August 27, 2015

More Summer Scenes

“It all depends on your perspective.”
Our in-laws sent a bunch of home-grown veggies to us in the mail. This potato sat on our kitchen sink counter for a few days. After a few days I had the temerity to ask Naomi “who sent us the potato shaped like an ass?”

It’s a heart, a***ole, and it’s from my mom,” she replied.
I guess I failed those Rorschach tests in elementary school, too.

Lady E’s imagination is alarming at times
Elena spent some time on an art project at school just before the summer holidays began.
This is a pen holder. It shows just enough lunatic genius that I feel I must share it with the world. When she proudly presented it to me as a gift – because I really do like her chaotic use of color – the first thing that came to mind was paraphrasing an old Stephen King novel: that girl, at times, “is crazier than a shithouse rat.” But they say the same thing about many artists. I like her unbridled, enthusiastic art.

I bought a little propane gas BBQ (the grill is about 40 cm x 30 cm) with the cute name “California Patio BBQ.” Its size is scaled to match our modest front yard. And believe me, we are lucky to have this much space in cramped Yokohama/Tokyo! I did a little Rube Goldberg tinkering and affixed the gas grill on top of our old charcoal BBQ underbody. And it does very nicely, adding just a bit more flavor to our summer evenings.

Some views on summer festivals from E. and M.

August 22, 2015

Multiple Matsuri Madness Part II

Geriatric Dancing Terminator
Remember the cheesy David Lee Roth EP from the 1980s called “Crazy from the Heat”? It’s a perfect metaphor symbolizing our leisure time of late, namely uncomplicated frivolity in the silly season.

For example, a side story from the previous “Part I” post. I’ll title this the “Geriatric Dancing Terminator.” Here’s what happened. The group of kids that went onstage just prior to Naomi and E. & M's group got a surprise bonus: they ended up dancing with a very, very intoxicated older gent wearing...err…non-traditional summer festival clothing.
When the group of kids and moms filed on to the stage, the drums and music begins, and the Geriatric Dancing Terminator shambles up the steps…then furtively begins to sway around the stage, feeling the music take hold, feeling the funk, when the power of the drumbeat takes over and the animal rhythms kick in. This guy was Rock and Roll. He was in touch with his inner Hendrix, just letting his Freak Flag fly. Because was older – clearly a respected member of the community – nobody said anything nor gently interfered, and he kept on channeling Stanley Kubrick. So he did his unique Ramble On. When the music was over, the dancers descended the wooden staircase, and a craggy, satisfied smile appeared on his face.

I saw my own future. Sometimes you gotta say “WTF.”

Goldfish & Life & Death
The following weekend meant visiting another nearby neighborhood’s summer festival. This particular matsuri is held at a community center with a small adjacent creek deliberately filled with goldfish for the kids to catch and take home. It amounts to organized mass murder of the fish.

As they have done over the past three summers, the Rising Daughters tirelessly hunted down and captured a squad of goldfish and some squiggly-brown-thingies that we dutifully took home in plastic bags to acclimate to our small aquarium. As has happened the past three summers, by late evening the fish started dying off and sinking to the bottom or floating to the top of the water. The difference this year was E. and M. started to grasp the pattern: bring home goldfish, put in mini-aquarium = they all die. So we are now forcing the girls to bury the departed fish in our humble front yard so they grasp the finality of their choice to bring the hapless fish home. It’s all part of our Parental Master Plan, imparting lessons on choices we make, life and death. Heavy shit, I know. Alas, that broad plan is not working all that well, but the stop of the annual fish massacre is a start. I still think Marina has a streak of Robespierre in her.
The next day, there were a few survivors from the original 15 fish. Before we left to visit longtime friend JK and old friends from Canada, the McK's, who were visiting him in Japan, we convinced E. and M. to let the remaining fish go free. The girls agreed, and we let them go in the creek where they were originally captured.
So there may be some budding “actions have consequences” and a sprig of “development of a conscience” happening in the Rising Daughters after all.