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.


12 Responses to “the year of the rabbit”

  1. 1 sky

    Indeed, Life is a Brain.

    What a great list of time-shards. I feel inspired to do the same, now…

    • 2 Trane DeVore

      I actually got the quote wrong — the advertisement actually said “Time is Brain.” For some kind of neurology clinic. I took a shot and I’ll upload it one of these days.

      As for the time-shards, I’d love to see what yours would look like.

  2. “Combination Courtesy Stoic”

    I’m guessing they translated the Japanese word-for-word into English.

    And guessing that the original Japanese was something like 協力・丁寧・and… Oh, I see your point.

    Maybe “One for all and all for one”?

    • 4 Trane DeVore

      I’m pretty sure that you’re right about the word-for-word translation. I’d never seen any club wearing shirts with this tagline before on campus, and I haven’t seen them since, so I imagine it was a one-off kind of thing. My guess is that the shirt belonged to one of the many ‘volunteer’ clubs on campus, and they were trying to convey something like “courteous cooperation and self-sacrifice” or something like that. In any case, you’ve got to love a phrase like that.

  3. I had a dream about PJ Harvey last night, but I can’t remember what she was doing. Although I can tell you that I used to know a guy who drummed with her before she was famous on the Yeovil scene (If you have ever been to Yeovil, you will realise just how weird that idea is – my dad played for the local football team – the one that used to have a sloping pitch).

    Before she was PJ, she played on a seven inch single called ‘Baby in a Plastic Bag”. It was cool, but probably not as cool as you are imagining.

    • 6 Trane DeVore

      Now whenever I picture PJ Harvey I’m going to have the image of her wearing the white dress she wears on the cover of White Chalk while frantically running up the Yeovil pitch with the ball at her feet. Have you heard White Chalk? I think it’s brilliant.

      • Is that the piano one? I’m catching up with her albums from the start, very slowly… I like that really raw old stuff (which isn’t really what I like, usually)

      • 8 Trane DeVore

        That is, indeed, the piano one. Other than White Chalk, my two favorite albums are Rid of Me and To Bring You My Love. Many people hate Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, and I have to admit that I disliked it too at first, but after several listens it really started to grow on me. Still, it’s more of a poppy ‘listen to it while cooking dinner’ album than the others, which are more like ‘you will listen to this now’ type of albums. Someday people aren’t going to know what I’m talking about anymore when I use the word ‘album.’

    • 10 Trane DeVore

      That. Wasn’t what I expected. At all. “Baby in a Plastic Bag” sounds so hard, and that song was anything but hard.

  4. I know. I’m kind of sad I shared it. I’m sure the song you imagined was way cooler.

    • 12 Trane DeVore

      The song that I had imagined will always live on as a memory in my heart.

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