mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Note in the afterword to The City of Yes: "None of the people in this book are real". No shit, Sherlock. I wondered if he'd actually been to Japan at all, but apparently he spent two years there teaching English. This doesn't expain why his Japanese characters are so terribly unJapanese. Or why his school kids speak such excellent English.

Friend who's an essential worker at a retirement home up the street said she'd drop by today or tomorrow after work. Wasn't really expecting her today, with its wind and snow showers, but tidied the downstairs anyway, which gives me the usual unsatisfactory satisfaction a tidy house always does.

The books I've read these past two months are piled on a chair in the living room. Saw that the top one was the Nagai Kafu I'd been reading desultorily. Realized I'd never finished it, figured I might as well before throwing it out, and now realize I can't, because there's a prose piece- not really a story- that's a diary entry about Kafu/ the narrator's house in Ogikubo, around the time of the first world war. Ogikubu in my day was a garish main drag, all convenis and nightclubs, but in the streets back of it there were still modest bungalow style or two storey Japanese houses, ghosts of the house- or rather, the garden- Kafu talks about in this story. For him, it's all weather and plant life:

September 3: The wind this morning was enough to chill the bones of a weakling like me, but the clear autumn weather brings a new freshness. The autumn cicadas are singing in the tall trees by tbe gate.

November 12: All yesterday and last night there was a biting wind, and today it is bright and clear and the red of the maple leaves deepens. The warm 'little spring' days of October are very good in their way, but the blue of the Tokyo sky is more beautiful when early winter is passing and the last of the chrysanthemums are in bloom. As December approaches, the colour deepens, and seems to drip from the sky. Possibly because the cold weather has come earlier than usual this year, the sky already has the December colour.

Entries like this are like smells that come suddenly to conjure up a memory, bright and complete, of a time and place whose image had become dulled with time.

And speaking of smells, this evening was the rare one of cherry blossoms and woodsmoke combined
Tags: japan, reading_20, rl_20

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