Monday, May 21, 2007

wrestling with Yabu

this week i got to wrestle again, for the first time in years. it felt amazing, like fulfilling a craving i had forgotten about.

for these moments i was absolutely in the present, in my body.

my mind was not wandering to faraway places, miles or years away. it did not intellectualize my perceptions, abstracting them into words or concepts. it was only there, existing, enjoying the space where the usual chasm (separating my body and mind) was not.

it was especially gratifying because here, in Japan, communication has often been frustrating, opaque. words hang in the air and dissolve with little effect. gestures help occasionally, but usually only entertain.

yet for several moments on the beach of Biwako, I achieved perfect communication with my Japanese friend -- profound communication that permeated the cores of who we are.

(special thanks to Catherine Meier for documenting our match, to Wada Kazashige at the Tobaya Inn, and to Yabu - the owner of Yabu's sports bar and 2-time Japan collegiate wrestling national champion)

media frenzy

This week we left Hikone one afternoon to hang out in Kyoto.

The people were friendly, and the city is amazing, but we felt like people saw us as just another group of (slightly annoying) gaijin (foreigner) after being minor celebrities for our foreignness in Hikone. There we seem to always cause a stir -- especially when passing elementary school groups, who shout out the words they know in English: “gaijin bye-bye”.

The attention feels nice since we are inept at the language, handicapped in communication.

Our yesterday was strangely a media bonanza -- we were all over the airwaves even if largely clueless about the message.

In the morning, Hikone Community Radio interviewed Satoru and I about our visit and projects. Then they had me do some promotional spots -- announcing the station taglines and show names in English.

Then in the afternoon, Ann and I gave free bike-taxi rides around Hikone Castle. Somehow all the local and some national media showed up, including coverage by the BBC (Biwako Broadcasting Company) for their evening program -- the most popular news show in Japan.

(click for video link)

Over dinner we watched me on the TV news, and Ann’s picture was in several newspapers this morning.

Hopefully the attention will draw more visitors to our exhibition -- and bring more attention to the people, small businesses, and organizations downtown.

Friday, May 11, 2007

the sounds of life here reflect a different texture of time.

they make me wonder

why we always have so much to do.

are we avoiding something, flooding fears of emptiness with indulgent distraction?

or with schemes and manifestoes?

we build reality up around us using formulas, words, and mortar

we practice history and read tradition to tell ourselves we understand the shape of things,

our desires.

but when apparent reality begins to crumble, when our contracts and intentions no longer make sense, when it becomes preposterous to maintain what we thought we knew about our selves, what are we left with?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

did you ever feel like wherever you look

all you see is your own loneliness?

eventually you find someone to talk to, someone who was there all along.

then realize that however bad things seem, they could be a lot worse.

and that even your pain is beautiful, in a way, when you don't feel so alone.

why big science?

i admit, i may have a thing for oversized sunglasses.

but it's more that i've been looking for answers to big questions, and keep coming up short.

Philosophy and Science pretend to have them, but their stories feel sort of flat.

they might be nowhere. maybe anywhere.
anyway, i'm pretty sure i won't find them in books.

if i discover a big science, it'll be unbound, paperless.