Okay, so I haven’t finished my story yet. I haven’t even really begun to tell it, as is quite plain to see. Let me state just one thing: I am arriving closer and closer to doing so, telling it all in full. I promise. I’m not the writer of the Lotus Sutra (sorry, this is the most obscure joke in the world, but it had to be said. More on that later).
So, what’s my excuse for not writing this time? Well, work, still. And actually getting out and taking pictures and seeing things, even if in a narrow area.
Finally, there are the vexations.
The realization that I’ve been here a month and my spoken Japanese has barely improved at all, and my reading none what-so-ever. The office business involving myself is mostly conducted in English, except for the business meetings.
The lack of people around who play Go. I’ve looked long and hard and asked all the clients that come to the office if they play or know someone who plays. In all I found one person who says their brother-in-law who lives the next town over plays it casually and one student who says that he plays Shogi instead. I’m considering learning that just to keep my wits up. I don’t think I’m going to be able to break into the Intermediate Kyu levels of Go before I get back home. I could play online, but the majority of online players are higher ranked than me and I think that a board loaded with 10 handicap stones is a vastly different game from two fairly evenly matched players.
Finally there is the lack of serious written output of any kind. It’s rather difficult. I have had some success. I’ve found that for some reason I write better seated on the floor than at a table or desk. That revelation just hit me today. It improves my concentration and flow. Better posture perhaps. I need to experiment more. In any case, I recieved an e-mail today. One of my ex-colleagues invited me to submit a paper for a book. I’m seriously considering it. I’m beginning to realize how hamstrung my academic career was by my personal life at the time. I could have gotten articles published and gone to conferences and be going onwards to the Ivies as my former fellows have. It was just other things just kept on happening. A lack of personal security will lead to a lack of security in one’s own work. Mind you, I’m not regretting withdrawing from the academic world, at least, not yet. Still, upon retrospection I’m less critical than I was before.
But, I digress, I will try to show more diligence in not letting my mind shrivel despite the burden of a Japanese-style workload. So, for today, I will take these vexations as a month spent in cultivation of what things may come.
For part of today (including as I write this) I have listened to Satie’s Vexations. While no Gymnopedies, it’s definitely good for contemplation of vexing matters. It’s a couple of bars of music repeated 840 times. It’s said to induce a trancelike state upon those who attempt to play it for at least a portion of the 28 hour length. Oddly lilting and slightly atonal, despite hearing numerous repetions of it, I couldn’t really hum it on cue.
For those of you who hate weird not-easily accessible stuff on general principle, just avoid it, mkay? Not like Satie was anything like the attention whore concept artists of today. I must do a post on real eccentricity versus the cultivated crap that passes for it today.
Also for your perusal, here’s a link to an addicting vocabulary game. I was able to hit level 43 in a couple of minutes, but it took me about 30-45 minutes before I could break into level 50 and even then I would drop to a 48-49 pretty quickly. God knows how people can hit level 60 on the thing.
So until the next time, Light a Peace and I’m out, 840 time over.
Y’know in further thoughts, a confusing dull thing done mindlessly 840 times over with no change is a lot like how things are done here in Japan oft times.