the year of the rabbit
2011 is the Year of the Rabbit and I ushered in the New Year by watching Kohaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦) down at the Hartland with a few friends, downing quite a bit of champagne and gold-flecked nihonshu at midnight, and then belting out a very raspy karaoke rendition of “I Am the Walrus” before heading home. In addition to Perfume’s amazingly retro-mod French-ish outfits I think my favorite parts of this year’s Kohaku involved the abundance of bunny costumes (from furry full-body numbers to skimpy Playboy-type reveals), the ridiculously over-the-top snowstorm that pelted Saburo Kitajima (Sabu-chan) during his annual enka number, and the giant mechanical crane ridden on by Kobayashi Sachiko during her portion of the show.
Since it’s the end of one year and the beginning of another, I thought I would toss out a few choice items I jotted down last year in the notebook that I always carry with me:
2 January, 2010 — A sign for a business in Sakai, seen from the car: “ANN — avangarde neo narrative.”
31 January, 2010 — While thinking about the political and religious differences between the stance of Winthrop and the stance of Roger Williams re Native Americans got so wrapped up I almost peed in my bathroom trashcan instead of the toilet. That’s comedy.
22 March, 2010 — Two things I wrote down during Jerome Rothenberg’s JIPS-sponsored poetry reading in Kyoto. I’m not sure whether or not these are verbatim quotes, paraphrases, or my own writings based on what Rothenberg was saying.
That which is untranslatable is like that which is lost when a rhyming poem is translated into a language in which it is impossible to rhyme. That is the thing that floats.
You know you’ve reached an advanced stage of capitalism when being rich enough to become fat has become transformed into being rich enough to become thin.
16 May, 2010 — My final view of Izumo as the airplane turns toward Osaka is of a small island just off the coast, wooded and shaped exactly like a butterfly.
18 June, 2010 — My favorite word in Japanese is 積ん読 (tsundoku), which basically means “book hoarding.”
7 July, 2010 — I run into a large group of students who are all members of the same club and are all wearing matching shirts that say “Combination Courtesy Stoic.” I have no idea what that could possibly mean.
23 August, 2010 — A tiny bit of conversation with a random kid at a restaurant in the countryside: “The ghost eats the demon.” “Really? What do demons taste like?” “They taste like poo. And the ghost has no flavor, but sometimes he shows his weewee.”
26 September, 2010 — I have a dream in which PJ Harvey is playing guitar wildly on the lawn in front of my house.
And here’s one from an advertisement that I saw in Fukuyama just the other day — my new motto for 2011:
Time is brain.
Filed under: daily life, drinking, Japan, Kansai, literature, personal, poetics, poetry, scraps and bones, sweet story of Trout Monroe, television | 12 Comments
Tags: 紅白歌合戦, diary, Jerome Rothenberg, journal, Kokaku Uta Gassen, new year, New Year's Eve, notebook, notes, quotes, Year of the Rabbit