In the pre-war era when itinerant home-remedy salesmen still wandered the country, they had a traditional patter for selling a potion that was supposed to be particularly effective in treating burns and cuts. A toad with four legs in front and six behind would be placed in a box with mirrors lining the four walls. The toad, amazed at its own appearance from every angle, would break into an oily sweat. This sweat would be collected and simmered for 3,721 days while being stirred with a willow branch. The result was the marvelous potion.When writing about myself, I feel something like that toad in the box.
Yes,” I continued, “I discovered this model recently and her style never fails to be mathematically perfect. She seems to come by it naturally. As if she were born resonant. I notice Japanese models tend to do this. Like I said, they seem to have resonance somewhere deep in their culture. But Yuri Nakagawa, she’s the best I’ve ever seen. The best model, with the most powerful resonance. I need her to probe deeper into this profound mathematical instinct, which I call resonance.
Whereas, in the west, individuality and drive are considered positive qualities, they are not seen the same way, in Japan. In that country, if you are too much of a rugged individualist, it might actually indicate that you are a weak, unreliable character and that you are selfish, in a childish, willful kind of way.
The Japanese have two words: “uchi” meaning inside and “soto” meaning outside. Uchi refers to their close friends, the people in their inner circle. Soto refers to anyone who is outside that circle. And how they relate and communicate to the two are drastically different. To the soto, they are still polite and they might be outgoing, on the surface, but they will keep them far away, until they are considered considerate and trustworthy enough to slip their way into the uchi category. Once you are uchi, the Japanese version of friendship is entire universes beyond the average American friendship! Uchi friends are for life. Uchi friends represent a sacred duty. A Japanese friend, who has become an uchi friend, is the one who will come to your aid, in your time of need, when all your western “friends” have turned their back and walked away.
In our modern world, we look unkindly on mistakes and imperfection. But this is far from the samurai ideal. Mistakes are part of the learning process and if you haven’t made them then you are, indeed, dangerous because it means you have never learned anything. Mistakes, to a samurai, are the proof of your learning.
Being a samurai is all about selfless service and if the lord abuses the servant, it is no longer a situation of service; it becomes the situation of a victim. It is never acceptable for a samurai to be a victim. It is never acceptable to allow a lord to abuse you or rob you of your dignity. In such a situation, it is acceptable to walk away.
Constant love despite almost impossible anti-clamix towards this place of the rising sun…
Why has pachinko swept Japan? It can hardly be the excitement of gambling, since the risks and rewards are so small. During the hours spent in front of a pachinko machine, there is an almost total lack of stimulation other than the occasional rush of ball bearings. There is no thought, no movement; you have no control over the flow of balls, apart from holding a little lever which shoots them up to the top of the machine; you sit there enveloped in a cloud of heavy cigarette smoke, semi-dazed by the racket of millions of ball bearings falling through machines around you. Pachinko verges on sensory deprivation. It is the ultimate mental numbing, the final victory of the educational system.” – Lost Japan, Eng. vers., 1996
A lot of my nonfiction is very strong environmental stories – I was the first guy to write about the dolphin killings in Japan.
Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?