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Dr Who by Science Museum London used under creative commons licence
Time takes a cigarette
Puts it in your mouth
David Bowie, Rock ‘n' Roll Suicide
Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river that sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that tears me apart, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
Jorge Luis Borges, A New Refutation of Time
Did I ever make a Time Machine, or a model of a Time Machine? Or is it all only a dream? They say life is a dream, a precious poor dream at times - but I can't stand another that won't fit. It's madness. And where did the dream come from?
The Time Machine, written by H G Wells
We all have our time machines, don't we. Those that take us back - are memories. And those that carry us forward - are dreams.
The Time Machine, directed by Simon Wells
My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.
Life on Mars
I saw Chonmage Pudding (in Japanese Chonmage Purin ちょんまげぷりん) a few days ago. It's a romantic comedy. But it's also a time travel movie - in Japan they say time slip. A samurai from the Edo period somehow travels forward in time to the present.
Often a star from the music and entertainment world - so not primarily an actor - will be i
seeing double - is it a tiebar or is it a pencil? by keiko used with permission
I am the magnificent, baby
Double-U oh oh oh oh
Phil and Ansel Collins, Double Barrel
Comes over one an absolute necessity to move. And what is more, to move in some particular direction. A double necessity then: to get on the move, and to know whither.
D H Lawrence, Sea and Sardinia
We are double-edged blades, and every time we whet our virtue the return stroke straps our vice. Where is the skilful swordsman who can give clean wounds, and not rip up his work with the other edge?
Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
There are a lot of loan words in Japanese. Some are very interesting and clever. サボる - saboru - is sabotage with a Japanese verb ending. It means to cut class or work. フライング - furaingu - comes from flying start. It came from a false start in athletics but now it's used for anything that starts off too early.
And W. W is the letter double-U of course. So W is used as a very neat shorthand for double. Two. Or two times. You often see it in advertising copy. So on packaging W means double volume or double thickness.
The photo above is a tiebar that doubles as a mechanical pencil. Normally you wouldn't be able to see the pencil tip because it would be completely retracted and also it would be clipped behind the shirt. A mechanical pencil in Japanese is always
On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit.' As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racing with the wind
Steppenwolf, Born to be Wild
No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have a speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will.
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still
Robert Frost, The Master Speed
If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.
I watched Senna recently. It's a 2010 documentary movie about Ayrton Senna, the brilliant Brazilian Formula One racing driver. By chance it was just about the anniversary of his death. He died on 1 May 1994 aged 34. It's a moving film. There is a shot of three Japanese F1 announcers breaking down in tears as they gave the news of his death.
Something about Ayrton Senna struck a chord in Japan. He was one of the most popular foreign athletes ever. He was
"Well, I did jus' what the book said to do. Look at it. It says: Take an egg. Conceal it in the pocket. Well, I took an egg an' I concealed it in the pocket. Seems to me," he said bitterly, "seems to me this book isn't Things a Boy Can Do. It's Things a Boy Can't Do."
More William by Richmal Crompton
two hours later
you know where I was found
smokin' in the boys room
stand on my head and say
I was just a boy
giving it all away
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
this is the dawning of the rest of our lives
this is our lives on holiday
Some martial artists don't like holidays. It's just less time to train. In Japan there are three long holidays. There is the bon holiday in August when Japanese people visit their family graves. There are holidays for the new year. And there is golden week.
Golden Week is four public holidays at the end of April and the beginning of May. The name wasn't given by ordinary people happy about a "golden week" of holidays. It was a name given by a movie company executive happy about all the tickets sold. Anyway the name stuck. Japanese love abbreviations and it is often shortened to GW.
Before golden week even starts the Aikikai hombu dojo in Tokyo cancels the last class on 26 April. It's the anniversary of the death of the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. Instead of aikido t
In politics stupidity is not a handicap
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers
Dick the butcher's manifesto
King Henry VI (Act IV, Scene II) by William Shakespeare
There are elections in Japan on Sunday. Again. The election trucks are out every day. They are small vans with speakers on the top. The campaign workers and the candidates wear white gloves and wave and smile. THEY LOUDLY AND POLITELY REPEAT THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE. THEY LOUDLY AND POLITELY REPEAT THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE. THEY LOUDLY AND POLITELY REPEAT THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE. Really that's what it's like. All day long. One truck passes. Then another. From morning to evening. I don't get to vote.
We need altruistic, dynamic and capable leaders in sports politics as well as national politics. But we get people with their own agendas and scandals. Like João Havelange. Sepp Blatter. Juan Antonio Samaranch. Bernard Ecclestone. Max Mosley.
Years ago I went to organization meetings. I don't remember any interesting discussions. I always wondered why we didn't just train together instead. It would have been more fun. And it would probably have been more useful.
the trees blossom
the petals scatter
In my province this is called a cherry blossom moon
The Bitter Tea of General Yen directed by Frank Capra
If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act
It's the middle of April now. There has been a pale moon in the sky over Tokyo in the afternoons this week. There was a little rain last weekend and some windy days and the cherry blossoms are disappearing fast. But weeping cherry trees - shidare zakura - often bloom late and the blossoms are still full and beautiful.
The rhythm of nature and the seasons is very important in Japan. People set aside a time to look at the cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom viewing is called hanami. Hanami was mentioned in the eleventh century in the world's first modern novel, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. Still today families and groups sit under the blanket of blossoms with lunchboxes and perhaps beer or sake. Hanami can be in the day or after dark.
The cherry blossom represents the intensity and the impermanence of life. The blossoms are beautiful, and then they blow away in the wind. Nothing is left. Mujou - impermanence - has a sadder resonance this year in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.
Wikipedia articles on sakura, hanami, the poignancy ...More
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
T S Eliot, The Wasteland
In the middle of all the uncertainty about Fukushima and nuclear dangers and radioactive food and water life goes on. Every April in Japan new students start schools and colleges and new employees put on dark suits and start their new jobs. Entrance ceremonies will be subdued this year. Some industries will be severely affected. But reconstruction and rebuilding will continue for years providing jobs and economic stimulus.
In budo we talk about beginner's mind, shoshin or shoshin no shin, 初心 or 初心の心. Beginner's heart is a good translation. It means always to keep the feeling of when we started. We didn't think we could do things then. And we didn't do things routinely.
A beginner is full of energy and enthusiasm. Those first months were thrilling. That excitement is a feeling we should try to keep for ever.
March is the traditional time for graduation ceremonies in Japan. But in 2011 after the devastation of the Tohoku earthquake many ceremonies were cancelled to save electricity.
At university graduation ceremonies in Japan men normally wear suits. Women can wear suits but kimono and hakama are traditional. The hakama are not split like a martial arts hakama. The length of the kimono is adjusted by a fold at the waist. Long trailing furisode sleeves are worn by unmarried women. Women normally wear white tabi split-toe socks and formal zori sandals with kimono. But for a few years many young women have been wearing ankle boots together with hakama. That gives a nostalgic feeling of the Taisho era (1912-1926) and period novels and movies like Botchan or Sorekara by Soseki Natsume.
2011's women graduates will never get to wear hakama.
Some of the latest stories and information from Japan and one more way you can help. You can buy a print from flickr. You bid on it and when you win you make the donation to charity and the photographer sends you the print.
Here is another great way to help the victims of the earthquake. You can get Songs for Japan for $9.99. All the money goes to the Japanese Red Cross. 38 tracks by Bon Jovi, Dylan, Eminem, Pink, Sade, Springsteen, Sting… Yoko Ono donated Imagine by John Lennon. I have always liked Yoko Ono since a friend of mine told me about writing to her when he was a boy. It was just to say he was so sorry about John's death. Yoko Ono wrote back personally. So check out her site for the details or just go to itunes. And here are more background links.