you get one day off, Saturday. Then on Sunday you get ready for work again. So, as Elliot says, "You only live a day."
Probably not what he was referring to, but it makes sense to me this way.
So today, I'm living my day and it's brilliant anyway.
1 hour yoga. 30 mins on the machines. 25 minutes run. 10 minute swim. That'll do for me.
I managed 70 sit-ups today. I've still got my 1-pack though...
posted by PA on Saturday, November 19, 2005
Who switched on the TV?
So tonight, as ER wasn't in, I got out The Ring 2. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the first Hollywood remake, I thought the second might be OK. (It was shite)
So anyway, if you've seen the first Ring you'll know that the story centres around a scary video: Once someone watches it, they are doomed. And their TV keeps turning itself on...
So I get home from the video rental shop, put my DVD and TV dinner on the lounge table infront of the TV and check my mail on my laptop in the kitchen. Then suddenly the TV switches itself on. And off. And on again. And then back off. I immediately think I am doomed and wait for a long haired girl to climb out from my TV. Then I go into the lounge and search for the remote.
Can you guess where the remote was?
posted by PA on Thursday, November 17, 2005
A stroke of luck
Sometimes I'm a dooshbag.
Since the age of about 23 I've been following the basic premise that knowledge is a curse. I've met so many boring, self centered people who are very knowledgeable, but utterly devoid of self awareness and kindness, that I kind of gave up stressing about aquiring knowledge - I haven't met that many people who know a lot and still remain nice. So, along with a false view that Zen is against knowing things, I started on, to some extent unconsciously, the path of not-knowing.
Now, I like knowing things and am interested in lots of subjects, but because at my core I don't think knowledge brings you anything, I'm sometimes a dooshbag.
So, today at the gym I asked a swimming instructor how to do the breast stroke. As I was asking her, I remembered that I'm nearly 30 years old. And I thought, I'm a dooshbag! At the same time I thought, hey, who cares about knowing and knowing...
It turned out I was breathing out my mouth under water, instead of out my nose. Thanks very much.
Swimming's great. It's almost like snowboarding, I thought to myself: You just gotta carve through the water.
It's also a lot like life: If you start day-dreaming, you drown.
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
It's been a long dream
Second viewing of Unbreakable revealed a wonderful little film. The first time I saw it I wasn't that impressed. Maybe I was in the wrong mood. But this time round it was great. The idea that somehow he'd been repressing the real him and that actually he was a superhero, was cool. Wouldn't it be great if each and every one of us were given the time to really try and find the superhero in us. I reckon I'd be some kind of smelling superhero! I'm not very good at consciously categorising smells but I am usually quite aware of the smells around me. Not quite sure how this would work in the Superhero world. Maybe I'd be a low ranking Superhero to begin with and then I'd gradually climb the ranks. I'd learn to maybe smell corruption and evil.
What would yours be?
I listened to Chris Moyles this morning on Radio 1. His guest was Ricky Gervais of Office and Exras fame. He was really nice. I was surprised. They have this segment where you listen to the voice of a member of the public and you can choose whether or not to hear their question. Well, I thought this would be prime Gervais ground but he delcined and took all the questions without screening. And he is like a 5 yr. old kid, which is funny...
posted by PA on Saturday, November 12, 2005
Something's going on that I can't see
There is great mystery in the universe.
I'd like to know why certain things happen the way they do but I'm not sure it's ever possible. I'm not talking about the way the planets spin through space or the origin of life, but the way that people appear in a certain form just when you need them to. I don't think it's coincidence.
When people are needed, they come. If you live in a desert, a camel comes...
But there's always a difference between what I believe and what I know. Everything has to be known for it to have any value.
(Hey, this is my blog, I can say anything I want. It doesn't even have to make sense!)
Lately I have mostly been listening to Sandy Togsvig on London's LBC 97.3. She's brill. I used to watch her on "What's my line" ( was it?) and she's always very witty and articulate. I'm a dooshbag at talking so it's nice to hear people are can talk in complete articulate sentences.
I also have been enjoying my Zencast of late. Mindfullness of breathing was interesting...
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A story inspired by something that happened at work
Not much existed in the world. There were small groups of people who had settled along rivers. They fished and grew vegetables. After their day of fishing and cultivating vegetables, they would all get together and just look at the stars. Often they dreamed of other worlds. But they never filled their dreams with anything. They were empty dreams; vacant longings.
Then one day, an old wise man came carrying a large bag on his back. He had walked through distant universes to reach them. He had something to show them.
The wise man told them to follow him as he walked up a steep hill just outside their village. The villagers all looked with curiosity at the large bag, wondering what it was.
Finally the wise old man stopped and took the bag from off his back. All the villagers held their breath as they watched...
Inside the bag was a large cone-shaped instrument. The wise old man took it out carefully and lifted it high up in the air. Almost immediately, the villagers began to hear music. It was very faint, just a little murmur, but sure enough, it was music. Everyone fell silent and began to gather round in awe, pushing their ears up to the cone.
As night fell, all that could be heard was a tiny murmur of music from a distant universe.
On another note
I went to the gym after work today. I did my 25 minutes jog, 100 sit ups (!!) 10 minutes of swimming, 10 minutes of jacuzzi, 5 minutes of steam room, 3 minutes of sauna and then a hot bath followed by a cold shower. Then I had a salad with a can of tuna and watched some TV. It really is true; work's not tiring at all. Everything just gets stiff when you sit for so long. It's almost like dying and coming back to life. Only to die again...
posted by PA on Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I've found the way!
Yes, you may think that title is a bit lofty, but I think I've got it. Right, what you do is this:
Do Zazen every morning for 30 minutes followed by 2 hours of yoga. After that you have a sandwhich full of healthy vegetables. Let your food digest a little (you can listen to a podcast whilst you wait) and then do 30 minutes swimming followed by 10 minutes in the jacuzzi and 5 minutes in the steam room. After this, take your time getting changed and maybe apply a little fuzzy peach cream to your body. In the afternoon watch a little bit of a lighthearted dvd and then restring your guitar - it's best to restring than just play your guitar because there's a feeling of accomplishment at having restrung your guitar, plus new strings sound so nice - then try and write a song. If you can't, just give up. In the late afternoon have a little doze.
In the evening, go to a temple and do some more Zazen. Meet some friends and drink a little wine. Have dinner and then watch the news. Sleep and repeat until you start to get really old. If you find yourself becoming really, really old, just die. If not, carry on a little bit longer and avoid GameCube games that are too exciting.
CAUTION: Above all, do not work in an office where you sit down for 9 hours looking at a computer screen and breathing in CO2.
Today's yoga was ace. There was lots of leg-wrapping-contortion going on and I even managed the full lotus. Once you'd achieved the full lotus you had to raise yourself off the ground with your arms. No-one could do it, so the teacher just laughed. I like yoga. I think it got me into Zazen. At the end of the session back at uni, we used to have 5 minutes meditation lying our backs. It gave me my first taste of meditation: You close your eyes and the teacher guides you soothingly as you try and drift away into a relaxed zone. I remember really liking those final few minutes of guided meditation. But nowadays I just find myself thinking, "no, don't go into your cave! Stay here!" What a bloody dooshbag, I am! Next time, not only will I go into my cave, but I'll slide on the penguin's back, God dammit!
posted by PA on Sunday, November 06, 2005
No. It's frikkin' good. Gosh!
I'm probably a year and a half behind everyone but Napoleon Dynamite was frinkkin' good. Worth waiting for. Although all of it was pretty damn funny, I especially liked the very first scene where he boards the bus and a little kid asks, "What are you going to do today?" And Napoleon replies, "What every I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!" then throws a little super hero figure tied to a piece of string out the window. That's a crazy thing to do - you ain't gunna get that super hero figure back in one piece, let me tell ya!
The gym life continues. Today I went to my first yoga class. I hadn't been to a yoga class since my last year at uni. It was really relaxing but I prefer yoga when it's really intense and you come out feeling like you've used every muscle in your body. I'm going to take the basic yoga class tomorrow which should be better. Today's was "raku raku" ("easy easy") yoga. Basic's gotta be harder than easy easy, right? Even so, today I did the camel, fish, and cat poses. Those animals have got it sorted.
I'm thinking of buying a toy xylophone, a small and easy to use 4 track, and writing some songs.
Plus I'm thinking of winning the lottery. They say dreams come true if you work at them so...
posted by PA on Saturday, November 05, 2005
No need to whine
So the weekend finally comes after an excrutiatingly short/long week of sitting down.
As I sit during the week, I rise to the stars and fall to the ground a million times a second.
Friday night I always buy a bottle of red wine and watch a dvd. Last Friday I tried Shiraz. And yesterday I had a few glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon. I like drinking wine at the weekend. But for some reason yesterday, I couldn't stay up beyond midnight.
I'm off to my first yoga lesson at my new gym in an hour. After that I'll do my 25 minute jog and then relax in the sauna/jacuzzi/steam room. Naomi got out "Napolean Dynamite" for our evening viewing. Which is nice...
The other day I remembered my dream. I haven't remembered a dream of mine for ages. And what a dream to remember: I walked up to a lottery booth and asked for a scratchcard. The lady in the booth looked at me and then her eyes fell on my bag. She pointed and said, "You have a lottery ticket!" I'd forgotten I'd bought it. So I took it out and gave it to her and her friend who had just appeared out of nowhere. They both started to smile. "You've won 40,000,000 Yen!!" I managed to get a quick look at two of the winning numbers: 17....57...
In my dreams I win the lottery :-)
posted by PA on Saturday, November 05, 2005
It's life gym, but not as I knew it
I've finally got round to joining the closest gym in the world. I see it on the way to work, on the way back from work, on the way to Mcdonalds, and on the way back from Mcdonalds. It's fab.
So, I started with a 25 minute jog. Now this in itself is interesting. I started jogging a while back and found it very hard to break the 20 minute barrier without killing time getting out the appartment and doing my shoelaces up. But today I managed 25 minutes and I was hardly breathing.
I got off the treadmill, tried to avoid all human contact with overly happy fitness instuctors and went to the sit-up machine. Now again, this machine is interesting. I always thought that doing sit-ups is a pain: A serious pain in the stomach. But with this machine, it's easy. I did about 50 ( I didn't actually count. I prefer guessing. That way it's easier to lie.)
After sit-ups I went and had some water. Absolutely nothing interesting about the water. But it was incredibly cold. Next it was time for the aqua side to my work out.
I changed into my swimming costume and went for a swim. I'm shite at swimming. I'm thinking of taking lessons because I still can't really do the breast stroke. But I did my best and managed 100 metres before the lifeguards starting getting worried. I got out and went into the jacuzzi. Now, I don't mind saying that I'm flippin' good at jacuzzi. I sat there for 10 minutes. After the jacuzzi I went into the steam room. There were some bloody noisy salarymen in there talking about bosses that don't expect you to do overtime. I sat there wishing I had their boss. Upon realizing that boss-switching is very unlikely, I pretended to do Zazen. I managed about 5 minutes before Buddha started getting the funeral sutras ready. I left the steam room and had a shower. Next it was time for the second part of my aqua workout: sauna and hot bath.
Sauna is probably my favorite thing at the gym. It's very uncomfortable and flippin' hot, but I like to sweat. I stayed in the sauna for 4 minutes and then went into the hot bath. The hot bath is like the jacuzzi but hotter and minus swimsuit. I like it.
So that just about rounds up my first gym day. I feel replenished, relaxed and above all, like a normal adult: This is life gym but not as I knew it.
I just watched my first ever episode of Sex in the City, hence my style of writing today. It's very well done I think and isn't crammed full of jokes, which is nice too.
Tomorrow is a public holiday so we're off to a Zen style Starbucks in Kamakura (I discovered it last time I went hiking in Kamakura. There's a terrace with a view of a garden and the decor is very minimalist Japanese) and a bit of wandering about.
And finally Napolean Dynamite is out on DVD with the very strange Japanese title, "Bus man."
posted by PA on Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Wow! An American!
As I was doing my washing at the laundrette, a line of kindergarten kids passed. A boy turned to me and said, "Suge! America jin da!" To kindergarten kids, "American" means foreigner. I was kinda pleased by the "Wow!" as he looked like a very wise little kid. I'm sure he knew something I didn't. Maybe he saw my furture...
I want to write about time, but I don't want to risk taking an hour writing about Time. If there's any one subject that really confuses me, it's Time. I wonder if, because we relate to and remember events through thinking, that Time becomes bent : I sit here at my table in the nice breeze and remember thinking at work that it'll be the weekend before I know it. And now it is. And it seems that those two thoughts - the one here now and the one at work - are so close physically, that time hasn't really elapsed at all. All that has passed are lots of thoughts. Maybe it's just the feeling that time passes really fast. But I always used to do this as a kid. I remember I used to sit on the toilet and think, "A year from now, I'll be sitting on the toilet again" and I'd try and encourage myself to remember at a later date what I was thinking back in the past. Hey, it might be my intuitive understanding of Impermanece. I recall reading, I think, that Hakuin (the guy who invented the Koan, "What's the sound of one hand clapping?") as a child went to the sea and began crying when he saw the waves coming and going.
Or maybe I've just noticed that Time flows pretty damn fast. Not as deep, but it'll do...
posted by PA on Saturday, October 29, 2005
Man, I wish I could remember stuff
Having become very bored with all the bentos I buy for dinner, I've been cooking myself these days. Yesterday I had some nice Ozzy steak, rice and broccoli. Today I'm back to my salmon, salad and rice.
This isn't the subject of my post, but it is connected.
So on the way back from the supermarket I felt myself rushing to get home, eat my food and sit back whilst watching Punk'd on DVD. And when I realised this, I let myself relax and enjoy the walk back. I felt better.
I've realised this so many times, but I keep forgetting to do it.
It's been pretty gloomy all day and it's getting a bit chilly. To me it feels like Christmas, but most people just think it's a gloomy day in Autumn. Am I going crazy?
I like to think so...
posted by PA on Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The more you think about it...
Humans are pretty damned stupid really: Years and years spent thinking about how our lives should be; years and years spent worrying about how our lives are; years and years spent wishing we hadn't spent years and years thinking and worrying.
And all this is happening in a place we have nothing to worry about - in our minds. If a big monster with huge pointed teeth were to enter our minds, we'd be safe. These creations of our minds are wierd. How can they be so harmless and yet control every last part of our lives? If we could just see them for what they were, we'd be free.
When I die and come back as a pro skater, I will do ollie impossibles till Kingdom come :-)
posted by PA on Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Fucked if I know
The Zen guy I like to read is trying to sell his life-story to Hollywood. Click on the link at the bottom of the post, Hardcore Zen The Movie: http://www.hardcorezen.blogspot.com/ and see the promo.
I don't know about you but when he says, "Fucked if I know!" he's pretty scary.
Been listening to a few Zen Podcasts and they're pretty good. There was one about mindfullness. There's a type of meditation practice in Buddhism that encourages labeling your thoughts: If you're feeling angry, you say, "Feeling angry"; if you're feeling anxious, you say, "Feeling anxious"; if you smell something sweet you say, "Smelling something sweet". I'm not into that but the idea of noticing what you're feeling and ackowledging it is important I think. Like today I had so many feelings going round my head I couldn't see. But as I began to look at them and accept them, I felt I could see again. I had set my feelings free! So I bought myself a nice dinner!
Ha ha, Zen for poofs :-)
posted by PA on Monday, October 24, 2005
Recently I've really been bitten by the Podcast bug. After having spent 6 years in Japan, homesickness is starting to kick in. It sure took its time. But with the advent of Podcasts I can keep up to date with TV back home on "I Miss Blighty"; movies on the Simon Bates and Mark Kermode show; general lad culture on Radio 1 with Chris Moyles; and slightly more high brow lad culture with Chris Evans' Radio 2 show. Plus I can listen to Zen talks, science, philosophy and loads of other interesting stuff to balance out the incredible amount of shite there is on Japanese TV and througout mainstream culture. I know there's an incredible amount of shite in British mainstream culture too but I haven't been around it for 6 years. Plus I think there's a finer line between mainstream and quality stuff in England. The majority of people in England liked The Office, and that was quality. The majority of people in Japan like Louis Vuitton designer bags, and that's just stoopid. But then because the majority is just so overbearing, the minority rebels and goes in a completely different direction and creates some magic: Miyazaki films, Manga, Beat Takeshi films, "The Taste of Tea", "Bright Future", Karaoke, Ultraman, Anpanman, rotating sushi, and Zen. (Man, that was a difficult list to compile, but you get the point!)
Maybe it's because there's so much shite, the cool people become more passionate.
Anyway, Podcasts are real nice. Thanks Mr.Pod!
posted by PA on Sunday, October 23, 2005
Yesterday we had the biggest presentation of the year. We all had to present our parts of what we'd created over the past year infront of 30 or so trainers and managers. I told myself the day before not to worry at all. It didn't work. By the time I was facing the room full of people I had little control over what my brain did and what my mouth said. Needless to say, I was shite. But I didn't mind at all - it was the best I could do.
Anyway, after the presentation we all went out to dinner and then on to Karaoke. Most of our group left around 12 to catch the last train, but the hardcore karaoke fans (3 of us) kept on singing our hearts out until 4 in the morning. I mean, we really sung our hearts out. I have never sung so loud and full heartedly in all my life. With the relentless flow of beer and the amazing choice of songs to sing, we were in heaven. The duets were the most fun : Simon and Garfunkle, Stevie Nicks, Frank Sinatra, Guns and Roses, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Beatles, Pixies, Bod Dylan etc. Ah, it was really good fun and we really didn't want it to end, which was probably why we carried on so late oblivious to the fact that we had to go to work in 5 hours...
Well, the other 2 made it to work but I had the morning off with an alcohol induced headache.
Good fun - Yes! No regrets - Of course not! Tired - Of course!
Ahhh, empty music.
posted by PA on Thursday, October 20, 2005
I'm not really sure about Wes Anderson...
Rushmore was great. The music was uplifting, the acting perfect, the story absurd, the relationships touching and the humour gentle.
The Royal Tenenbaums I really didn't get at all.
Life Aquatic was good, but it's not great. It looks wonderful and the story is lovely and absurd and Bill Murray is ace as is Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett. But there's something missing. Or most probably something I've missed. There's a couple of really funny bits, but the rest is just too gentle, I reckon. I like gentle, ambiguous films where I don't know what's happening but this one is gentle without really having anything there.
Style over substance. No?
It's kind of "much a do about nothing". No?
Come on then, tell me why it's brilliant.
posted by PA on Monday, October 17, 2005
I wanna be a Hawaiin folk guitar singer songwriter!
In a previous life, I spent my days sitting on the beach with my guitar singing my next life. I earnt nothing, ate palm leaves and drank water from a waterfall. I had one friend, a little turtle called Josh. Josh was a quiet type and I sung his life too. Sometimes he cried and sometimes he laughed. And at least once, as I was out gathering leaves for lunch I heard him sing a song on my guitar. As I came back I caught the last line before he blushed and put the guitar down. The line I heard I will never forget. Now what was it now? Something about...no...it was...ah, nevermind. That's not the point. The point was I heard the song and I was moved. At least I remember that.
This post is for my friend Josh, the turtle.
(This post was inspired by Jack Johnson and his album Bushfire Fairytales)
We're finally getting round to watching Life Aquatic.
posted by PA on Sunday, October 16, 2005
Eggs or stead
In Japan, some days you win, some days you lose. Some weekends are super long and some are super short - like just Sunday. Oh, well, you can't count your chickens and have two birds in the hand, can you?
Ah, freedom blogs are nice!
I'm eggs or stead so I'll go and have a lie down...
posted by PA on Friday, October 14, 2005
Last week as I got up from my futon I crushed my earphones. So yesterday I went to the local grocery store and got myself some of the new earbuds.
I should have read the reviews before: Rotten apples. It's like listening to your neighbour's music through the walls. It really is that bad. I could make earphones with better sound quality than these things. I can't believe Apple have been able to make the greatest portable music jukebox on the planet at the same time as making the worst earphones I've ever heard! I don't get it.
If I wasn't so lazy, I'd take them back!
Nah, I will take them back. Bloody awful...
posted by PA on Thursday, October 13, 2005
Don't do your best! Just run!
The Japanese live by the word"Ganbaru" which means to do your best. (Really it means, do lots of overtime and go to school at the weekends.)
And due to the fact that I've been living in Japan for going 6 years now, I've started doing the same. But I'm not really convinced of the merits of constantly putting oneself under this pressure. If you have to say to yourself, "God, this is tough but I'll do my best!" everyday it has the effect of reinforcing the idea that this is tough. Before you know it, going to the shops to get a bag crisps is tough!
There's this commercial on TV advertising a sports' drink. The slogan is, "I'll just drink and walk!" meaning one doesn't really need to run to get fit if one has this sports' drink. But it's also about being an individual and going your own way and making your own decisions: Everyone thinks they should run, but I'm just going to walk! I thought that people might watch it and think, yeah, I'm going to be an individual and make my own decisions like her and I'm going to walk too! It's kind of like the Zen man I read. He tells everyone to think through everything themselves and not to make Gods of anyone, but because he lives this way I kind of want to follow his way. But it's his way...
Does no-one like Hello Kitty anymore?
We watched "The Machinist" with Christian Bale (Yeah, he got to watch himself.) at the weekend. It's very much like...ah, best not say. I thought it was very good though.
If I were as good at skateboarding in real life as I am on the GameCube, I'd be a rich and happy man.
It's an effort but I think I'll go and get some crisps after all :-)
posted by PA on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Last night we watched Sin City. I don't know whether you've heard much about it or not but it's quite an awesome film to behold. It's based on the graphic American comic of the same name - which I hadn't read or heard of until recently - and is an ultra violent, stylised, black and white, film noir staring Bruce Willis, little hobbit boy, Mickey Rourke, Del Toro and a host of other top names. I reacted to it in the same way I am reacting to a lot of films of late: It was fantastic but I didn't enjoy it that much! Elijah "little hobbit boy" Wood is really freaky though. And it's a great film. But I didn't enjoy it that much. It wasn't even the violence that turned me off - I can handle my on-screen violence. It was more a question of having watched so many visually impressive films, that they just don't do it for me anymore. I need substance. Until my search for reality is over, I need films that point me in the right direction rather than show me nice pictures...
The Zen master guy I like to read has got a new blog and is updating a lot. There are also lots and lots of Zen master followers out there commenting on his comments. I thought it was just me and him battling the world, but there's about a billion other people writing him aswell!
posted by PA on Sunday, October 09, 2005
It's funny how sometimes I don't realize some very simple things and yet I know loads of complicated things like...er...
Usually I write my blog coming from the same angle each time. This angle is usually the, "I can't quite put my finger on the answer to the question I know the answer to" angle. But I don't have to write from the same angle every time. And I don't have to write about the same stuff everytime either. I can write about anything and everything. This is the way to live.
It's like this: When I go to the CD shop I go straight to the section where I can find my favorite bands. But I won't find any new bands there. So I'll just stick to the things I know and fall off the planet only having listened to Elliot Smith!
It's the same with my blog as it is with everything I do. I just do what I know. I read what I know. I eat what I know.
So let the freedom begin - Das experiment!
posted by PA on Saturday, October 08, 2005
Hey hey it's Ebay
Fancy a Hello Kitty wallet? lovely
Fancy a Kimono waist apron? lovely
We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the weekend and thought it was great. I still think the original is better but the kid who plays Charlie in the new version is great. He was in Neverland and he's much better than "I see dead people" boy. Hands down.
Also watched Aviator - s'aright, Coffee and Cigarettes - great, a few episodes of CSI - s'aright and am listening to Moyles podcast - great!
Knackered though, am I.
posted by PA on Monday, October 03, 2005
Caspian in Heaven and Hell
Caspian falls asleep on the train and dreams he's in Hell. He sees visions of fire breathing dragons, flying daggers and little, ugly goblins.
When he awakes he thinks he's in Heaven. The sky is blue, angels fly overhead and harps are playing a nice melodious tune.
He reaches his stop and gets up. He approaches the door. An angel comes in, a flash of light by its side, and flies straight towards him. Caspian tries to move out of the way but is too late - the dagger has pierced his skin.
He falls to the ground in a pool of blood.
( I was going to have Caspian say, "I see!" and smile his last smile, but I always do that in my little stories. Plus it would read like a Zen riddle.)
posted by PA on Wednesday, September 28, 2005
And so it begins again...
Japan is great. Coming off the back of a 3 day weekend, I worked 3 days and then there's another 3 day weekend! Brilliant! Personally I prefer these 3 day weekends to the usual 2 day weekends. There's just something about them :-)
Tomorrow shopping, Saturday Nagoya to see Ben Folds and Sunday get back at 6 am and probably sleep alot.
So, I've been trying to sell a new Game Boy Micro on Ebay and a lovely little Japanese bear, but it's not going so well. It's not going at all! I had two mails the other day regarding the Game Boy Micro: One to ask me the postage fee and the other to admonish me for having used false advertising! Bummer...But it's a bargain this Micro. It's cool and black and not out in the UK for months. I think maybe everyone's buying from the Americans seeing as it's out there and cheaper. Bummer...Well, it's now my 3rd attempt at selling it. I've put the price down so it's not really worth me selling at all, but I just want to get a sale under my money belt :-)
I got out "Closer" to watch tonite. I've heard good reviews so I'm looking forward to it.
My search for reality hasn't been successful as of yet. I thought I saw it on the way back from work, but it was just a dozing salaryman. It's got to be somewhere...
things were looking up least that's what I heard.
someone came and washed away your hard earned peace of mind."
A black Game Boy Micro to the winner.
posted by PA on Thursday, September 22, 2005
Atami is alright!
We spent the day in Atami and it was nice. It's a real mess of a town but there are lots of rolling hills and sea views and a nice free onsen for the feet. We had a dip in the sea, ate some nice sashimi, had some dried squid, walked around, went up a little hill in a cable car, had a sit down, had some coffee and had a bento on the way back on the train. Lovely.
posted by PA on Monday, September 19, 2005
My legs hurt!
Well, because I hadn't sat for such a long period for so long, my legs felt as if they were going to fall off after half an hour. The second round of sitting was just a case of forcing myself not to get up and walk out. For some reason though, the second round finished early - divine intervention!
Today we're off to Atami to dip our feet in hot waters and eat some nice, fresh fish. "It's a perfect day for banafish!" ...
posted by PA on Monday, September 19, 2005
"Li fef lies by inse conds"
(Just listening to Benf Olds in preparation for the gig next Saturday.)
Today, after a hiatus of about a month, I'm going to my Zen temple. It's not mine, but I'd bid if it were on Ebay. I like it because it's really old and I can just go straight in and walk along the wooden floors to the Zendo. Most people visiting a temple don't get the chance to walk through the atrium of the temple, and that's the real joy of a temple - experiencing the long wooden floor corridors under barefoot, the smell of incense mixed in with the smell of tatami floors and the surrounding greenery, and the knowledge that you're entering a world of complete boredom for a couple of hours. Well I don't think it's that boring though. I enjoy it. It's nice to do something that you believe is good for you rather than doing things that you have to do or are just too lazy not to do :-)
Right off I go.
posted by PA on Sunday, September 18, 2005
For two weeks I couldn't publish my blog because of an error. Then today I worked out what it was. Fuckin' genius, I am...
I've never sworn on my blog before.
So after a week full of 12 hour working days and getting up before people go to bed, I have arrived at a 3 day weekend.
Recently I've been wondering what the meaning of life is: I feel I can withstand a certain amount of pain and suffering and I enjoy a lot of things in life, but so what? There's a fundamental question that I have to answer (or ask) : Are Doritos better than Pringles?
After having answered that, I have to answer the next biggie: What is reality?
It sounds very ponsy, but I think it's the only way for me to be.
Maybe I'm just mimicking the books I read on a subconcious level but I think that's OK - I don't read books about killing people.
posted by PA on Friday, September 16, 2005
If a tree falls in a rainforest in Brazil and lands on your head, would it hurt?
This is the ultimate question, right? I think it would hurt. I know some people who wear big helmets that say it wouldn't hurt at all. I don't know though. It's gotta hurt, right?
posted by PA on Friday, September 09, 2005
Well, I tried sitting and waiting but nothing's really happening. I am getting used to my slump, that's for sure. I really feel though that I emerge and then seem to intentionally fall back down. Just like a kid starts to learn to walk and then remembers he couldn't a while ago and then falls down again. I remember all is empty and then encourage myself to remember that all is "full". And when you're in a slump you forget to do the things that helped you stay above ground...
Oh well. You only live once!
he he ( because it's Friday :-) )
posted by PA on Saturday, September 03, 2005
I suppose I'll just sit and wait
I've reached a slump in my "blog" existence. These things happen, eh. It's almost as if there's a cycle and I just have to let the slump pass. And I will. Maybe the slump doesn't really pass but I just get used to it. And the feelings of being in a slump are just my way of getting used to being in a slump. That'll be it. I've been reading "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer about the Everest disaster and he writes about how the body acclimatizes to the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Did you know that on the peak of Everest, there's only 30% of the oxygen there is at sea level?
So, I'll get used to my slump...
posted by PA on Thursday, August 25, 2005
So, yeah, I'm back and apart from having lots of migraines and French pastries, I'm watching 24 Series 4. Apart from the fact that the storyline is almost exactly the same as all the other 24s, it's nice to be home. Jack's a leaner, kinder fighting machine and I like him for it.
And have you heard of Frank? It's an American underground comic book written by Jim Woodring and it is mind bendingly awesome. It's the way I think comic books should be: Deep, meaningful and crazy. And this is all that and more. I honestly don't get them at the moment - I've only been reading for a few days - but they're fascinating. I have a suspicion that Frank in Donnie Darko is related to this Frank. But I'm not sure. If anyone knows, don't hesitate to know. One of the stories, entitled "Frank in the mood", has pictures of Frank staring curiously at a snail, an aeroplane, a candle, what looks like a mini brain, and a shelf full of strange pieces of pottery. And then the last frame has Frank staring blankly at the reader. I get it. ( I don't ) Frank
And I bought X and Y. I think it's nice. But I'm sure I've heard half of those melodies on the other albums :-)
posted by PA on Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Since coming back I've had two sleepless nights, two migraines, one day of fasting, and quite a few lunette (French pastry).
I think the holidays were a little too much fun to abandon without a fight. And fight I did. The Mark Twain adage about holidays couldn't be further from the truth: The best thing about a holiday is the holiday!
I'm watching CSI now. It's pretty damn good, I think. I've started with the second series so I may have missed some vital character plots, but I doubt it : It seems that the crimes and how they solve them is the focus of CSI, rather than the characters themselves. The last one I watched was really clever. It turned out there was no murderer at all and the death was the result of a series of coincidental events - a Chaos murder mystery! I'm going to watch a few more of those tonight.
It's incredibly hot outside so I've decided not to go out all afternoon. Which is probably why you haven't seen me whizzing by on my bike :-)
posted by PA on Saturday, August 20, 2005
It's time to leave for France,
where the sunflowers smile
and the cows wave 'bonjour'.
First thing to look forward to is the flight. I am flying with Malaysian Air
and rumour has it, there are game consoles on board. It has been my dream
since before I learnt to dream, to play games during a flight. The second thing
to look forward to is the flight again. Rumour has it, there are individual TV screens
even in Economy Class. You may well say these are very childish things to look forward
to and you'd be right.
Ah, it's 11:30 pm now and I think it's about time to start packing!
"Saucisson s'il vous plait. Merci beaucoup."
"Non. Et une mille feuille!
Ah, merci bien. J'adore les milles feuilles."
A la prochaine
posted by PA on Friday, August 05, 2005
Scary Zen Garden
This weekend was a pleasure. On Saturday, Naomi and I went to a buffet dinner at the Tokyo Dome hotel and it was great. We had roast beef, coconut curry, fish, nice salads, fish shaped chips, and crepes for dessert. And a beer. It was nice to splash out a little :-)
I also went shopping for pressies for my family. I bought some cool stuff and it was fun to shop for everyone.
Today I went to Tsurumi temple. I hadn't been for a year or so. Although the sitting - 2 40 minute sessions - was fine, it kind of hit me that training in a Zen temple is a lot scarier than I had previously thought. At the entrance to the temple, by the temple gates, they were initiating a new monk. Man! It looked harsh. There were 4 or 5 monks standing around a trainee monk who was sitting in zazen. They were having him chant a sutra and were shouting at him. I looked in through a gap in the window and the head monk smiled at me, then resumed his scowl. Later on during Zazen the trainees were all shouting in the hall next to our Zendo. It gave me chills just hearing it. Zen gardens are really nice but they've got nothing to do with Zen. And it dawned upon me how incredibly depressing it would be to just sit in a dimly lit, old, sepia hall all day. I hadn't really thought about the reality of it. I'd been dreaming of Zen gardens and quiet forest temples and sitting as a nice mountain breeze wafts over me. But if you started enjoying all that you'd have no chance!
But, I did get the chance to fullfill a dream of mine - I got to clean the floor! Not with a mop, but a la Zen monk. It's probably just me who thinks this is cool, but they get down on all fours with a cloth under their hands and then run sliding the cloth along the floor. It's great fun! I did this back and forth one time and felt a rush of joy and a stitch. He he. I'm going to keep my idealized view of Zen monks if it kills me!
Anyway, was a nice weekend.
6 days to go to France :-)
posted by PA on Sunday, July 31, 2005
Dude, I've never experienced such a hot day. Yesterday night we had a typhoon and it cleared away all the pollution, so today we were left with hardly anything to block the heat of the sun - no clouds, no pollution, no air. It kind of burned me out. I knew when I saw Fuji from my balcony that it was gunna be hot!
I think without doubt the most difficult thing about working is being told off. But to want to be praised is worse that being told off. So being told off is a good thing. Or a necessary thing. The world is not a kindergarten :-)
I finally made it out of the Philippine jungle only to land in the Burmese jungle! War sucks...
The countdown to France begins: 10 days.
Cheese, baguette, family, lake, saucisson, sun, space, trees, bike, mountains, lemonade, poker, smoking, golf, tennis, French....come to mind :-)
posted by PA on Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The weak are long
Some weeks are long. Some long to be weak. Some are too weak to long. Some long for weeks...
The most important thing in this world is...ipod shuffle. A very close second is a GameCube. In last place is being earnest.
We went to the Premiere of The Island yesterday. It's a fun film, but a little trite. A big trite. But Scarlet Johansen is cool and Ewan is his usual self. But the previews tell you everything you don't need to know. I already knew the twist so when it happened it didn't feel like a twist at all. In Japan they like to tell you everything. When there's a movie on TV, when the commercials come one they show you previews of the rest of the movie. This usually entails showing the ending. Like for Star Wars it would be the scene where Luke kills his father. Or in 6th Sense it would be where Bruce finds out he's dead. Yep, he's dead! And so it was for The Island. Nevertheless it was good fun. And it was free :-)
Man, Jeff Buckley's still dead...
posted by PA on Friday, July 22, 2005
Stuck in the jungle in the Philippines
Surely there's no fate worse than being stuck in the jungle in the Philippines, is there? I keep going round and round in circles, not a Japanese sword in site. Man, getting lost sucks...
I've decided to make my blog as light as the night air. When you read it, if you don't get a waft of freshly cut grass, I'll give you your money back...
It's been a very long time since I wrote a blog haiku. So here goes:
"It's too hot to move.
What a pleasure!"
posted by PA on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Today is a National Holiday so we've had 3 days off in a row. It's been so incredibly hot I've had to take showers every hour or so to prevent myself from over-heating.
Today I road to Ueno, about a 15 minute ride from my place, and bought a 15L North Face ruck sack. I love it. I had a look at more practical-sized ones but when I saw this mini bag I was a'taken. It fits A4 size so it's not too impractical. Anyway, no more cigarette buts in the front pocket for this baby :-) After that I came back home and, feeling restless and hot, set off to find an outdoor pool. I road for half an hour and found an outdoor pool : Closed and actually an outdoor paddling pool for kids! I came home and watched Thirteen. It's pretty good and Holly Hunter is excellent.
On Saturday we went to a huge park outside of Tokyo and played frisbee golf. It was ace. Naomi was pretty good. She beat me on the first hole but then I found my form and started upon my path to victory, until I threw my frisbee out of bounds and picked up a 10 shot penalty (Naomi decided the penalty) . I still won though :-) But frisbee golf is excellent fun. Most holes were about 70 yards and par for beginners was 4. Once you're within a few yards from the basket it's quite easy to get it in. The basket is about 6 feet high and there are chains hanging down from the top so if your throw is straight, the chains will stop your frisbee and plonk it in the basket. There were some serious people there too with little camera style bags full of frisbees. Some would roll their frisbees to gain more distance. It was all quite a surprise - I thought it would be a little patch of grass and a few baskets but it was a full 18 hole course! It's amazing what's out there,eh?
In the evening we watched, "Shattered Glass" with Anakin Skywalker. I quite liked it. It's based on the true story of a journalist writing for the New Republic. I won't say anymore...
My Game Cube is awesome! I've been playing NBA Street and Medal of Honor Rising Sun. Both are pretty cool, but Medal of Honor is taking up most of my time. I'm now in the Phillipines and the Japanese keep coming at me with swords! I'm stuck in the jungle and can't see a thing most of the time. It's a nightmare. War sucks.
And the good news is Napolean Dynamite is coming out early August, we got free tickets to The Island and I bought a mini ruck sack :-) (Same one)
Another thing that everyone knows is that lying down in front of the TV, watching DVDs and playing games, listening to music - all these things I do to relax - aren't relaxing at all. Well they are a little I suppose, but not really. I'd been quite busy doing all these things all day and then as my head began to explode I turned off everything and sat down...and then I remembered what it's like to be relaxed. It's different...
posted by PA on Monday, July 18, 2005
Time to Blog
It's a very rare day indeed that affords me time to blog from work, but I came back from lunch just now and thought, I've worked solid for weeks now and it's time to relax a little. So here's my very rare work blog:
My work mate is leaving next month and has lots of things he wants to sell. So today he brought me in his Game Cube with NBA Street and Dr.Mario. I accepted. I'm so excited to go home and play NBA Street.
We played frisby at lunch time in the scorching 31 degrees heat. My back is all sweaty and I feel hot, but at the same time I feel happily rejuvenated. I'd been sitting like an old man for 4 hours prior to lunch, and now I feel like a young boy. Couldn't eat a whole though :-)
Today on my podcast I learnt about the Deep Impact Space Project. It's just like in the movies -they're blooming blowing up meteorites!
I'm losing steam here. Let's call it a day.
Thanks for coming.
Leave your wallets at the door.
Drive your cars to my house and drop your keys in the letterbox.
(Edited by PA)
posted by PA on Friday, July 15, 2005
Worrying aint what it used to be
It constantly amazes me, the habits we pursue even though we know them to be a waste of time and energy. And I wonder if we just follow them out of habit. Fuck, yeah!
So recently I've embarked upon the path of "no worries" and it works pretty well. Even if I run over a dog on my bike, knock down two old grannies and end up cutting my finger off whilst making my salad, I really can't be bothered to worry about it. And without worry, you just have stuff as it is. And stuff is kinda cool. stuff - 1, 360,000 bits of stuff to enjoy. Can't go wrong...
posted by PA on Thursday, July 14, 2005
Pretty much my all time favorite director, David Lynch, is a transcendental meditator. I downloaded a podcast today of him doing a speech at a university in the US about how T.M could bring about peace in the world. I don't know what to think. I'm all for peace in the world but it sounds a little like a get peace quick scheme! Who am I to say he's not right, though? But I had the image of him being really at peace with his own crazy, wierd world rather than trying to find a nice well ordered one. And I still prefer the idea that any sound philosophy must include the imperfect aswell as the perfect...whatever that means :-) Like the world is full of imperfection at the same time as being perfect. I like that paradox more than the idea that everything is perfect and we should never feel pain. It's a bit like that riddle, If God is all-powerfull, can He make a rock he couldn't lift? If he can, he's not. And if he can't he's not. Well, it's not much like that at all, but I just remembered it. But Mr.Lynch talks about a state of bliss and starts to sounds a little like Patric Swayze in Donnie Darko. If you have to close your eyes and drift away to get bliss, then we're doomed....
Ahhhh! I'm starting to sound like that Zen guy I keep reading. Watch out for false prophets! And false profits :-)
The mind is a dangerous thing if you don't keep watch,eh!
But David Lynch has got a new film coming out, which is very exciting. But you have to sit down quietly with your eyes closed to see it!
posted by PA on Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tonite we fly
So recently there's a new addition to the ipod gadgets. Now you can get podcasts! I haven't uploaded it yet but I thought I'd post about it anyway, in an effort to sound up-to-date. Well, that's about it for up-to-dateness from me :-)
posted by PA on Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Tonight we went to see the first of our gigs: Ash.
I remember way back in 1994, I heard Jack Names the Planets on John Peel. I then went out and bought the single. It had a raw adolescent feel to it and the innocence of youth. 10 years on they haven't changed a bit. They are still full of youthful exubernece and charm. Tim was on top form hacking away at his guitar and constantly saying, Fuck yeah! I assumed this was from the movie Napolean Dynamite? Is it? Mark, the Star Wars fanatic was funny - at one stage he jumped onto a speaker then jumped onto the scaffolding above the audience and swung into the mosh pit. It was the drummer's birthday and he did quite a few "One foot in the grave" impressions which the Japanese audience laughed at without surely knowing the show. But it was cool. The girl is from Mars. She should be in the Pixies with her cool, rock persona, lush voice and other worldy beauty. And they played Jack, Girl from Mars, Goldfinger, Oh Yeah! Kung Fu, and a cover of Only in Dreams by Weezer. We were right at the front next to the speakers so afterwards we couldn't hear a thing. We'd heard enough though! It was great to be back in the mosh pit, though. And the Japanese mosh pit is so friendly. Everyone gets their little space. No-one pushes. Peace is found in the mosh pit.
Anyways, a great night's music. Next up, Billy Corgan followed by Weezer :-)
posted by PA on Monday, July 11, 2005
5 Star Wars
We watched the 3rd episode of Star Wars today and it was startastic, a really good final prequel. We were completely entralled for the duration of the film and gripped by the emotional depth of the unveiling drama. The power of it I think lies in the fact that you're not watching just one film but watching all three sequels aswell and piecing it all together. Anakin Skywalker's fall into the Dark side is heartbreaking, for reasons not entirely clear to me. I was never a huge fan of the Star Wars trilogy but they were a part of my childhood, so it's almost impossible not to be moved by the unravelling of the story. Sometimes I remember the events of films as if they were my own past. So in a way, watching how Anakin becomes Darth Vader is like watching how my dad became my dad or how my mum became my mum. Although neither of my parents surrendered to the Dark Side. And Yoda is the coolest...Jedi I've ever seen.
Great film, it is.
posted by PA on Sunday, July 10, 2005
Things are moving
Yosuke and I watched Poltergiest yesterday night. I remember watching it is as a wee kid and being really scared by it. Some 15 years later, it's become a comedy. It's still a great little movie, though.
And everything changes. Things keep moving around, but the force of habit keeps everything looking the same.
Weezer is coming to Tokyo in August. Now we have 4 gigs to go to: Ash, Ben Folds, Weezer and then finally Billy Corgan. It's like being at Uni again, if it weren't for that pesky job!
Pesky pesky pesky. No matter how many times you say it, it still sounds like it shouldn't be a word.
posted by PA on Saturday, July 09, 2005
The music quiz is back! he he.
Just one line from me, because apart from when the title of the song comes up I can't get the lyrics.
"And she never told me her name"
Do you ever wonder what people are thinking? Are we all basically caught up in our own worlds and walking about pretty much without concern for others, just trying to fulfill our needs. Or is everyone looking out for each other? I don't know. Pretty much 100 per cent of the time I am thinking about everyone else. I don't mean this in an ultra altruistic way. Just that I worry about offending people or upsetting people or creating bad feeling between me and others. Taken to the extreme it's a pretty unhealthy way to live, I think. If it's just thinking, I suppose it would be fine, but worrying causes a problem. Sometimes when I'm wearing my shades on an overcast day, I have to exentuate my expressions in order to not appear offensive or arrogant. It's wierd because all the people I meet during the day - the kiosk ladies, passengers on the train - I'll never see again. So what does it matter?
One of the most annoying things about this blog is the fact that I keep writing the same stuff. And it makes me realize that nothing changes. I think a few posts back I wrote that we can't please all the people all of the time. And it's true. So I write it again.
I've been reading, "The elephant vanishes" by Murakami. It's so good. Really wierd stuff. The common theme throughout seems to be a sense of alienation from and bemusement with the world. The absurd. There's this one story about a guy who keeps seeing TV men. They just come in and put TVs down and then walk out. I'd like to tell you more but that's pretty much it...
posted by PA on Wednesday, July 06, 2005