Japanese town logos with kanji and explanations. Cool.
1. Wednesday it rained so I walked to work, and stopped on the way for a latte and croissant at the local corner hole in the wall cafe. And because it then started to rain heavily, I stayed for a crepe as well. There was no one else there and I read my Japanese novel in peace (chatting yuppies have loud voices, in case you didn't know) to the background of an unfamiliar Leonard Cohen album. Googling later reveals it to be Ten New Songs which, being nine years old, is not as new as all that. But such is my musical ignorance, I'd thought Cohen was still sitting on top of a mountain in 2001, from which he descended in '05 to find himself a pauper. Evidently not. Suffice to say, though, that Ten New Songs is the best Cohen I've heard since 1985; that his voice has lost the edge that bugged me so much in The Future and now murmurs, Cohenesquely, in the mind's ear, suggesting immensities and mysteries; and that it makes me think once again of dragons.
2. Thursday I biked down through the university to pick up my tickets for the Kurosawa festival that's happening at the Art Gallery this summer. Bells were ringing as I turned on to the back campus. Oh right-- June means convocation. A file of black and white-robed grads was coming down the steps of University College, across the green vastness of the front campus, and into Convocation Hall. One of those 'oh!' moments-- oh I remember, oh those lucky young people just starting on life,
...the strength and painand oh how glad I am it isn't me.
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere
3. The colours this year have all been saturated greens and blues, even before there was much green in the trees to be saturated. This lends an automatic nostalgia to everything. And this morning, as I was waiting in the blue and green morning for the record store to open so I could buy Ten New Songs, a young East Asian man approached me diffidently, map in hand, and asked in careful English if I knew where Markham St was. It's a block and a half from where we were standing, and I told him so, in equally careful English, and he thanked me and went on, leaving me smiling. There's a Korean restaurant on one side of that street and a language school on the other, and I guessed he was headed towards one or the other, and good luck to him. This sort of encounter is one reason why I don't dye my hair any more; and is one reason why I wear baseball caps with hanzi on them.