How long is this shit supposed to take?, the monk thought, waiting for his evening interview with Roshi, the head priest and Zen master. A fellow acolyte’s reply was “Ishi no ue ni mo sannen.” Even a rock will warm up if you sit on it for three years. Translation: Fools give up too easily.
But here he was — three years meditating at Nankanji, the notoriously strict Zen temple — and nothing to show for it. Nankanji, 難関寺 in Japanese, meant the temple of difficult obstacles. Just getting there was difficult. …
My brain always retreated to its reptilian roots for the swamp-like summer, when the only happy creatures in Kyoto were lazy frogs and darting skinks. Now, seduced by the cool fall evenings, my frontal lobes emerged from the mists. The sludge of summer fell away and the air — crisp with energy — braced me like a mountain goat on a cliff face.
In November the chill arrived, trampling the perk-me-up briskness with all the finesse of zombies in wet T-shirts escaping a meat refrigerator.
I shivered along an oh-so-picturesque backstreet north of Nanzenji Temple when my stomach signaled dinner…
When nothing’s what it seems
And truth’s a game of chance
You load the dice, ante up,
Get out on the floor and dance
Detective Tanaka had not spoken for what seemed like hours though it was only minutes. Did he think silence would change my story? I stared straight at his forehead, occasionally rolling my eyes to the gray ceiling. The bright bare fluorescent tubes buzzed and flickered.
There was a knock, and a low voice: “Tanaka, chotto!”
The detective stood and walked to the door. He opened it a crack. Hushed words.
He looked at me. “I’ll be…
Elena remembered the last time she had visited, hot after Nine-Eleven. She had flown KAL, not JAL or an American carrier. She remembered the muzzled dogs and the G.I. JOE®s with their kohl-smudged Alice Cooper eyes scanning for bags too heavy, seniors too-quick, facial hair too existent, unless it was blond.
Elena was on the cusp of blonde and brunette. She had shaved her legs. She was superstitious.
That was a decade ago. In her head Elena reviewed the survival sheet: Avoid confrontation. Look straight into their eyes. Look dumb-blondish, never elite-ish. Don’t state facts to authority. …
First light rouses Shizuka from her futon. She dons an indigo kimono. Skirts and blouses are not for her. Maybe, if she had been an actress … Silly thought! Barefoot, she descends the ladder-steep staircase to her speck of a bar just off Pontocho.
Before breakfast every morning, she walks to Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine at the east end of Nishiki-Ichiba — the old market street north of Shijo Dori. There she prays to the god of business acumen. The shrine gates are locked at this hour but Shizuka has a key to the service entrance. …
According to FBI records, in January 1973 Harland (Colonel) David Sanders received a handwritten note claiming to be from "U.S. Armed Forces," saying, "This is to inform you that you are in grave danger of being murdered. For details go to any recruiting station and call the Los Angeles Nike Missile Base," signed, "The General."
The FBI report states that since "it did not appear that a violation of the Federal Extortion Statute existed ... Victim advised the FBI could not afford him protection."
This date corresponds to the period when I lived at the scheduled-for-demolition- as-soon-as-vacated- by-all-these- hippie-college-students three-story…
The truth is that we felt a responsibility to set the world aright. We knew it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. And some days that somebody was us.
Once, by way of example, we went out in Ralph’s car, just him and me, bought a bottle of high-proof disinfectant-grade Wild Turkey, and finished it off between us, doing dumb stuff like hanging out the car door while weaving on back-country roads. This was before noon.
Ralph was going on about his part-time job at the auto air conditioner plant near Richmond, Indiana — which is…
The policeman sitting across from me took down my name, address, and place of employment. He looked old enough to be retired.
“You are missing a brown business case, in Akasaka or Shibuya, or in between, sir?”
His English was stilted but precise, and he addressed me, a gaijin, as “sir.” I wanted to ask if he’d been an interpreter for the U.S. military during the Occupation. But that would be impolite.
“Yes, that’s right.” I did my best not to look sheepish.
“And there was something of value in your bag?”
“Value?” My breath probably still reeked of sake.
“You one a them hoopers what smoke LRD ’n’ stuff?”
- Pickup driver somewhere in Wayne County, Indiana
“How, hi are you?”
- Ralph Siskind
The Good Duck sent Ralph to Richmond on a mission of mercy to rescue the lost souls of its dog-food-eating populace.
It’s not that I harbor a grudge against Richmond. It’s more like PTSD. I grew up there.
It started with culture shock. I had spent my earliest years in the East where they spoke English. At age five, we moved to Richmond where the kids pronounced roof to rhyme with woof. And apropos of…
… can be as addictive as the substances peddled on street corners and stolen by Omar in “The Wire”. You feel like a hero living that life. The effect is more than just pharmaceutical.
Heroism is the most addictive feeling possible, particularly for men — especially for young men.
Heroin was named for that feeling because it makes you feel like a hero without doing anything. True story.
From a marketing/advertising campaign perspective this is essentially why Trump won with his slogan Make America Great Again, a heroic message. A call to heroic action. Compare that to Stronger Together. No…