Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yes, there is!

Why should anyone doubt it? OF COURSE there's a web site featuring a collection of Kanji Tattoos. A friend sent me the link after reading "Huh?" below. Not all wrong or stupid or silly, but when you keep going to this page there are a couple of beauts.

The 寿 "kotobuki" will look really nice -- IN A MIRROR, you dodo.
And what's with the Baka Gaijin? You want that on you for the rest of your life? You REALLY ARE a baka gaijin!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bad Dog

Big Dog's out shooting for a friend today. I have the whole place to myself!! Oh, it's been so long since I did, I am getting a little giddy. I missed my privacy! I missed my private time, private space! And now that I have it -- at least for a few hours -- I'm also going a little crazy because I can't focus long enough to get anything done.

This is what I did so far, today:
- went back to bed
- waxed my upper lip (I am a pretty hairless person so I don't shave arms/legs/etc. but I've noticed some tiny, nearly invisible hairs on my upper lip and it's been bothering me)
- cleaned the blinds (to assuage my guilt at doing what I-with-a-capital-I want to do)
- fixed a broken slat on one of the blinds (to show Big Dog I was actually doing something useful)
- turned up the stereo and danced around the condo in my underwear
- had some granola with yogurt
- the laundry (again, so that it won't look like I was just goofing off all day)
- finished a couple of half-done crosswords, using the internet to help me find the answers
- had 3 isobeyaki mochi
- emailed some friends
- started work on a 3-D plastic & acrylic cartoon project about a Griping Banana (which unfortunately got put on hold after I realized that my acrylic paints were no longer here in LA)
- polished the kitchen sink (it was grubby!)
- did a handstand, just to see if I could
- googled a poet friend to see how "recognized" he was and came across some stuff he had written years ago
- organized some photos
- found the huge coffee table book with early photos of the Stones and flipped through it again
- wrote an entry for the Japanese version of this blog

Some friends of mine in Tokyo, a radio director and a radio DJ, had a pair of long-haired dachshunds. The couple worked long crazy hours, so the dogs were left by themselves, trapped inside a relatively small apartment all day. I used to tease them (the couple) by making up stories of what their dogs were doing while they were away.

"I bet if you sneak up on them during the day, you'll find them screwing and smoking. They're humping in your bed, smoking up your cigarettes, drinking your beers, pooping in your cabinets…"

The thing is, I could do all the things I want to do even when Big Dog is here, but it just feels different doing them by myself, you know? Knowing that nobody is here to watch, or judge, or comment, or anything. Nobody is here to pull me away from even the most inane activity!

I'm going to go write some poetry now. And recite it to the wall. Loud! And then I'll drink and smoke and run around naked some more. Heh heh heh.


For people who have no "home" we sure are doing a lot of home repairs/maintenance! All during the past 2 weeks, Big Dog and I have been re-tiling, caulking, pruning, cleaning, fixing things at the DogFather's house…and a few things at Big Bro's house, too. Then, after we got back to LA (and it's a mystery why I use that word "back" no matter where I'm going. It's not like our condo in LA is any more of a "home" than anywhere else. Hell, we hardly have any furniture -- finally got a dining table when a neighbor got a new one -- and we've been sleeping on the floor forever) we decided to tackle the tiny leak in the bathroom faucet by replacing the whole faucet fixture. And since we were doing it to the front bathroom, why not the back, too?

So off to Home Despot we went.

I don't like big warehouse sized stores. They generally have incompetent or disinterested staff. This time, however, our local hardware store didn't have the kind of faucet hardware we wanted. To our relief, we found what we were looking for at the Despot, quickly, and even got a checkout counter that had no one in front of us!

Zip, zip, zip. Our checkout was over that fast.
"Wow. That was quick!" we commented.
"That's because you're at Counter 28!" said the check out lady -- a lovely, dark haired woman in a black tank top. Her arms were covered in tattoos. There was a Chinese character, a kanji, on her right shoulder. It said 親 (oya or shin - the most common meaning is "parent" though it can mean "relative" or "to be intimate with.")

"Did you see her tattoo?" I giggled, as we left the store. "Oya? Oya? In Japanese, it would even be a pun, 'cause 'oya' would be like 'huh?' What do you think she was trying to say?"
"No idea."
"But to mark yourself so indelibly with something you don't understand! Why do they do it?"

There was a news report on tv about the Chinese going gung-ho about English in their preparations for the Beijing Olympics and how (give it the old I'm-a-serious-journalist-even-though-I'm-doing-a-fluff-story kind of tone) "some things are lost in translation."

"So now, it's 'Chinglish.' Old story," muttered Big Dog. Decades ago, he'd already done a number of stories on Japlish. Today, there are even a number of websites cataloguing Bizarre English. They're quite funny, but I'm waiting for someone to catalogue screwed up tattoos. A sign, a menu, a logo you can always change. I think it's a liiiiittle more difficult when it's inked into your skin.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Body & Soul

It's St. Valentine's Day. Women are wearing red and guys are busy spending bucks.

In Japan, it's a day for WOMEN to give men CHOCOLATES. Don't ask me why. Oh, wait, I think I heard once that it was a very successful sales campaign launched by Morozoff, a Japanese chocolate company created by a Russian émigré. And in a land of Men First (at least back then), you would only EXPECT women to give MEN presents.

On Valentine's Day, though, I'm not thinking of chocolates, or gifts from or to loved ones. I'm thinking of the great inequality in love. As long as people can't imagine that there could be love and commitment between anyone other than one man and one woman, there is a huge segment of the population that is denied one of the basic human rights: pursuit of happiness.

In many countries of the world, gay marriage is as accepted as heterosexual marriages. In many countries of the world, it's very matter-of-fact. Here in the US, it's still a hot topic that is constantly being debated on all levels, but at least it IS being talked about. In Japan, there's never been any serious discussion. At least not to my knowledge. I have trouble understanding why some people have such difficulty with non-heterosexuals. People can fall in love with each other no matter what their gender, no matter what their genitalia might look like. In fact, I don't think it even has to be between two people. I am sure there are as many variations as there are people. What's wrong with three people loving each other equally and enjoying life together? Or four or five? Or a male-to-female transsexual in love with a straight woman? Or a gay man in love with a lesbian?

Anything is possible and if it's love, it should be celebrated.

Okay, I've never quite understood hetereosexuality. Or, for that matter, homosexuality. It all seems so... singular. "Oh, so you're bisexual," you might say, but that's not it, either. My sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender.

I mean, when you're in love with someone, are you in love with that person's large breasts? Hairy chest? Maybe they are attractions, but not what you fall in love with. (Is it?) For me, bodies are just a vessel for the soul. If the soul is right for me, who cares what the body looks like! (Do you think there's a market for a movie about a woman whose partner gets transformed into a chimpanzee but she still loves him and now has to endure all sorts of humiliation -- from PETA to Fundamental Christians -- because of her love? Hmm, maybe not.)
It doesn't matter one bit whether this person has male or female genitalia or both or somewhere inbetween or even none at all! Why should it? If you can laugh together, talk together, learn together and grow old together, you can certainly find many satisfying ways to make love together.

There is too much pain and suffering and misery in this world for us NOT to celebrate love. In all of its many wonderful shapes, sizes and colors. But until the discriminatory marriage laws are changed, until there is equality in love, it just doesn't feel right celebrating this Lover's Holiday.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Darkness On The Edge of Town

We are still in Lancaster, CA. (I know there's a Lancaster, PA. Never been, but I am sure it's a very different kind of place.) Big Dog thinks he's here to emotionally support his nearly 90-year-old father, but I know that being with the DogFather is as much for his own sake as it is for the father. Other members have their own families, and jobs, to keep them distracted. Sure, we could move on and start any one of a dozen different projects, but I know Big Dog needs the comfort of being with family more than the distraction of any project.

But if we could, we would take the DogFather out of this town in an instant.

We discovered a bullet hole in DogFather's garage door yesterday. A bullet hole!! You can't imagine what a strange and violent symbol this is to anyone from Japan. It pierced through two layers of metal. When? Why? Who? So far, we can't find any damage to the car that was parked there, though on immediate inspection, that seemed impossible. Later, Big Dog drove the car out and went to look for the bullet.

"Are there any latex gloves around here? Don't touch it with your hand," I warn him. I've watched way too many episodes of CSI.
But so has he. Not only was he aware of that, he started pulling a string through the 2 holes to find the direction of the shot. Later, other family members were suggesting the same thing. How sad, how insane that you can actually USE the things that you learn from a crime scene investigation drama!

A few years ago, Little Sister's son got a job at a burger shop and was held up. A guy came in, pointed a gun in his face, made him open the cash register. (The manager of the shop wanted to take the losses out of the son's pay check!) Of course, Little Sister made him quit immediately (as I am sure he would have done, anyway) but I told Big Dog that if anything like that happened to us, we would be on the next plane out of here and would never come back.

I am ready to whisk everyone away from here. It never ceases to amaze me what people will put up with. I suppose it's the old frog in the warm water syndrome. The water keeps getting hotter, but so gradually that by the time the frog realizes the water's too hot, it's too late. People in LA are numbed by the violence. They put up bars on their windows, install thousand dollar security systems, drive their kids to school. They just learn to deal with it because they don't know how abnormal this is, how this is not the way things are all over the world.

"They should be outraged! They should band together and get something done about it!" both Big Dog and I scream to anyone who might listen. But because the decline has been so gradual, they don't see the severity of their problem. And one day, like that poor frog, it will be too late.