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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
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This morning a pheasant hidden in the tall weeds of the next-door orchard gave a throaty call and flapped its wings, doing this every few minutes in answer to another in the trees across the valley. On the way home, I saw a brown cat walking down a row of... Continue reading
Posted 17 hours ago at Only a Blockhead
From 2008 I splashed to work on a wet midweek morning in the aftermath of an unseasonably early typhoon. The day before it had set the treetops swaying, but now all was still as the rain poured down. On the narrow road through the fields, it was clear the weather... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Black flapping Profligate splashing Crow bathing in neighbor’s water basin --Julian Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Woken at 4AM by a high whine: First mosquito of the year --Julian Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Here in central Japan, May is when farmers flood the paddy fields. There’s abundant sunshine and rain, and sometimes typhoons. Plants and animals, birds and insects flourish. There is a great deal to see and hear. This is from 2008. On the way to work The sun already up and... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
This morning I came upon this quotation from The Name of the Wind, a fantasy novel by Patrick Rothfuss. It is quiet, and when the belling tower strikes the late hour, it doesn't break the silence so much as it underpins it. The crickets, too, respect the silence. Their calls... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
From 2009 The other day I stopped at the rice cracker store in Kagawa hamlet and saw the potted “fuji” (wisteria) outside was in bloom. Fuji shares a name with, and is the designated flower of, Fujisawa, the neighboring town. It grows domestically and also wild, climbing high over bushes... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
On a blustery morning wind and rain silence the bush warbler's song --Julian Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
I recently read Ian Buruma’s Inventing Japan (and posted a rave review in the right margin of this page). It’s a short history of the country from the end of Tokugawa isolation in the 1850s to modern times. Although it sometimes touches on the lives of ordinary people, it’s mostly... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
At dawn the sudden, plaintive, wattle-y double-screech of a pheasant. --Julian Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
It was a magnificent day, the first after several of cloud and rain. The green valley was filled with mist, shot through by the early morning sun. Down by the rice paddies, the air was clear. Weeds and flowers, mints, mustards and dandelions, populated the verges. Sheets of red, purple... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Tom Lamont has a fine, often funny Guardian article about modern greeting rituals in the UK. When and with whom do you shake hands, hug (how long; how tight), kiss (once or the double). Or not. Greetings are clearly a minefield, with class, regional, cultural, and age differences overlaid by... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Friday morning Padding barefoot around the house One more sign of spring --Julian Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
An exquisite pleasure is the song of the “uguisu” bush warbler. The song is a liquid note held for a couple of seconds, with a rise and fall like a hiccup at the end. It is entirely distinctive; common enough to be recognized by everyone; localized enough to make an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Continuing our series of past posts to mark 10 years of this blog. The cherry blossom arrived early and is over for this year. This post from 2008 celebrates the annual ritual. Cherry blossoms and spring sunshine combine to create one of the great joys of Japan. They co-occur for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
This last week--cherry blossom week this year--has been warm and sunny, and more of the same is promised. In 2008, things were more changeable. Two days ago, dark clouds loured at sunset. After dark, lightning glowed above their mass. Then the first fat drops of rain smacked onto the patio.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
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Early spring is a riot of color and scents. Red camellias rustle to the ground. Blowzy magnolia dropping petals like handkerchiefs carelessly wanton fragrant chinchoge (winter daphne), impossibly sweet --Julian Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
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It's close to peak cherry blossom in Kanto, and the good weather encourages us to go out and worship. I'm so glad to have a folding bicycle to put on the train, and be able to ride further afield. Yesterday, we were on the Izu coast, looking at the views... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
Vernal Equinox Day: The air is still dry, temperatures low, winds gusty. A quick kiss on a cold morning: Your soft lips convey love and Chapstick Broken fan Abandoned at a trash pick up point Spins furiously Cycling into the wind Long before the graveyard The smell of incense --Julian Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
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From 2010 A garden breakfast Changing my accustomed seat Ah! The plum blossom! We also live near an air base. A garden breakfast Roar of war jets breaks the peace every ten minutes --Julian Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
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From 2014 After the storm the scent of plum blossom carried on an icy breeze After the storm the snow melts through earth; whitecaps on an inland sea --Julian Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
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From 2008 In the frost and cold of January, it's a surprise to see plum buds swelling on the branches. Although still a matter of faith, it’s a promise that winter is finite. In February if the bitter wind blows a certain way, you catch a sudden sweet scent. Looking... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
The doorbell rang the other day; it was someone from a house-painting company. Giving me a small towel wrapped in a traditional gift paper bearing the company name, he said they were painting a neighbor’s house and apologized for the inevitable noise this would produce. Sure enough, for the next... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
A selection of past posts to celebrate 10 years of Only A Blockhead. This is from 2008 and 2012. Signs of spring here in Kanto (central Japan): flies in the composter rotten mikan at the bottom of the carton the first sleepy bugs in the house sudden strong winds pollen,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2018 at Only a Blockhead
From 2008 The last few days have been fine and the nights clear as the moon grew. It appears low at dusk, a ghost that grows brighter as the sun sets. Cloudless winter night Beside me on the long walk home Companion moon By midnight it has climbed almost directly... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2018 at Only a Blockhead