Adrift in an Ocean of Hard Air

I think I’m turning Japanese…

“I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so…” Those words are from the lyrics of a 1980 tune called Turning Japanese, by the Vapors. From the moment I heard that tune, as nonsensical as it was in many respects, I loved it. I do not, to this day, know why I found it so appealing, but I do. The remainder of the lyrics are not so strange. For example:

I’ve got your picture
Of me and you
You wrote “I love you”
I love you too
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do

Oh it’s in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel
And soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there’s no one else around

But the lyrics seem to be from two different songs. Yet they fit together. They make an odd sort of sense of madness.

And so I wonder if my fascination with Japanese breakfasts these last twenty years or so has anything to do with my own madness? A madness born of missing opportunities like the song-writer missed his girl? This little philosophical side-trip down a rabbit warren has nothing in particular to do with this post. Or, on the contrary, it may have everything to do with it. Regardless, I will write about this morning’s breakfast with a sense of awe because, for the first time, I made it at my wife’s request! Yes, she actually asked for miso soup! That’s never happened. Heretofore, she has acquiesced to my desire for miso soup because she is a good person and tolerates a lot of strangeness in her husband. “If he wants miso soup,” I can imagine her thinking to herself, “I’ll indulge him. After all, it’s not so very bad, is it? I mean, I can tolerate it from time to time, can’t I, if only to keep him moderately and tolerably sane.

But this morning, she actually requested it. Perhaps she’s turning Japanese, too. Or, perhaps, if you eat foods you do not enjoy for long enough, they become not only palatable, but appealing. I will say this: she did not partake of the cucumbers, saying she would eat them as snacks later on (as in, ” at a time of day more appropriate for the consumption of cucumbers.” She once was that way about radishes and, to a large extent, still is; but she will eat a radish or two at breakfast these days. It’s what you’re used to.

After breakfast, as I was cleaning up the kitchen and putting food back in the refrigerator, I noticed that we have some fresh snow peas. Damn! They would have been the perfect accompaniment to my radishes and cucumbers! Curses! Maledictions! Big damns and little damns!

Were I to turn Japanese, I would have to make some significant changes in myself. First and foremost, I would have to become fluent in Japanese; essentially, it would be necessary for me to become a native speaker. Second, I would have to change my body shape (which is a work in progress) if I were to want to blend in with the population (assuming I were to go to Japan; one need not be in Japan to be Japanese, right?). And radical changes to my world-view would be required, wouldn’t they?

It’s not just Japanese that I think I’m turning. I think I’m turning Icelandic. And Nordic. And Arabic. And French. And Canadian. Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if each culture could retain its unique characteristics, yet embrace and value the differences in all other cultures? I’m afraid that’s a bit like wishing for eternal life or an end to world hunger. It’s not going to happen in my lifetime. (Get it?)

I am adrift this morning. I’ve written about this same tune before. Something about it has its clutches around me, keeping me floating through the air, yet inextricably tied to its claws. I am adrift in something like a sea. But this sea is invisible. The waves are dark, foreboding emotions that dash me against what looks like a shore but is, instead, a block of air as hard as a stone wall. The solution to this is, of course, music. I will visit Spotify, where I will create a playlist of tunes I wrote about last October 30; I called my post Eclectica, but I’ll call this new playlist Mourning Becomes a Mirage. And if the playlist does what I hope it will do for me, I will use its title to spur me to write something with the same title. That’s it. That’s what I’ll do this morning while I wait for HVAC repair people and the exchange, later today, of furniture. Onward in pursuit of happiness.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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