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2005-12-19 5:42 p.m.

the land is all too shallow; it is painted on the sky

I find I am much less inclined to feel charitably towards the foibles of Japanese public school culture after four hours of sleep the night before. Today I was, however, highly impressed by the strenuous efforts of the third year students (equivalent to American high school freshmen) to avoid retaining anything from three years of intensive English instruction. I suspect, however, that the first years will prove to be their superiors in that respect.

i don’t know where you come from
but i wish you’d go away
i don’t where you get your money from
but i wish didn’t always have to be the one to pay

i’m not sure how to say this
but i’ll seal it with a kiss
do up a bag and drop dead, motherfucker
so i can hang out with chris

Yes, today could easily be described in terms Ween-esque. Though this particular song is stuck in my head this morning, I imagine it better describes the Head Teacher’s feeling towards me than the reverse.

The occasion of my rather late night was the completion of my reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I have owned this book for nearly a year, but it was not until last weekend that I actually began reading it. I had put off reading it because I suspected it would swallow my soul, and in this I was not disappointed. In fact, if my prose seems a little stilted today perhaps it can be explained by my having sunk the weekend into reading an eight hundred page fantasy novel written in the style of Jane Austen. (The hardbound is nearly eight hundred pages. I suspect the paperback must break one thousand.)

It is a peculiar book.

Though the book is long, the chapters are short, bite-sized bits, perfect for whenever one has ten minutes to spare. Last weekend I started by reading one or two chapters a day, but gradually the rate of consumption increased until it swallowed up most of Saturday, all of Sunday, and the early hours of this morning. It was most parabolic. I’m almost tempted to call it asymptotic, but of course that would be incorrect, as, at least in so far as I can divine, I did in fact finish the book.

It had a perfectly bittersweet ending, which I am content with. Happily-ever-afters can seem disingenuous, but sad endings can be hard on the reader.

I enjoyed the book.

Some of the descriptions of the sounds of bells reminded me very much of the monastery.

Perhaps I should try going insane. Sometimes I suspect that “enlightenment” is the state one reaches after pushing one’s mind until it breaks. Actually, in Zen satori is often spoken of in similar terms.

Oh, did I mention my mother was recently hospitalized with, among other things, kidney failure? She’s out now.

A few weeks ago I witnessed an eight year old girl headbutt the face of a sixty year old woman, who promptly crumpled to the ground wailing. In the middle of the street, no less.

It seems the network at school is down today, so I suppose this shall be posted this evening.

That is all.

in winter the barren trees shall be a black writing,