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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:42 am    Post subject: letters from... Reply with quote

from david, now in Kyoto:

Dear friends:
This is a group letter to give friends and family an update on life in
Japan and to wish everyone a crappy holiday. (By the way, in Japan, the
post office keeps the holiday cards until New Year's Day, and then sets
off in a mad rush to deliver them all in one day. Imagine the USPS doing

So far living in Japan with Yukie is is going so well, there really is
nothing to say on the home front other than it is going just perfectly, in
terms of being happy together. I was telling a friend the other day that I
feel like I won the Megabucks, and I didn't even have a ticket! We are
even finally close to visiting her parents in person during my break (a
dicey situation we have been postponing), but it may not happen.

I am working mostly at one small school run by an opinionated malaysian
man and his Japanese wife. They are (generally) very nice, and I know I
am lucky to have found it. I have about 20 students, from about 6 to
about 60, and one or maybe two pupils to a class (!!!!). I can dress
normally, can teach pretty much as a I like, and it is about 15 minutes
from my house. All this is much more than I could have asked for. There
was a lot of hand-wringing over whether I would have to cut my
beard...most schools require this, but in the end it has never been a
problem! In fact, I got to play Santa Claus at one school (see attached).
I (now) work five days a week, but only a few classes each day; my
schedule changes from week to week, and I am still doing a lot of
preparation, so if fills my time. I still have quite a bit to learn about
teaching ESL, and some nights I come home disappointed in my performance,
others quite pleased with myself. But overall, I am enjoying it very much.
I also have several private students, and am often asked by others if i
will teach them, but the hard part is making my erratic schedule match to

One thing I do miss tho, painfully so, is, naturally, contra dancing. For
almost 5 months this looked pretty grim, but in the last month we
stumbled upon a Japanese Irish music group,
no, a Step dancing and a Ceili
group, and an Irish pub. We havnt exlored these fully much yet though.
Actually we dropped by the pub in passing on Christmas Eve and a regular
told us that all the furnitings were imported at great expense from
Dublin, so it is very authentic. The plus side is that missing music has
motivated me to keep learning the recorder. During the summer it was one of my favorite treats to go by the river and play and bask and wade.

I also miss my friends and workmates in Portland very much. I started to
learn "shuwa", which is Japanese Sign Language, and there several were mad
rushes to be home Saturday night to catch the TV lessons on NHK. Also,
each day there is an interpreted version of the news, but I am not home at
that time. Now I have taped the shows, and I have the book that goes with

As to the other Japanese language, "nihongo", I still dont know a LOT of
Japanese, but every day I get a little better. But, and here is irony
for you, I feel like I am speaking Portuguese more often in Kyoto than
English. I've met more Brazilians in 6 months in Kyoto than I ever did in
Portland, so all that portuguese I learned as a child is finally coming in
useful. I have a brazilian student, and I may have more. Meanwhile, I
actually get few chances to talk fluent English...we have some friends up
the street who are professors...she is from North Carolina and he is
Japanese, and a few other English speaking acquaintances, but most
Japanese speak pretty basic English, and so I live in a somewhat surreal
world linguistically (Some days I think my English is deteriorating Wink ).

Actually, there is also a tibetan buddhist "group" here that is english
speakers, and I've gone a few times, but havent gotten to know many
people there yet...but I did meet the teacher, a Canadian, who was
interesting and friendly and welcoming. We have also become good friends
with an American singer who sings classical Japanese Joyou, a dissapearing
traditional Japanese song form, so well that the women in the audience are
all tears as they listen to her. Quite impressive.

Yukie and I and another friend teamed up and learned some Christmas songs with hopes of busking or caroling together, but it never worked out. But last night Yukie and I played at a christmas party with some friends, but I forgot all and as I don't sightread terribly well, it was a bit comical,
but quite in the spirit of things. Our goofiness led the way and soon
everyone was showing off their amateur talents.

So, that's the big picture. Here's a story. Friday night I went to a
certain coffee shop owned by this very quirky Japanese man, Toru, who I
have befriended. Well, a drunk shows up and eventually gets belligerent
and the police are called in. And this was the interesting thing. This
was the nicest police officer you can imagine. He was more of a butler,
white gloves included, than a policeman, quietly discussing things with
everyone involved, even gettting shoved roughly by the drunk and just
shrugging it off like it was a request for more tea. Not that there arent
nice police in the US, but the whole tone of the incident was so
non-authoritarian and civil that I was impressed. Anyway, the cop leads
the man outside and they bring him into the cruiser and they are there for
a long time, so I ask what's up, and they tell me they are bringing the
"cage". I'm a little shocked, but also thinking, aha, their true colors,
at last. So I say to my friend, "a cage, really?" and he laughs. "No, not
a CAGE, a 'Keiji'...detective", to figure out if they can actually arrest
him or not (ans:no).

I have had quite a few other adventures but too much to tell, so as a
closing I will give one link to the strangest thing I have found in japan:
the very odd TAKARAZUKA all women's troupe, an anti-noh of sorts:

I hope everyone is happy and healthy, and I welcome any communication from the outside world (sic)...cheers and happy holidays....david

be yourself, the real fictional character?
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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

from my saved, & unopened "cryptic spam" folder:
blue=sender, orange =message

Lanette Re: Time is now Thu Dec 28, 2006 21k
Magdalen Russell Re: Sure think it is time Wed Dec 27, 2006 21k
Catrin Riviera Re: insipi Wed Dec 27, 2006 10k
there: delicious Tue Dec 26, 2006 13k
Mr. amigo: Don't miss out on improving your performance! Mon Dec 25, 2006 2k
Myriam: Dont understand, hope u can help Sat Dec 23, 2006 21k
Evangelina: Where ru Wed Dec 20, 2006 21k
Roman Re: Dont understand, hope u can help Thu Dec 14, 2006 31k
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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i ran in to an old aquaintance today,
russ sergent
then, he was a mad poet,
today he was the new owner of
Yes Books,
i was looking for 'silverlock'
he wasn't sure if he had it,
the place is wild and full of everything,
he looked briefly and
that was that, not there,
and "what is fiction?"..blah blah
he showed me where to find him in
the web, i still have his old cassette tape,
be yourself, the real fictional character?
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Site Admin

Joined: 12 Nov 2005
Posts: 2277

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jeff

Did you look up Silverlock on Amazon?
Also have a look at:
Silverlock: Including the Silverlock Companion (Nesfa's Choice, 26)
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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks Leo,

i actually ordered it, from big-book-chain nobodys,
but cancelled and am going back
to see russ, Yes Books-portland, maine,
to trade a whole box of new age spirituality books
for cash, credit, silverlock, whatever,
i also have a very good paintng to show him,
"the poet"
i made it of my friend John O.
while he was detoxing from extensive
LSD use, he was just starting to
come around and write again, and posed for me,
with many breaks for fits of laughter...
but the short answer is,
i'm flat broke,
so am bartering, finding, stealing what i need
at this stage...
did get an offer for 30 days free kung fu lessons
yesterday from an accomplished instructor,
jim bouchard- "Black Belt Business"
also two bucks on the floor at walmart,
30 minutes free on the parking meter, state street,
right under the giant beech tree,
it all adds up
be yourself, the real fictional character?
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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

russ was late,
getting his emergency brake fixed,
he's new to the book business,
turns out he bought it
from the old buddhist
Pat Murphy, pat fell sick suddenly
and his family tried to liquidate
his collection,
Yes books has just about everything,
except silverlock, apparently,
but if Pat were there, he would
have pulled it magically out of somewhere,
probably his back pocket,
and this new location is great,
in the old days,
YES books was neighbors with
cafe NO,
No was the place to go for very high end jazz,
it's a travelling road show, now,
acts & audiences meeting in old churches mostly,
but those were the days, eveyone was smokin'
down in the old port,
Now pat's-YES-now russ' and nancy's,
is up in the "Arts District"
look out his front window to see
the Portland museum of art,
a Goya show right now in there...
an old market & a cheap noodle shop next door,
oh and the square, where the pigeon feeders
and gentle-bums hang out, you have to offer them
change or a cigarette, they ((can't)) ask anymore,
they ask with their eyes only,
and look suspiciously at anyone hanging out there
((who has something))
~lookin for change, and for smoke~
~the history of the world~
but anyway,
while waiting for russ
i found $200.00 (at least) in gift books,
he added up the stuff i was selling-$78.00
(good he'll make a profit,
the ken wilber 10 c.d.set alone cost me $110.00, shhh)
so i edited down my pile to $84.00 worth,
i tried to throw in my two bucks found
at walmart but he said, "78, 84, it's good"
something like that, in a nice real way,
then about to leave,
steve luttrell walks in,
he's editor in chief of
the cafe review,
so there we are, and suprised we all know each other,
and steve likes the painting too, i think,
"the poet"
and i tell them about deoxy-poets of chaos,
and they agree "it's a whole new world
out there"
but i'll send him the link,
you never know,
i know the in here & the out there
is borderless for him, them,
but publishing books
and running bookshops

"he said he never would own a book store"-nancy,
russ could not let it happen, because
pat was in a condition where he could not
be told his life was being liquidated,
it's a nice story, life story, world story,
and lastly,
i says to russ,
if you're dying, and can only make one call,
call me, we'll negotiate the price on Yes books,
and he actually laughs...
and i hear that old voice in that laugh,

but you need to
be yourself, the real fictional character?
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jeff j

Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 2822

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"WHAT is the WHAT "
-the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng-

by Dave Eggers
ISBN: 1-932416-64-1

inside front cover,
pasted notice:
"a gift of
The United Egg Producers
of Atlanta, Georgia"
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