Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Bananas are the naughty fruit.
There is many a slip twixt thought and tongue, or somewhere. "I lill get da lubber glubs, Colonel San!"
You know we used to have a couple of Japanese café’s and the wifey, being a Japanese kind of girl, in fact entirely Japanese, thought it would be great to call the first one er, “Paranoid”. No, that’s a bad idea, hence the lack of eating establishments named after mental and personality disorders or skin diseases. But you know, it seemed perfectly hip and swingin' to Miss Kabuki Saturday night in Ginza, meets Jerry Lewis.
“Good evening sir. Would you care to see the menu?“
“Why are you asking me? You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
For a while I saw that a fruit and vegetable supermarket would be useful, if only for the chance to fondle so many firm yet pliant shapes.
“The fruit? You can’t handle the fruit!”
And that’s what I like about wifey, the innate Japanese thang, and with her preference for the Western, especially a place like New York. Ah, the Big Apple. New York is my favourite citrus named metropolis and we will get there, eventually. We already have the suitcases and with air holes they're big enough for all of us!
The wifey tends to have a perspective that one could never imagine, and this can stop things getting rather er, dull, and without the slightly creepy all in the mind Western prone obsession for all things Asian. The great mystery of the East is that there really is none. Things are much as they appear, even the hidden.
After two and a half years, which is the usual cultural exhaustion point for most Western expats, just as the ennui starts flooding in, Asia can seem in the end, just various combinations of electronics, fascinating package foods, crowded child like mono-culture madhouses on motor scooters, with endemic corruption and plastic sandals. No, really. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Asia and especially Japan, but you know Jake, "...it’s Tokyo town”.
And once you dig it, one always has that sense of displacement as if you’re maybe going to the airport tomorrow with a one way ticket after all. I once read of an American guy who had spent decades in Japan, was profoundly fluent in the language, culture, history and customs etc, but never felt that he had been able to see beyond and into that invisible er, something of being Japanese, except for perhaps one time.
Once he observed a typical middle-aged, conservative Japanese man endlessly working at and rearranging a small plant and flower combination all with that singular and relentless patience, in a neighbourhood street as people walked by. Just as it appeared that he would never be fully satisfied with its dynamic and the apparent search for the mathematical harmony, as they say, he suddenly brightened. Stepping back he sat for a long time, just looking at it.
The American couldn’t see what the Japanese guy seemed able to. And then he did see something, or so it seemed. It was not so much the object as the relationship between the man, his focus and the surroundings, being in er, Japan an' all. And just then as he thought that “Ah, I see!”, in another moment it was gone.
Who knows? Maybe it was just a nice shrub. And often it’s just pointless and plain crazy. And yet...
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite”. William Blake.
Curiously, a lot of life is infinitely mundane, repetitive and boring, even with the fruit and flower arranging. No, really. The challenge is not so much to find the exceptional and exciting, but how to deal with the pedestrian and see the extraordinary in the everyday, which it is. And for some, their default is seeing the mediocre and horrible in the outstanding.
Then there's the problematic outrage at Bill Henson, the talented yet er, problematic and perhaps disturbing Australian artist. Apparently Bill should consider how assorted folks may percieve or use art. One would have ya work cut out for you then, eh.
Yep, art has unexpected influence in my life.
Since I bought as a teenager the Velvet Underground with Warhol’s famous cover, I’ve used big bananas in ways not intended by Andy. Or consider, every time I buy a pole, it has to be a blue pole. Whenever I'm thinking, I always curl my fist under my chin, while sitting on a plinth. Boy, do I regret how many girls I’ve dated with both their eyes on one side of their head. And man, I won’t leave the house without removing both my arms.