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Once too meeting by the Seine
The waters a moving floor of stars,
He had vanished when I reached the door,
But there on the pavement burning
Lay one of his familiar black cigars.
from Je es un autre, by Lawrence Durrell
I keep coming back to the idea of mask and truth. Someone makes a thoughtful comment and the train goes on to yet another station.
I started the first mask article by talking about the Tiger Mask manga. That was a comic about a sports hero. There is another kind of manga called shojo manga ostensibly aimed at younger women. The story is usually much more sophisticated than a simple sports story. There is one famous manga called The Glass Mask (Garasu no Kamen). It's about a young woman who wants to become an actress. With the help of a mentor she develops her own method acting and gradually becomes an accomplished actress. The glass mask is the fragile mask of an actor. If it breaks it reveals the actor's real face and real feelings.
As well as your face another part of your identity is your name. I used to get my hair cut by a Japanese guy who had lived in London. He liked speaking English. When I first called up I gave my full name but somehow it got mixed up and when I arrived the stylist called me Matthew. I corrected him but it happened the next time too. So after a couple of times I gave up correcting him and just accepted it. And so once every few weeks I became Matthew. It felt very freeing! In Japan in the past it was not uncommon to change your name - sometimes just slightly - at different phases of your life. There are also pen names and stage names and professional names. My first aikido teacher used different variations of his name and so did Morihei Ueshiba the founder of aikido. In martial arts the head of a school often has a special name. O Sensei, or great teacher, might sound like hyperbole to people who don't do aikido.
In Japan 3rd February is the last day of winter. It used to be the last day of the year. It's called setsubun. People throw beans and shout a traditional shout. Sometimes someone even wears a devil's mask. So we come full circle. Back to the mask.