December 13, 2004

I lost a friend and finished a book this weekend. Or maybe I lost something else and didn't finish anything, I don't know. The winter has been unexpectedly warm, so much that I am starting to remember words, faces and places that I had expected to freeze by now. Let' s see if I can get through a whole blog without any ty9pos. Maybe it's already too late (or too early).

I was going to write about something important when I woke up this morning. A professor of mine advised me to keep a little palm-sized notebook with me at all times. I have never done this, for it just seems too pretentious or something. Well, I guess you have to be pretentious to be great at something, which makes my prospects for the latter look quite emaciated. I think there was a sentence I read last night that said "All great and precious things are lonely." I find myself writing less and less about Japan on this Blog and more about language, relationships, and abstractions that I find difficult to write about. That shouldn't be a bad thing, though it is quite hard to read this stuff day in day out. Perhaps there is truly nothing interesting going on here, or I am not letting the wonderful stuff that is happening to me flourish in reflective splendor. Some people just have a better knack for reflecting the concrete, physical details of our experiences into language. Sometimes I feel like my writing is the act of making a photocopy of an image whose original I do not possess.

Well, going back to Berkeley in a few days. The last time was a strikeout. I am hoping it might be better this time, but I have the feeling it will be more of the same, more of the changed. It is a pretty fatuous thing to say that nothing has changed, just as it is to say the opposite. Sometimes I wonder about a choice in the middle between the two. I'm starting to get used to this surreal feeling of being home and nothing having changed though everything's changed. Even if I don't want to be there, it is still a very easy place to be.

It's certainly strange what we do to others and what others do to us, without knowing any of it until long after the fact. No, it's a lot more than just queer or odd. It is a brutally painful necessity. I don't know where it comes from, the constant tearing down of building blocks at the structure's nascent stage. I don't know if I am speaking of a temporal thing now or a universal thing, this restlessness with our words and how we use them to communicate with others. Hyprocrisy seems to be an acceptable and even praiseworthy trait these days (much more so because it is not recognized at all), which makes me shudder with a feeling of helplessness. There is always a choice before us, but as this choice is stretched thinner and thinner on the continuum of languages, it grows more and more impossible to determine what we are choosing and why. There are so many motives we can attribute to others when they say something beautiful, poignant, and loving; the same also if they say something caustic, insincere, and full of fear. However, this attribution of motives, the judgment of value, or interpretation, is a dangerous act whose danger is no longer recognized as such. I can't believe how many and perhaps all of the foreigners here (myself included) talk about "Japanese Culture" in the light of one's own orientation to the world--pushing anything living in this country to a marigin that we have designated for mythologies, fictions, and fantasies of every shape and size. It is unavoidable, but recognizable. If we understand this, at least, there is the possibility of change and not the empty word for it which remains the same and consumes itself in its own lack of meaning. Speaking of lacking meaning...

It's funny how we think one thing and say the opposite. Sort of like emotional dislexia, or maybe the logic of our emotions.

Hopefully there will be snow this year in Wakayama. We all need some bit of winter to remind us of how good spring is.


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