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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

From the Desk of The soul of Japan. ( The only right leaning blog in Japan )

From the Desk of the soul of Japan.

Random stuff...

Another year is upon us, and it's time to reflect on current events within Japan, and the world. 

.... But first, I need meditation food....[ sigh ]....[ breathe in]....[ exhale ]....

 I must elevate my consciousness over baked mac-n-cheese drowned in 4 kinds of cheeses, a side of crispy fried shrimp,  and an icy tall glass of grape chu-hi!     In Japan, we have soul food, too, with a little Japanese soul.    


2016 has been a crazy year for us all.    My disappointments in relationships with both men and women, and self.  The state of the nation and more.   This has been the roughest year for me in a long time, but one that has been full of rewards and happy occasions.    I had once told myself that the bullshit that exists anywhere else in the world also exist right here in Japan.   The only difference is that here it's more of a cultural feature than an art form.   Here, Japanese people lie with sincerity,  in the states,  they lie with intent to take something from you, deliberately.    It takes a keen eye to pick up on a Japanese lie vs. a white lie.   I have been lied to by all manner of man and woman.   A smile is not a smile and a kiss is not a kiss for sure.  There's always a hidden agenda.   Somehow I have managed to stand on top of all that bullshit, enough to dust myself off of it!  


When I look out into the vast expanse of the urban sprawl, I am overcome with the daunting reality of age and decrepitude.  So many living corpses walking around with blank expressions on their faces who have no retirement to look forward to.  I don't care about them anymore.  I have my own ass to save.   The only warmth is coming from my paper cup of coffee in the mornings.


Single motherhood for so many returnee daughters from failed marriages has skyrocketed in recent years, along with a man baby crisis of adults who refuse to leave home to start their own lives.  It's  too scary of a thought for salaried men to think about, even for a reasonable retirement and age.    I am one of them but without all that baggage.



We run around chasing paper money and metallic coins to substantiate our lives.     We have to drink strong alcohol in order to talk about the pension problems and the sexless relationships here;  I can see why some people would rather throw themselves in front of a speeding train and inconvenience the lives of millions of commuters nationwide.  Japan definitely needs to take a look at how to fix the pension scheme instead of burdening the young people.  Instead, the government has already approved a Bill that is going to build prisons for the elderly who are now committing crimes like petty theft at grocery stores.   Their children simply do not want the burden of caring for the elderly financially, so the elderly turn to criminal acts to survive.    They are probably better off in jail anyways since they can't drive and are more dangerous on the road than in grocery stores. 



I was put up for 3 nights in a nice room, free of charge.   Clean sheets and rugs.  First thing I did was heat some water to make tea and breathe normally after toting luggage all over the place.     Japanese hospitality is still legendary and so is the attention to detail, at least this remains the same.     You remember what if felt like to sit in a clean hotel with a nice view and a hot cup of Japanese tea?  I know I do.  


On the way down from Tokyo I had a pale ale brewed from water sourced somewhere around Mount Fuji with some horse mackerel.  The mountain itself used to be revered as a god for thousands of years, the very iconic image of Japan.   Now, a veritable wasteland of mountain junkies with white penis fever seeking the next best thrill with selfie sticks in toe.  Thank you UNESCO.   The ale was cold and crisp and had a nice flavor profile with a good balance.   The horse mackerel has a deep vinegar and fishy and is a local specialty in Kanagawa Prefecture.    Soy sauce is also localized.    



There is free wi-fi onboard all Shinkansen trains, but only if you already have a router.   Japan's rapid transit network is wide ranging and beautiful.   We can go anywhere here and fast, unfortunately, the system itself is debt ridden like the Tokyo to Hokkaido route; working families simply cannot afford to pay to ride.   Not enough commuters are spending money to go to Hokkaido.   This problem is attributed to ticket prices and poor marketing schemes.    The virtues of the country are largely unknown by a large swath of Japanese, and this too is another reason the travel industry is suffering.   They simply do not teach enough of the virtues and beauty of Japan to their youngsters, and as a consequence, when they grow up they only want to travel overseas because of clever marketing schemes that appeal to internationalism.
( chase your dreams overseas in a foreign and exotic land).



I try to make sense of it all, too, this is one of many reasons why I stay connected with the folks that grow, produce, and sell agricultural products, including Japanese alcohol.    TPP fell through and President elect- Trump has another agenda in place, one that is center focused on America, not Japan.   This is good for Japanese farmers and will allow agro to rebuild from within the country in order to ensure a better and more sustainable future for generations of Japanese, and me and the Jukujo : )

The warm wombli(ness) of a mineral spring in the morning is heaven.    Liquid connubial bliss of fermented rice brew slept in god water and then there's the morning fresh chill of breeze in the nostrils, and I can pick up evergreen, spearmint, and pine and warm wood from the tub and I can hear a bird sing.   I think this is Japan.  


At times I wonder where the "old guard" has gone?  The old heads who worshipped at the feet of Mishima Yukio....

In the picture above is a "Kan - do - ko" or traditional Japanese sake warmer.   You preheat petrified wood until it glows orange and place them inside the metallic box.   Fill the sake warmer with water and place your sake container in the water.   The appeal here is slow warming sake and slow cooked bacon.   Freshly cut citrus fruit with insides removed and shaped into a cup.   Pour hot sake in and drink.   I am now an "old guard" or at least what is left of it.   


When president-elect Trump assumes the reigns of power, the world will be holding its breath.    I love this mango infused egg custard with a deep and rich taste as I reflect.   Long gone now are the days when you had sissy presidents who stood for nothing and who had no principle, and who swore on MLKs Bible, now the U.S. has a  president who has balls and all of a sudden the world feels secure again.   At least for Japanese they have the legal backing to revise the outdated constitution and legitimize their military arm.   According to the military law if a Japanese soldier dies in combat his family will receive 98 million yen!   Amazing.   


I love the ice cold banana chu-hi and the sweet chili and mayo yakitori in the Hancho District.    I had reconnected with a few negro sailors and am dumbfounded at the level of devotion they have with "old - Americana."    I see the cheeseburger and hot dog stands, very little in terms of old Yokosuka.   By the way, Yokosuka is a very beautiful town and has been for centuries until the U.S. established a base there.   A lot of tourist pass up Yokosuka and head to Miura Peninsula instead and I don't blame them.  Japanese women in search of larger and harder penises loiter around Yokosuka often times to get picked up and impregnated like in the case of special Kay - 3 kids and 3 different fathers.   

I'm usually too lazy to stay up passed midnight so I cannot enjoy the nightlife there, but whenever I am there I help myself to chu-hi and skewered bird.   

Moving passed Yokosuka and down to Kyoto, my eyes were blessed with temples and fall foliage.   The timing couldn't have been better.  I was sent to teach a course in Nagoya right about at the same time leaves in Kyoto began to turn.    Leaf peeping represents the season of change.   The admiration of fall foliage and Japanese temple viewing go hand in hand, along with the tea and cool temps.   



Do you ever take notice of the smell of "Igusa?"  I - Gu - Sa.   

Japanese tatami is made from Igusa, a type of grass that has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb to treat stress and fatigue.   Here in Kyoto you can experience the aromatics of real tatami made from 100% real Igusa.  The reason for pointing this out is because 70% of tatami is imported from China and is treated with chemical fertilizers.   This kills the natural chemicals found in Tatami.   Every garden in Kyoto has a house attached and these houses have real tatami.



One of my favorite train route maps by Jorudan and can be downloaded from the iTunes store.   I use this to get around with.


So that is a brief update on the situation with sofJ  ( son of a Jukujo).   In conclusion...

Stand on top of the bullshit, dust yourself off, and look down on the pile of lessons that you learnt.

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