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all the tv shows are doing it, so why can’t I?

oh wait, I can!

I hereby declare a Christmas hiatus. Till Jan or something. I feel the need to write in my journal a bit, which I don’t do when I blog.

All I want for Christmas is some self-knowledge.

Dear Diary,

Why can’t I manage to do my dishes regularly? Any insight appreciated.

Sincerely,

the accidental housewife.

another writing day

I’m not doing very well writing at the moment. Doing slightly better with my dishes – I put my mum on speaker phone tonight, and some family gossip made the process much easier to bear.

I can’t exactly employ the same tactic with writing, but I have been making at least two writing dates a week, and it’s kinda working.

Today, me and Cat had a mega-writing day with ice cream in it. It would have been morning-till-night mega, except that I had to go to choir.

I love choir.

Some really good things from the day:

Going right into Cat’s world-building for a couple of hours, just spinning ideas out, chucking them, building on them, reversing them, is an amazing creative exercise. It put me right back into what’s at the heart of writing – the excitement that a story, and the world of a story, generates.

I don’t tend to do this kind of rigorous thinking, though I’m getting much better at it, now that my characters are getting complicated enough to warrant it. I highly recommend trying it out some time: it’s the kind of creative magic that can only happen between two or more brains. That makes it a bit scary, because the ideas aren’t only in your head anymore, they’re out there for disagreement and transformation.

Cat pointed out that my hero has actually declared his intention to seduce my heroine. I had written that without realising it. It changes everything. Then we also realised that, given the Machiavel he is, he would probably actually be planning to put some other man up to doing it for him.

Which led to the thought that my hero, having had his loneliness taken advantage of by a servant as a kid, has probably never had adult/consensual sex…GASP! (Including the kind when you forget to use a condom.)

Then there was ice cream.

 

Sherlock follow-up

when I wrote my last post about Sherlock I’d only seen episode 1. Have now watched the grand total 3 episodes, and some of my thoughts about the series have changed.

I loved the portrayal of Watson in ep 1 as a war veteran who seeks the thrill of an underground, underhanded kind of war in London. He was made particularly poignant by a very reserved performance from Martin Freeman, who usually plays dorky, comical characters.

So here’s a disappointment: in the next two episodes, Watson has been reduced to his usual bumbling, side-kick status. Except for the moment he finds himself – er – all wrapped up at the end, Freeman falls back into his usual performance and Watson is made to look a bit dim in comparison to Holmes.

(His devolution is all there in the haircut, which gives away his army background to Holmes in the first episode and has grown long and tousled by the second.)

For me, this lost the tough, human character they’d created so wonderfully in the first episode – with all its potential for shaking up the Sherlock Holmes mood. Watson doesn’t react to his circumstances like a trained soldier looking for action. He reacts like an eejit.

And, yes, as per my hunch, Watson gets a girlfriend. I really liked her – the characterisation and the actor. Except for one thing. Her first date ends with her life on the line in pretty horrific circumstances. And yet Watson’s glib “The next date won’t be like this” seems to go down just fine.

Um…wouldn’t any sane lady never want to see him again? It would at least give him something to overcome, romantically.

The other downer from her presence is that, yes, it kills off the homoeroticism – but it means that when they bring the insinuations back, it turns the theme into a punch line. A joke.

Let me stop here and say that special k declared he hasn’t enjoyed a tv show so much in years. Because I know a rant when I see one, so I apologise.

Now, where was I?

Cat made a very good point when we were chatting about it: House is really the modern Sherlock Holmes. The tv show Sherlock isn’t modernising the concept or the character – it’s performing a neat optical illusion.

 

the photo finale

so I didn’t actually lose my camera – ta da! I can go back to smugly thinking my brothers are the forgetful ones in our family.

I’ve placed photos throughout my posts of the trip to Japan – which feels like a very weird and wonderful dream now, from rainy Melbourne. (Much like the man who dreamed of being a butterfly, special k finds coming back to life here more of a dream.)

Here are some pics of the place we stayed in Tokyo, and our first ramen meal.

Here one of the best meals we had the whole time.

Here some weird sushi and Shinjuku in all its glory.

Here Harajuku.

Here pics from the Museum of Science and Innovation. (includes Doraemon and Asimo…gotta love the Japanese!)

Here Great Tokyo Cycling Tour!

Here more 8-bit.

Here Kyoto.

Here another amazing meal. (Meal the last.)

And because I’m not entirely sure where it fits in, some shopping madness that came over me in Don Quijote. Much, much worse than opp-shop fever. I ended up buying two of the three – can you possibly pic the two slightly less-ugly sisters?

Haiku-blogging

Ok. So this post won’t go 5-7-5, but I’m blogging from the iPhone = abbreviation (or brevity, for the sake of my fingers).

Sitting in an Irish pub w special k (I’ll justify that later) in Kyoto. This place is one enormous breath out. Beautiful. (I think you would suffer from the bends going straight from Kyoto to the countryside.)

View out our ryokan suite window:

we were in the temple neighbourhood, at the foot of a mountain, during lantern season. Nice.

Day 7: special k lives up to his name

Today was a good day. Mostly it was filled with shopping. Then more shopping. And then when my feet were about to start dripping battery acid we shopped some more.

Finally.

I think it’s been our attempts to shop and our utter inability to do so with any conviction whatsoever that have chewed up our days. But no more! Our bags are about twice as heavy as they were yesterday.

My favourite moment by far was when special k was trying on a shirt and the shop assistant – lovely, tall Japanese boy dressed goth-classy – started playing barbie dolls with him. The shop assistant was evidently bored and saw some fun to be had.

You have to understand at this point that Japanese guys aren’t afraid of dressing up. The men’s clothing is surprisingly difficult to distinguish from the lady’s. So special k grinned in a kind of polite horror as the shoppie draped a cloth vest over the shirt, tightening and ruffling various parts of it for greatest aesthetic effect. Add a black brimmed hat and the rather pushy suggestion of a coin pendant and different jeans and you have, as he put it “Japanese fashion.”

The day ended in a place called 8-bit cafe, where special k beat a Japanese woman at Street Fighter. (Ten points if you can guess which character he was playing.)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 6: Tokyo Great Cycling Tour

It really was pretty great.

In our wee group of 8, with the fearless Yukiko guiding us through the white-shirted throngs, we cycled over many bridges to the constructed islands in Tokyo’s bay area.

We stopped off at Tsukuda (it sounds like scooter, said in a really abreviated, Aussie style), where the first shogun imported 33 competent fishermen.

(I know it looks like I was just walking around Tokyo wearing a bike helmet. I wasn’t, I promise.)

It was pretty interesting to hear Yukiko talk about Japanese history. After the 200 years of peace during the Edo period, Japan opened its borders and embraced Industry. I think I’ve only ever seen this period portrayed with great melancholy: Here is the end of a great, untainted culture. Yukiko gave the new perspective that Japan was desperate to catch up to the West, and to develop their own industry and technology – a fervour that is still alive and well today, evidently.

The sun started to get really hot. Here’s a short video of probably the most delicious part of the whole day: we arrived at the Tsukiji fish market (biggest in the world – it is truly amazing) and dunked cloths in a bucket of iced water.

Then we cycled to the beach and ate a delicious picnic from bento boxes. I went down to the beach to dunk my head in and interrupted three little boys gleefully pushing each other into the water.

We saw some temples – walked the Steps of Promotion so that we would all be mightily successful in the work place.

It was such a great way to see Tokyo, and felt a lot more productive than walking for miles through Shinjuku station and surrounds (though I’m pretty fond of that old place).

Do it! if you’re ever in Tokyo.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 5: Run, Robot! Run!

Ok, the complaining is officially over. Promise. We’ll blame it on the heat, and not mention it again.

Seriously, I saw a robot run today. Anyone who could stay in a funk after that would have a thing or two to learn from Asimo about being human.

It’s amazing how endearing the little guy is. Makes you realise how indiscriminate and easy our affections really are, and raises all kinds of incredibly interesting questions. (I’ll spare you from them, you’ll be glad to know. I need some sleep before our 6-hour bike tour tomorrow. It seemed like a good idea back when I was in Melbourne and it was cold.)

The Museum of Science and Innovation:

Asimo:

“Science”:

I went through a wormhole and shrank as I went!

okonomiyaki for dinner. mmmmmmmm.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 4: Rock Bottom Has a Bidet

I feel rather like a character from a Jennifer Crusie novel: “Things are bad, she struggles, things get worse, she struggles, things get so bad they seem insurmountable, she struggles.”

Harajuku, on a Sunday, in the relentless sun = not the funnest thing, despite the big clown made of balloons.

Today pushed lots of buttons. Old ones about traveling and being a tourist and not being “exciting” enough to walk down that alleyway and find that bar that serves single origin sake on a full moon. If you know the password.

There were no passwords today, but special k and I had words. Rather a lot of them. We’re both more timid than not, and when neither of us steps up to the plate we get the amorphous holiday we’ve been having so far. So the words weren’t all particularly fun to hear, but we got that sorted out, anyway.

We did end up going down some tiny old alleyways and looking at some pretty odd bars, but it was in Kita-senju late on a Sunday night. Which is pretty hard to describe. The only places left open are the gambling dens and brothels. There was one little shanty filled with piles of books and magazines and one old lady drinking on her own. Another had businessmen singing something into a microphone, which looked like it was going to hit the bar any second.

A man put on his bike breaks too hard and his cat scrambled out of the front basket in disgust.

Oh yes, and I tried a bidet, which was a rude, illicit sort of an experience. They have a special button just for women. Enough said.

If my trip is really following the Crusie formula, I should soon be reaching the Point of No Return, after which everything begins working towards a happy ending, even if it’s not at first apparent.

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1