STREET JOURNAL 63

Standard

By Tom H. Brooks 3

BY THE TIME YOU REACH MY AGE, YOU LEARN TO LIVE WITH YOURSELF………………….…………………………….

______
The date              June, 2011
The setting          Japan
The protagonist    ME
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Where the FUCK am I?
______
I`m gonna write this one again whether you like it or not;
“There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.”
Raymond Chandler
______
more quotes from Raymond Chandler, king of the one-liner (or three-liner, whatever…)
“Alcohol is like love.  The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine.
After that you take the girl`s clothes off.”
“It was a blonde.  A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”
“In Hollywood, anything can happen, anything at all.”
______
from the TV show, Deadwood;
” `Will you keep a girl company?`
` I will, but I`m expensive.` “
*   *   *
“May I say then, ever since I resumed drinking alcohol, I can`t for the life
of me remember why I ever gave it up.”
*   *   *
“Of course, as a base of operations, you canNOT beat a fucking saloon.”
______
6/11/11  Saturday
Went to a delicious pizzeria in Komoro that had charming authentic Italian music with accordions and such.
The food was also quite delicious.  If you could ignore all the ridiculous Japanese writing, you could,
just for a moment, imagine you were in Portofino or Milan or Venice.  Ahh, not really…
Afterwards, we went to a gorgeous waterfall in Karuizawa called Sengataki.  Everything was a vivid
green and wreathed in mist and it smelled like flowers and freshly-fallen rain.  I will never forget this
`Garden of Eden…..`    (See attachments)
______
Chiharu is an ACTION-SLEEPER….DAMN!  I don`t know how she manages to get into all those crazy positions…
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It`s still amazing how many little projects I invent to keep myself busy when there`s nothing to do…
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Before Yucca and YLEM!!! there was New Jersey back in the day with Eric and Mike and the `call of the wild`………
H H EEEE EEEEEE  AAAAAA  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA  AAAAAAAA!!!!!!
(oh well, you had to be there….)
______
I love the smell of freshly-fallen rain on the grass and the trees first thing in the morning.  And then,
a fresh cup of coffee and that first cigarette head rush as the blue smoke twists gently in the still air.
It reminds me of across-America drives….Tennessee or Virginia, perhaps….
______
HA HA!!  The last attachment was in my book and I couldn`t help sharing it with you….
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NOWHERE IS A PLACE
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I`ll always remember “Newport Annie`s” and “Acapulco Joe`s” in Mission Beach, San Diego; places I did A LOT of crazy partying….
(They no longer exist, as I no longer exist in that time frame….only in the spaces of memory do they exist)
______
Funny Bad English in Japan: (t-shirts, signs, captions on boxes of products, etc….)  These are written EXACTLY as I saw them; they make NO SENSE!
t-shirt  “Romantic Celebrate Special”
t-shirt  “Carifornia: Gorden State”          HA!
box of tissues    “Bird is wet. And me too.  Rain…rain.  It`s rain every.”
box of tissues    “When rainbow is hang over sky, We are happy every time.”
(Don`t they have a proofreader or something?!?)
t-shirt  “Save the Tree”  (only one; not the rest)
sign   “Ueda Plomenade”
sign   “Dessert Hills Market”
sign   “For Sael”
Oh, and let`s not forget this from one of the students in my English e-mail class; it was supposed to say “Please scrap the defectives.”
Instead, he wrote, “Please scrape the defecate.”  HA!  CLASSIC!!
a soap dispenser called  “A Pet Pump”
a restaurant named  “POO”
OH YEAH, AND IT JUST GETS BETTER EVERY DAY….
_______
Summer Solstice in Japan:  6/22/11
A long and beautiful day…
_______
“When trouble comes calling, sometimes it`s best to pretend to be out.”
_______
6/24/11  Nicest morning snooze EVER…
Lying sprawled out in bed on fresh sheets, green mountains and valleys rolling away in the distance out
my 3 windows, the birds singing their morning songs, a cuckoo bird with his monotonous call; a bee buzzing
in the garden, busy amongst blossoming flowers, a cool breeze blows through my room, fluttering the curtains,
puffy, white clouds sail at a lazy pace across a deep, blue sky–YES, summer is officially here….
_______
Later the same day, an amazing rainbow in the eastern sky at 5:30pm….
_______
Funny alias nicknames from Raymond Chandler:
Moose Malloy
Doghouse Reilly
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Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon Nicknames:
The Kickin` Chicken
Bombed Tom
Thunder Chicken
The Clint Eastwood of Whiskeys
The Dirty Bird
________
How `bout a belt of the Dirty Bird, Shamus?
________
Meatball Malone
Dick Vaganus
Hoagie Carmichael
Barney Rumpler
Grumpy Joe
Mr. Bonzo
Jack Dingler
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Watching oneself age is a very disheartening experience…
meaning–getting fatter, more wrinkles, saggy flesh, developing
a built-in turtleneck, noticing strange veins where you never saw
them before–the final and ultimate disintegration of the frail,
mortal shell……and the flesh becomes dust once again…
________
ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE
(even as we get uglier…)
________
6/29/11
Went for a drive in the Ueda Mountains to Sugadaira….BEAUTIFUL.  As usual, I need no maps to find
new and fascinating places, I just follow my instinct.  I found a gorgeous waterfall in a cool, green canyon,
which I later found out was called Karasawa no Taki.  Nobody was around at all.  There was a nice,
refreshing mist drifting through the air on a light breeze.  If I`d had my swimtrunks, I would`ve had a dip
in the water, it`s THAT nice.  Leave it to me to find the COOLEST place in the vicinity on an 85 degree,
HUMID day…..YESSUH!!  (route 144 to route 406)
KONNICHIWOW!!
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“When Chuck Norris talks, everybody listens…..and DIES.”
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“The strangeness of being alive…”
Paul Auster
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7/2/11
Beer, whiskey, a cigarette, and a cool night breeze…. a recipe for nostalgia, memories…..yeah, that`s the stuff.
You can`t go back, even if there are some things in your life you might want to revisit, they are irrevocably lost,
destined to live on only in your fading memories and your writings.  Like a sunset sinking into the sea, like a distant
mountain receding as the train pulls further away, like a glimpse of paradise on the creamy, white thighs of a
beautiful girl before she changes her position or crosses her legs–time is an invisible river; liquid, flowing, intangible,
ungraspable, mysterious….The past; it lives on in the deepest recesses of your inner mind to reveal itself only
in fleeting dreams and visions, forgotten rapidly with the rising sun of another dawn…
_______
Sunday, 7/3/11
Read the entire 308 pages of Paul Auster`s new book, Sunset Park, in one fascinating day,
a frenzy of words, dreams, and images.  It`s that good.  The man NEVER lets me down….GENIUS….
_______
Since I have so much time (and money) on my hands, I decided that now is as good a time as any to indulge myself
with fine whiskeys from my minibar….
I am on a SCOTCH phase…..DAMN, the Macallan is GOOD!!
The MACALLAN
Highland Single Malt
   Scotch Whisky
           12
  Twelve Years Old
Colour: Rich Gold
Nose: Vanilla, with a hint of ginger,
dried fruit, sherry sweetness and wood smoke.
Palate: Deliciously smooth, rich dried fruit and sherry,
balanced with wood smoke and spice.
Finish: Sweet toffee and dried fruit, with wood
smoke and spice.
Distilled and Bottled by
The MACALLAN DISTILLERS LTD.
Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, Scotland
Respected and admired by the world`s most sophisticated and discerning whisky drinkers,
the MACALLAN remains the Single Malt against which all others must be judged.  This
peerless reputation has been built by the Masters of Spirit and Wood, those craftsmen
at the heart of the MACALLAN since it was legally licensed in 1824.
Underpinning this mastery are the MACALLAN`S six pillars: the unique elements that combine
to make the MACALLAN so special.
The Spiritual Home
Easter Elchies House proudly watches over the MACALLAN DISTILLERY in Speyside, Scotland.
Built in 1700, this Jacobean Manor House is the MACALLAN`S spiritual home.
Curiously Small Stills
Our curiously small and uniquely shaped copper stills help to concentrate the flavour.
The Finest Cut
Only the best of the best.  Typically just 16% is used to fill our casks.
Exceptional Oak Casks
Exclusively matured in selected sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain.  The casks are filled with aged
sherries and left to season and mature for 2 years.  Only then are they ready to begin the 2000 mile
journey north to Scotland.  Here they will receive the MACALLAN “new make” spirit that will slowly
mature into a satisfyingly rich and complex single malt.
Natural Color
It is something we insist upon, the interaction of spirit and wood.
Peerless Spirit
Our whisky maker keeps a watchful eye on slumbering casks, always selecting the perfect moment
for bottling.
*     *     *
I bet you whiskey drinkers are gonna go out and get a bottle right now; in fact, I strongly suggest that you DO…..DO IT!
____________
Abandoned a REALLY lame Clive Cussler book called The Spy in a bathroom at Nissin Kogyo Factory in Tomi City, Japan.
It was definitely a one-time read only (if that…)
*   *   *
{A few weeks later, that copy of The Spy is STILL sitting in that same bathroom.  It could go on sitting there until the end
of time.  No one reads English here and most of these people would rather read comic books even if they could understand it.
AND it`s a crappy book anyway……..}
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7/6/11
And NO ONE shows up for the Nissin Kogyo “English Club” today….nobody.  HA!!  Good, I don`t feel like talking anyway…
_______
Take the road past Tanaka train station and cross the railroad tracks and you will find yourself on an ancient Japanese
street with old houses and temples and AMAZING architecture.  It is like a time warp.  Then listen to Michael Jackson`s
Man in the Mirror for the ridiculous contrast of it and have an acid-flashback……I did…..it was great……
(I found out later that this street is called UNNOJUKU and it is from the 1700s of the Edo Period….SAMURAI SHIT, yo!!)
_______
I found a great pool that I have to visit eventually.  It is called Tomi Chuo Park.  Later, later…..(It is OUTDOORS…under the SUN, unlike most of these dumps!)
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“When he ain`t lyin`, he`s the most honorable man you`ll ever meet.”
“Deadwood”
_______
I actually found a cool skateboard shop in Miyota, of all places, called MAG–just down the street from Parada Ski Resort…how about that?
_______
7/7/11
Miyota Ghost Town……
ECHO
_______
7/8/11  Miyota, Japan
So strange to sit here in my garden amongst the sound of madly twittering birds and to hear,
randomly, John Williams Star Wars soundtrack echoing across the valley.  It was NOT a
hallucination–two days in a row.  Don`t ask me, I just don`t know….unfathomable Japan….indeed….
_______
7/9/11
From what I`ve seen so far, the Japanese apparently have absolutely NO CONCEPT of how to properly enjoy
a swimming pool.
Now, most of you knowing that I came from SoCal, you will be aware that I come from the golden days of
swimming and surfing in the deep blue ocean and that swimming pools have ALWAYS involved BBQs
and beers and the art of leisure.  A pool was always surrounded by sexy babes lounging in bikinis and cool
dudes to drink beer and talk shit with, and whenever you got too hot, you would plunge into the pool with
careless, hedonistic abandon.  The golden days, indeed…..
Well, here it is a different story, a sad one, I`m afraid.  I walk for 15 minutes through the 86 degree humidity
to the local Miyota pool.  I pay ¥200 ($2.20) and I walk INSIDE–yes, it IS an INDOOR POOL….which already
irritates me.  In this weather, it causes an intense greenhouse effect that makes it HOT AS HELL in there.
But the water is still cool and refreshing.  So, I get in, feeling relieved with a momentary, all-too-brief happiness.
But the old lady from the front comes running out with a stupid little red-and-yellow swimming cap, a SHOWER
CAP for CHRISSAKES!!  For some fucked up reason, everyone has to wear one….everyone being the ONE
other guy that is there.  I reluctantly snatch the damned thing from her claws and shoo her away.  I put it on,
looking like even more of an asshole than usual, and swim for ONE MORE MINUTE before I am AGAIN rudely
interrupted.  This time there is a 10-minute break before the next 50 minutes for some unknown goddamned
reason.  Now, I AM GETTING REALLY IRRITATED.  She blows a WHISTLE, the crazy bitch, and walks out,
and I am left sitting there for 10 fucking minutes sweating in the sauna-like greenhouse, with cool water just
inches away.  Apparently, you`re not even allowed to dip your feet or splash during this insane “break time.”
I know because I tried it and she popped out of the shadows like a jack-in-the-box screaming gibberish.  I
laughed at her.  So I`m sweating like an animal thinking, I JUST WANT TO SWIM!!
After what seemed like an eternity, a bored-looking 16-year-old kid “lifeguard” walks in and blows the whistle
AGAIN (for the two people that were present) and I am “allowed” back in the pool.  What is this?!?
Some kind of fucking military drill?!  Oh yes, the comedy show thrillride continues….
So I dive into the pool again, rudely splashing the little punk and start swimming.  I don`t need him here.  I
wish he would go away.  I was surfing fat, bone-crushing barrels in Hawaii when he was just a gleam in some
sake-drunk Jap`s bloodshot eye.  I swim for about 15 more minutes and flounder about, floating and lounging
under his watchful, soulless eyes, and then I say FUCK IT!!  I feel like I`m in a greenhouse prison.  I`ve gotta
BREAK OUT!!
I get the fuck outta there, back under the trees and the blue sky.  I`m better off staying home in my garden,
drinking beer and playing in the hose like a 5-year-old.  It would be better to buy a kiddie-pool or go swimming
in the river.
Oh, what I wouldn`t give for some barbecued burgers and some 24oz Budweisers and some sexy little vixens
at the old Oakwood in Venice or some topless babes splashing each other and frolicking at the rooftop Standard
Hotel in downtown LA.  I might kill for that.  SoCal KNOWS what pools are meant for….
________
After the ridiculous misadventures of my hot morning swim, I now stand out under the porch awning in a POURING
rain while thunder crashes and lightning streaks across a black sky.  And this is the SAME day!  I smoke a cigarette
and sip a belt of scotch and revel in the storm and the wonder of it all.
________
Japanese `mountain dew`…….Mello Yello……..(NOT as good…)
________
“I have been meaning to speak to you.  I have many pages of notes, instructions, quarrels.  On weighty matters I will
speak without notes, freely and passionately, as if inspired, at night, in a rage, slapping myself, great tremendous
slaps to the brow which will fell me to the earth.”
Donald Barthelme
“Overnight to Many Distant Cities”
________
Art is possibility space where everything can and should be attempted.
Lance Olsen
________
“All of us found ourselves at the same stoplights in different cities at the same time.
When the lights changed, we all crossed the streets.”
NOT ME!!  I have crossed and WILL cross whenever the hell I want!!
________
“How joyous the notion that, try as we may, we cannot do other than fail and fail absolutely
and that the task will remain always before us like a meaning for our lives.”
“I`d rather have a wreck than a ship that sails; things attach themselves to wrecks.”
“Fragments are the only forms I trust.”
Donald Barthelme
_______
FRAGMENTATIONISM–further elaborations on this new form of literature for the modern age….coming soon, in a future issue….
_______
7/10/11  Miyota in the Mountains of Nagano Prefecture…..
While I was taking shower, I thought I heard SEAGULLS.  Ridiculous, of course,
but it does tell you something about my mind doesn`t it?
_______
“We did it all at room temperature…”
Donald Barthelme
_______
7/11/11
Just another day at the office, speaking NIHON-GLISH with my students and playing Johnny Cash on the stereo….
Gotta give them a dose of REAL MUSIC since all they know is this shitty J-pop that they listen to.
(I have to be the weirdest English teacher ever…)
{further note: “Nihon-go” is what they call JAPANESE.  “Ei-go” is what they call ENGLISH.  EVERYTHING is “something-GO.”
So the above word is my hybrid language called NIHON-GLISH….}
_______
Later that same day…..here in Ueda at my English School, the coolest, BIGGEST, thickest, closest,
bolts of lightning I`ve ever seen in my life.  It seemed like they were 50 yards away!   In retrospect,
I probably should have gone inside.  What can I say?  Lightning and Thunder; the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH….
_______
And then, if you can believe it, the sun sets in the west, orange and beautiful, while I`m STILL standing in the rain and lightning….
_______
AND….to top it all off….that night, a lightning-struck train line caused a 39-minute delay….HA!!
_______
It`s STILL 7/11
MIDNIGHT MOON
OYASUMI BITCHES!!  (oyasumi is good night….)
_______
7/13/11  5:30am to 12 noon….
EXCELLENT misty morning skateboard run….down route 137 to Komoro station through Otomeko Park.
Then I took a train to Karuizawa for another run……EPIC….
_______
EVERY
CRAZY
THING
I DO
IS
WORTH
IT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
_______
Karuizawa is truly a little slice of mountain heaven…
_______
Just sittin` on the 3rd hole of an empty mini-golf course adjacent
to an old temple, drinking a beer…..
_______
RANDOM PATHS
_______
The element of surprise is what
makes life worth living……….
_______
I always stand by this saying of mine….
_______
As I ride home on the train, I suddenly remember skateboarding up and down
an empty subway car in NYC on the way to Coney Island (or was it Inwood….or both?….whatever….)
_______
7/13/11  Today was the stuff dreams are made of…
WHAT A GREAT FUCKING DAY!!!
_______
“The man who devours, enjoys himself, but he can`t help thinking of the end of all his pleasure,
and that turns him into a pessimist.  The man who is devoured suffers, and he can`t help looking
forward to the end of his suffering, and so he becomes an optimist.  So devour yourself, and since
the pleasure of devouring yourself will be confused with the pain of being devoured, one neutralizing
the other, you`ll achieve a perfect equanimity of spirit, in other words,ataraxia.  Then you`ll be
merely a spectacle for yourself.”
Miguel de Unamuno
“Mist”
________
7/14/11
Lightning storm in the evening and three-quarters of a bottle of Cutty Sark…..I PUT THAT BITCH TO SLEEP (and then I went to sleep…)
But only after writing more…..
________
I suppose we all have our own forms of madness…
but I like MY MADNESS better than yours…..
________
“…this passion for wanting to meet the latest poet, shake hands with the latest novelist, get hold
of the latest painter, devour…what is it?  What is it they want from a man that they didn`t get from
his work?  What do they expect?  What is there left of him when he`s done his work?  What`s any
artist but the dregs of his work?….the human shambles that follows it around.  What`s left of the
man when the work`s done but a shambles of apology?”
William Gaddis
“The Recognitions”
I beg to differ, GADDIS…..there`s plenty left of ME and I apologize for NOTHING!!
________
And now, the final act……..the curtain rises…….
________
I play with words because they plague me…
________
“Our evenings lacked promise.  The world in the evening seems fraught with the absence
of promise, if you are a married man.  There is nothing to do but go home and drink your
nine drinks and forget about it.”
Donald Barthelme
________
Well, I can`t follow that up………
Good night…….
THB3
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