[The American Years]

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Greetings from Japan, where the denominations of paper money are slightly different sizes, for the benefit of blind people. Smart!

In late June our sea shipment arrived, so we have FURNITURE now! Also included was my new wide angle lens, which makes our furnished home look cavernous. It's comfortable, but not as huge as it seems here.

Veronica on the last day of school.

There are products over here not available in the states. No surprises there. But I recently was made aware of the Japanese enjoyment of eye drops. Very powerful eye drops.
Zane has allergies. And they are worse over here, especially if we ride the subway. I think it’s the mold in the tunnels. We had some soothing eye drops that I brought from the states, and when we were getting low, I went shopping for some local variety. I knew about the powerful eye drops over here, so I made sure to avoid packaging which suggested power or activity. I looked for packaging suggesting comfort and soothing.
The ones I found were from Visine, trusted brand. They said ‘cool’ something-something on the package. Sounds nice and soothing. Well, I tested them on myself before giving them to Zane. Turns out the ‘cool’ described in the packaging is like the cool sensation of mouthwash. Like putting minty fresh Listerine in your eyes. Actually it was only one eye. I stopped there. My testing was complete. I knew enough to not give this to anyone, unless I can put it in a spray bottle and use it like mace.


These picutres are from our visit to Toyota City’s Kuragaike park. We went for our Father’s Day outing. It was lovely. If you know me, you know that I enjoy a lovely paddle on the water. Kayak, inner tube, canoe, I like it all. So when I saw rowboats for rent, I was happy. Kathleen was also happy. Happy to stay ashore and take pictures.

Later in our voyage, the oars were handed over to the kids to give their dad a nice Father’s Day trip around the lake. I didn’t know it at the time, but to look at our vessel, it appears that our cargo is a bit unbalanced with me in the rear of the boat. Our Father’s Day rowboat nearly went the way of Melvilles’ Pequod. Seems like our weight is unbalanced toward the aft. Yes, it might be that the boat has a fat aft aboard, indeed.

This badger or hedgehog or whatever has to be addressed. I can no longer withhold comment. The little guy is everywhere. Especially near the front doors of restaurants. But often also outside the front doors of private homes. In our neighborhood about one house in 5 has him gracing the front porch. He is (I’ve heard) a symbol of hospitality and good luck.

I really like him, mostly because of his… let’s call it immodesty. He lets it all hang out, literally. This little version of him was part of my Father’s Day gift from Kathleen. The more common version of him is about 18 inches tall and standing up.

Here’s one in Kyoto. But he’s everywhere. As you can see, he stands very stably, supported by two big feet and two big… Yes, his very personal parcel is very large, and very evident, and resting on the ground as he stands. And to the Japanese, this means hospitality and good fortune? OK. Well, in colonial American architecture the image of a pineapple was the symbol that hospitality is found within. Does that make any better sense? Neither of them make any sense, but at least the pineapple wouldn’t benefit from a nice pair of pants.

Maybe it works like this. The badger means that there are nice people inside. People so nice that even a naked badger with an embarrassing case of elephantitis is welcome.

So we’ve named him. I call him “Sacky the Badger”. If anyone wants one, please let me know. We can start a new trend in America of having anatomically exaggerated animals on your front porches.


If you believe everything you read, better not read - Japanese Proverb.

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