I went and saw Solaris the movie tonight. It was directed, et. al. by Steven Soderbergh whose work I am starting to admire. The first bits of his work I saw were the first two films of the QATSI triolgy. He also worked on the ubercool Ocean’s Eleven and Traffic.

Solaris is by no means an easy movie to understand. The book was pretty difficult to follow and I think it will re-enter my queue for reading.

Zen Garden
Zen Garden

Here, I’ll throw in a picture of a Zen Garden.

By this stage, I should be entering some pithy comments about life, the way we live, death and poo. I’m feeling really tired, so I’ll just focus on the more important aspects, like poo.

My friend Mary came to visit for 2 weeks when she was on her way back to Scotland. An important part of this story is to know that not all toilets here in Japan are the western style developed by Mr Thomas Crapper. They are in fact squat toilets. Now, the thing about the western style is that it is pretty hard to miss the target. You might make a smear, streak, skid mark or other stain on the way down with a number 2 but the bowl can be cleaned, eventually. But with the squat, if you miss then you really miss. Over the period of about 14 days she saw four toilets where people had missed. And not only missed, but then tried to kick it in, only to smudge the offending faecal matter around the floor. Maybe they were tyring to achieve an artistic statement, or maybe not.

I quite liked Solaris. After seeing Matrix Reloaded and all the rain we’ve been having one becomes quite philosophical about the nature of being. Everything starts building up. Reasons for doing things become nonsensical. I recently bought the Animatrix DVD here. Much like the books I read, everything is starting to get mashed together. I think my brain is going to explode. At least I won’t have to clean up the mess.

Another day another movie.

Each day I look forward to teaching. There is a core set of students I enjoy teaching, and when they don’t come, or are allocated to another teacher I feel there is a great conspiracy against me. Maybe it is my lot in life to be lonely and sad. That way, the universe achieves balance and so lets other people be happy. For me to be happy, someone else has to be sad.

Teaching English and learning Japanese each day is like playing with the cultural building blocks of intellectual life. My brain is re-wiring itself each time I learn a new grammatical structure, word or idiom. Words are being poured into my brain, and I’m sure old things are being squeezed out. Each morning on my pillow I expect find droplets of information that have leaked out my ears during the night. Maybe one day I’ll forget who I am because even that has been purged from my mind.

Life here is very transient. Gaijin come and go all the time. When I meet a Japanese person with whom I get along well, and speaks moderate English I discover that they are planning to go to Australia, New Zealand of America. Nothing seems permanent. Everything seems surreal.

I know I’ve dribbled on about some of these topics before, but I still feel there is something missing in all of this. Perhaps I had the meaning of it all, but it leaked out during the night and now I don’t know.

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