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Only a Blockhead
Chigasaki and Beverly
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."
Interests: books, art, photography, beauty, pleasure, the world, politics, everything, poetry
Recent Activity
Snow, an ubiquitous part of winter in Northern Japan, a novelty here in central Kanto. This from 2011. Tonight the sky is full of snow fat flakes falling soundlessly piling up white Silence shattered by a gunshot crack: Snow-bow'd bamboo finally snaps! --Julian Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Only a Blockhead
From 2009 If I hadn't recently heard that February 14 was traditionally the day when birds begin to pair up for nesting, I probably wouldn't have noticed this tableau: Valentine's morning Crescent moon and a pair of crows In a bare tree Except we actually saw the above today, four... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Only a Blockhead
At a wayside inn on a winter’s eve, Warm sake and shared memories Exquisite beauty: A sliver of moon On a winter night The morning after the blizzard, White on white: Plum flowers frosted with snow The generosity of hot coffee on a freezing morning: warming hands, stomach, heart. --Julian Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Mikan (tangerines; mandarins; satsumas) are a winter treat. Light in the palm of the hand, spherical, seedless, citrus, and with a loose orange skin coarse with pores, they are available here in Kanto from November to February, the first brought from the far south, then Chubu in central Japan, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
This is the coldest month, but the days have been getting longer by subtle increments. Dawn comes earlier; dark falls later. The sun climbs higher. Buds swell on trees; the first plum blossoms bloom on bare branches While still in winter’s dark and icy grip Into the arms of spring... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
...and from 2008 Snow blanketed most of Kanto last Saturday. After shoveling the driveway, I put on a paper devil's mask and was driven out of the house by a shower of beans. On cue for the official first day of spring, the earliest red plum blossoms have opened. First... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
To celebrate 10 years of Blockhead, some posts from Februaries past: this from 2009 Yesterday, February 3, was Setsubun, the day before spring officially begins. To chants of "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" (Devils out! Luck come in!), the head of the household throws roasted soybeans at a family... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
In these coldest days of winter, the first signs of spring The buds on the trees are swelling, and in orchards, gardens, shrines and temples, we are just days away from seeing and smelling spring's first pink and white plum blossom. --Julian Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Cycling the coast on a winter afternoon The white sun meets me across the glistening sea (Photo [detail]: Ernst Rosca via Wikimedia Commons) --Julian Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Snow fell and the fields and gardens and roofs are mantled in white, but down by the station it has all but disappeared. I was told there’s a three-degree difference of temperature between downtown coastal Chigasaki and my neighborhood which is just four kilometers inland. Perhaps that’s a combination of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Muffled cracks like gunshots mean that someone is burning bamboo in the grove behind the house. Bamboo grows in hollow sections and, in a fire, water trapped inside vaporizes with explosive effect. This is good husbandry: without regularly gathering and disposing of the dead bamboo, a grove quickly becomes an... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
After a wet night leaves drip; a mist rises pierced by shafts of sunlight A bird in the bamboo thicket warbles a ribbon of melody Sparrows fly to the roof ridge Yesterday they faced this way This morning that --Julian Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Celebrating 10 years of Blockhead with a selection of past posts. Last night a fierce frost glazed the puddles and raised tiny pillars of ice on the fringes of the fields. Before sunrise, the orange in the east was answered by the palest rose tint in the western sky. As... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
When we finished ringing the temple bell, it was almost midnight. We jumped on bicycles and headed for nearby Samukawa. Bypassed by the main rail line, it has lost its importance as a town over the last 150 years, but Samukawa Shrine has kept its hold on the affections of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
An account of New Year’s Eve from 2009 On New Year's Eve, after the last shopping and cleaning and preparations for the holiday have been made, we can relax. For evening dinner, we make the traditional bowl of soba noodles, and join most people in watching Kohaku, a festive and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Reposting to celebrate 10 years of this blog. This from 2010: New Year’s morning: Fields and gardens white with frost; Blue sky and bright sunshine New Year fills the mailbox full of cards from folks I didn't send one to New Year: New beginning but try telling that to the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Cold. Water froze inside the house last night. Shady outdoor puddles never thawed all day, but the sky is clear and it's warm in the sun. Heavy frost: The refrigerator is keeping the orange juice warm. Preparations for the New Year are underway. Some people finish work today and begin... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Past posts to celebrate 10 years of Only a Blockhead The sky is blue and the sun’s shining. I’m having lunch outside when a “tanuki” raccoon dog, the size of a large cat, long bodied, mangy, trots down the drive and disappears. For the last week, the local farmers and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Today, as we head toward [see previous post] the temporal "exit" of the year, the solstice coincides with a crescent moon, and the cold has rendered persimmons and maple leaves a memory. Otherwise the post below could stand for this or any year. As usual, the end-of-the-year weather is invigorating... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Sturdy bench A joy to use Made of hope in the wake of tragedy* Eating lunch outside in the warm sun I share the bench with maple leaves Found under a leaf on the bench: A brief, leaf-shaped ghost of last night’s rain --Julian *the bench was bought from Ishinomaki... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
During this sunny, dry December, some past memories to mark 10 years of this blog It began raining late on Saturday night and didn't stop until Sunday afternoon. The sky cleared and the temperature dropped during the night. This morning we woke to a spectacular hoarfrost. The empty radish fields... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Past posts from 10 years of Only A Blockhead Stepping outside during the morning, I find it is several degrees warmer than in the house. The wind bell is spinning furiously. Grey clouds pass swiftly overhead, as they have done for several hours. Treetops sway with balletic grace. The remaining... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Watching the DVD of Days of Heaven reminded me how beautiful the light is at dawn and dusk. And how farmers--then as now--have only the daylight hours to work with, bookended with the pinks and oranges of daybreak and sundown. Here in Japan, farmers used to divide the day in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at Only a Blockhead
Rising at first light Sliding open the window screens A crescent moon! After days of barely seeing the sun, the week has been magnificent. At dawn the last bright crescent of the waning moon hung in a clear sky, every morning a little lower, a little more delicate. The rising... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2017 at Only a Blockhead