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Incredible, really, the depth of U. The hall is very Japanese-style, beams overhead with some slight decoration on them and light wallpaper with a meandering parallelogram design. Rows of red paper lanterns here and there on the sides. Then the show starts. I opened my box lunch and ate of it, also drinking of my canned tea. The box was covered with paper with large elliptical pastel polka dots. The best food in it was a little sweet yellow rubbery dough cup holding a sushi-like mix of rice and salmon eggs.

Another good thing was a single stray green pea. And then the older brother knifes the younger again, killing him. Another cool thing was that, Macbeth-like, the climax is taking place during a storm, and they had really good thunder sounds that I could tell came from an incredibly experienced Japanese thunder-master backstage shaking a big piece of special kabuki thunder metal. One more interesting feature were the kakegoe , which are special shouts and whoops which certain audience members give at crucial moments, like when an actor first comes on they might shout his name, or at the end of a scene they might shout something, but they never shout at a wrong or intrusive time, of course, being into the wa and the Zen and the group mind as they are.

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Such fun to do things with her. Saw a man on a bicycle delivering takeout food, which was a tray held up on one hand with a covered dish and, get this, two covered dishes of soup. Soup on a tray on a bicycle. The dish-covers looked like black leather. I played a little pachinko there—but my initial win seems to have been a fluke. In this place the symbol is the number 7. We made our way to the Tokyo National Museum, and went into the main building.

Then there was a room with some really great looking pipes, opium pipes I guess, with long stems decorated amazingly, one stem finned, one polka-dotted. And then a door that went out in the back yard, and we could read the Japanese for it, the three characters were the lambda, the double psi, and the square: in out mouth. Yet again Sylvia and I were studying the people on the subway. We saw a teenage boy, and seeing him made us miss our son Rudy.

Hiroshi came into the city and took us out to his neighborhood by cab—an unbelievably high cab fare, which he paid alone. We ate at his favorite restaurant. The place is called Kappa-home, the kappa being an imaginary beast of Japanese legend. Hiroshi has been going there every Saturday night for ten years, he and Miyuki.

The little building was a country house someone took apart—no nails involved—and brought spang into Tokyo. There was a short bar with folks eating at it, and a tatami room, and a main room with benches, and that was the size of it.


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A seventy-year-old lady at the bar was drinking and eating. Everyone happy and relaxed.

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Miyuki is a modest woman with a tentative smile. She met Hiroshi at a science fiction convention when he was at the University of Tokyo and she in high school.

Hiroshi has a ponytail, like the kabuki guys, traditional though uncommon these days. The historical oscillation of ponytails in and out of fashion in Eastern and Western cultures. I asked Hiroshi and Miyuki about this. Was the guy in the kabuki supposed to be a pimp? The food was outrageously wonderful, the freshest most incredible sushi you can imagine, including whole, raw, sweet-tasting squid, and some mysterious white slices of…what?

Hiroshi explains:. The liver tastes like cheese. The fish lives very deep in the sea, he is so large and jellylike that you cannot hold him in your hands. The fishermen hang him upside down and the liver falls out of his mouth.

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But we actually did like the monkfish liver a lot. Also the raw abalone. Before we started the sake, the server-woman brought out a big tray with lots of little stoneware cups, all different, and you pick the sake cup you want. The sake came from a big white cask with a big ideogram on it. Hiroshi was proud of his translations of the neologisms in Software and Wetware.

Sunday, cousin Zsolt and wife Helga took us sightseeing. The monastery was woodsy, be-templed, tourist-thronged. I felt some inklings of peace there, looking at a hillside, at a little Zen shrine, at a perfect arrangement of a flower and a few weeds, feeling once again the unity of all things, and an accompanying loss of body outline—me a jelly pattern in a sea of sensation.


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  4. The Daibutsu is about sixty feet tall, he was cast in bronze pieces and assembled about You can go inside him, he has big doors for air in his back. His head has knobs on it standing for hair. His expression is a marvel of disengaged compassion. Our last night in the hotel room, I found two pay-TV channels of Japanese porn.

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    What they often do in the porno movies is to pixelize the crotches, meaning that within a disk area, the image is broken into large squares with each square the average of its component pixels. Another, less frequent trick is to shine a bright spotlight on the crotch so that the area burns out white in the video. One of the videos was a fake TV show, with the announcers going down on each other, etc. So odd to realize Japanese act this way , too, even the little mask-faced women in their beige suits with the big white lacy collars.

    I pointed and gestured to ask the counter people about it, and they told me the hideous mildew strips are namma , which I later learned is pickled bamboo, and not fungus at all. They were a great crew of guys, the noodlers, kind of like a WWII platoon in a movie, with a kid that all the old ones talked to, a bony guy with radar-dish ears, a plump weak-chinned one with a mustache, and a busy cook in the back. You take an elevator up meters, and get out, and there, right in front of you, is a fish tank with one poor big black carp in it.

    A fish in a tank in a tower meters above the ground. A few days ago, I took a bicycle trip with my daughters Georgia and Isabel. We rode from our house in Los Gatos to Santa Cruz by the sea. It was lots of fun. Getting over the Santa Cruz Mountains was murder, of course, especially with our stupid heavy knapsacks on our backs. We made it to the Brighton Beach state park where we got the usual luxurious campground accommodations: a square of hardpacked dirt between two oiled asphalt roads. The three of us slept in our ancient pup tent together, snuggly Isabel in the middle of course, and me on the only mat.

    Pass the mat, fat. We giggled ourselves to sleep. Finally it was time to get up, and we rode a couple of miles along the shore to Dream Inn, where we planned to spend our next night. As time went on, I was becoming more and more knocked out and astounded at being with two daughters , and big young ladies at that. I mean how did I end up with two daughters? The girls got tired, of course, of hearing this phrase.

    Sometimes it seems like I have a mild Tourette syndrome. We wheeled our bikes into our motel room. I went down to the pool and had two mai-tais. This was a far cry from the campground, man, it was great, the pool water just right, the beach exciting with pelicans diving and seagulls fighting for the scraps. We caught dinner at this crunchy bohemian Santa Cruz place called India Joze and I had squid, their specialty.

    After Pearce brought us back to Los Gatos, I pretty much just laid around reading magazines, also I read a big section of my novel The Hollow Earth , which just came out, in hardback. Satisfying to see it in print.