Monday, January 1, 2018

Valor and Loyalty

May all of you have a very happy, healthy, and especially prosperous New Year!

This is--or soon will be, if you follow the traditional oriental calendar--the Year of the Dog. Specifically, this will be the year of the Earth Dog, when the Dog is said to be influenced by the element of earth. I'm not a believer in astrology, whether Eastern or Western, but the association of the Dog with courage, and with loyalty, is a good match for my hopes for the coming year.

The times in which we currently find ourselves require courage and valor, and persistent--but clear-headed and objective--loyalty to our beliefs and principles are needed now more than ever.

I hope that both your and my relatives, friends, and loved ones find prosperity and happiness in 2018. May it be filled with good fortune and excitement every day.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my family, friends, and any visitors to this blog who remain persistent enough to check in occasionally and see whether I've made another of my increasingly rare posts.

I haven't entirely abandoned the blog, but I have become quite busy with numerous other things, and have had insufficient motivation for a while now. That might change in the coming year, but I'm not much on making New Year resolutions.

In any case, whether you celebrate Christmas or some other holiday, may the season be a joyful one for you, and may next year bring much happiness to us all.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Closing Time

Friday evening, and I just learned of the passing of Leonard Cohen, a great poet and songwriter (and singer, in my opinion, at least).

Rather unusually for me these days, after getting in after midnight last night...well, this morning, actually... following a late session at a yakitori place, I decided to listen to/watch some old rock and blues performances on YouTube. After succumbing many times to the temptation of "just one more" link to Clapton, or Knopfler, or Beck, or many others, while sipping more whisky than was entirely wise on a weekday, I finally gave in as it started getting light outside.

Turning in at six and getting up at eight is not as easily done since I became middle aged: these reminders that I'm not 18 anymore are truly annoying. Nevertheless, it seemed fitting to end the session with Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and then Closing Time, and a silent toast to Mr. Cohen with the last of the whisky before going to sleep.

I didn't know 12 hours ago that it was a "goodbye" toast as well as the usual "thank you for the pleasure you've provided me, and the thoughts you've provoked, over the years" toast.

Cheers, Mr. Cohen, and thanks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I am extremely disappointed to see what my fellow American citizens--a sufficient number of them, anyway--have seen fit to elect as their president. 

I hope that my expectations of even darker days for the United States and for the rest of the world are overly pessimistic, so for once I am eager to be proved wrong. 

I am not at all sanguine, however.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tempus Fugit

As of today I've been working for a year at my regular editing job with Honda Staffing Services.

The job is basically every weekday afternoon, and so far it has been a good one. The work itself is interesting, the office is quiet, comfortable, and conveniently located, and my colleagues are all friendly and helpful.

Thus it was good news when, after our return from the Golden Week holidays, the boss took me aside and informed me that I can expect a new one-year contract soon. Apparently they're as satisfied with me as I am with them.

I continue to do freelance work of various kinds, but it's nice to have a regular, reliable source of work (and income). I'm looking forward to the next year, and probably several years thereafter.

Time flies, though: it certainly doesn't feel as if an entire year has gone by since I started working at Honda.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Now you see me

The typhoon that blew through Japan south and west of Kanto seems to have taken the last of the rainy season with it. It has been hot and humid, as one expects from summer weather here, and the local disaster prevention sections of the city offices have returned to broadcasting warnings about avoiding heat stroke.

A couple of weeks ago, though, the rainy season was still with us, and was complicated by interactions with a couple of typhoons. My part of Kanto managed to escape most of the really dangerous downpours that caused flooding and landslide damage elsewhere, but there were plenty of days with very robust rainfall and terrible visibility for drivers.

Just before dawn on one of those days, when it was light but the sun hadn't quite risen, I was driving to work, paying my usual careful attention to drivers, cyclists,  and pedestrians around me. One older guy on a motor scooter almost escaped my vigilant eye, though, as he came up to--illegally--pass me in the narrow space left in the lane between my car and the curb. That's not unusual by any means, but I usually see them coming earlier.  This guy was on a gray bike, wearing full rain gear, including  the hood of his parka pulled over his helmet.

It was raining pretty hard, and as I've done a lot of motorcycle and scooter riding in wet weather, I certainly applaud his decision to dress for the weather. Choosing rain gear in a shades-of-gray urban camouflage pattern, and riding his gray bike, though, may not have been the wisest course unless he actually wanted to be nearly invisible.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Long distance rock

A magnitude 8.5, Shindo 5+ earthquake this evening with an epicenter in Ogasawara was strong enough (Shindo 4 to 5-) in northern Saitama to motivate me to gather my passport and wallet, and prepare to grab my emergency kit if needed. It was fairly long, too, allowing plenty of time for reflection.

That wouldn't ordinarily be remarkable in quake-prone Japan, except that Ogasawara is over 1000 kilometers from here.

Coming after a quake early this morning, and after some other quakes--including one with an epicenter about 20 kilometers from here--and volcanic eruptions lately, I'm a bit concerned that there may be a much more substantial and damaging one on its way.

I haven't forgotten the 3/11 disaster, and even this San Francisco native and long-time Japan resident finds his equanimity slipping a bit.