Friday, May 19, 2006
These are some of the health posters at school. They're all over the place. Some of them are disgusting. But true.
My friend Koji came over and showed me some of the things his company sells. I held a fake hip in my hand. I got to play with a fake knee. Fascinating design, the knee. One of my best friends had her hips replaced with something like this. Amazing, I think to myself. At school I found this wonderful t-shirt, asked to take a picture of it, and then the other kids wanted to show me their t-shirts too.
There are three main characters in my next story: Me, a 15-year-old boy named Masako, and his cats. ON Thursday, around 7:00pm, my doorbell rang and I fond four 9nth grade boys, some of the more loud and confident ones at one of my schools, smiling happily. Earlier that day, one boy, Masako, who likes me a lot, had asked where I live and I told him. And now, there they are, stopping by on their way home. I invited them in, made some tea, put on some music. They walked around the house looking at everything; my books, cd’s movies, they went into my room and looked at the shrine, my closet. “He practices Zazen, you know.” Masako proudly tells his friends from the other room. All in all they were regular, nosey kids. They looked around at the paintings and pictures and ooed and awed, and asked questions. I felt like my house had turned into one big artistic environment, giving the kids, or whoever’s inside it, new ideas. I have a picture stuck to the screen of my TV (I don’t watch any TV, no time) and they thought that was funny but cool. We listened to music. Some ween. Masako liked "Johnny on the spot" the best and sang along with the chorus. They spilled some tea, laughed, played with a weight training thing i have. And I had a fuckn blast. Part of me is still in high school, I know it. Masako then asked me if I would come over to his house tomorrow night and eat dinner with him and his mom. "I want you to meet my mom.” I said sure. The next day in the hall the kids told a teachers that they came over to my house. The teacher thought it was great, but also said to the boys “that's a little rude, don’t you think.” it was actually really fun, i said. Masako asked if they could come over again. I said ok. "we’ll come over after school same time, and then around 7:30 my mom will have dinner ready.”
SO, after the kids come over, with one new boy, whose English is the best in the school maybe, they took pictures with my cell phone, sat in my living room looking around at all the paintings and things, and relaxed. After about 30 minuts we went over to Masako’s house, which was just down the street, for dinner. Masako’s father died recently (like a few months ago) from cancer I think, so I was a little surprised to see another man in the living room when I arrived. It was her brother, they immediately told me. After introductions, his mother- a beautiful, strong looking woman-said “sit down please, all of you, and eat up!” The table is already set and full of food. The boy that's great at english, and is also the smallest and yongest lookinng, then walked into the room with a case of beer and some wine. "A gift from my father" he casually said. We all laughed. She then looked at me and said, “You are a vegetarian, aren’t you?” I said yes. “Oh, I thought so” she replied (in an “oh, I was afraid of that” kind of way). And Masako chimed in “I told you he was, mom.” And she said, in Japanese, (this is all in Japanese, by the way,) "I know what you said but I didn’t know if he truly was one.” I look down and see multiple plates of meat on the table, along with salads and rice and things. I immediately say “oh, don't worry at all. I’m not a strict vegetarian. I’ll be fine. Everything looks delicious.” She was still concerned though, and halfway through the meal she gave Masako some money and he left the house. When he came back he had a huge plate full of tempura he must have picked up at a little restaurant near by; tempura, the food that I said thirty minutes ago was one of my favorites, and he also had another bowl of cut vegitables and salad. I am already full, and totally overwhelmed by their care and generosity, but I eat all I can, love growing inside.
As I'm eating a particularly warm and crispy piece of sweet potato tempura, his older sister comes into the room holding a fat, orange and brown striped cat that looks just like my old cat Boris. My heart swells with the smile on my face and before I know it she is handing me the cat and it begins to purr in my arms and I am very happy. Masako says “eleven” and I think he means the cat is 11 years old. So I say, “oh, hello grandmother. How do you do?” And he says ‘no, not grandmother. Mother.” And I’m a little confused. Until another cat comes over. And then another. And then Masako takes me by the hand and pulls me into the hallway and I see 8 other cats lying around chairs and boxes, and he then says, again, “11.”
Joyfulness erupts into my being like a fountain of warm light, and I am a little kid playing and slashing in the fountain. I squat to the ground, open my arms, and meet the handfull of cats that got up to meet me. Talking to them, petting them, meeting. I must have looked kind of crazy.
But the cats were so friendly. He points to a gray cat, a beautiful, cool peal gray that almost look silver, laying inside one of the boxes, and he says “that’s grandmother. She is my favorite.” He picks her up and she lightly meows, but more out of habit than out of discomfort. After I went back and talked to his mother and uncle a bit longer, he showed me into his room with two of his friends. There, we watched a Slipknot DVD with cats in our laps, (Slipknot is a hardcore band that wears demon and ghoul masks and makeup during performances, making the show kind of like a haunted house, with satanic symbols and lyrics and red lights and all. it looked like a bad dream, actually, or a violent cult, and the music had so much screaming and double bass that it was very energizing. And I felt a bit of nostalgia. In middle school and high school I never went done the hardcore path, but I did use, and still use punk for virtually the same effects. Id say that the fast, loud music is used to express a specific voice within us, that ecstatic demon, that angry, excited, energized teenager that needs to run around and scream and be expressed and acknowledged in order to relax.
It's the music that comes primarily from (and acts to help open and expand) the stomach and root chakras, perhaps.
I showed him what a "slipknot” is and he became very happy to finally know. He told me a lot about his older sisters, and he also talked a lot about me to his mom. Like bragging, he talked about my art and how I've been to India and that we like the same music. Back in his room he got on a chair and took out of a storage closet an old wooden artists box, filled with oil paints, and brushes, and an old pallat, all used, all old. He said, “This was my fathers. I found it after he died. I knew he was a painter, but I never knew he had this. Do you want it?"
I almost started to cry. "Thank you, but no, i dont need this. It is yours. That's so great that you found it. Can i see his paintings?" "I dont know where they are." he said. We examined everything in the box together, got a little bit of paint on our hands.
As the evening closed Masako’s mother told me to "please come over whenever you want. We live so close. You are always welcome here." i nodded and said i would return and that it felt really great meeting you all and i am stuffed with all the great food. She thanked me again for the lillies.
Then Masako walked me home, said I was one of his best friends, and asked if I would come over again sometime.
Today, Saturday, my friend Robert stopped by. He lived in India for a year and so we always have great conversations. We ate pancakes.
Posted by David at 9:21 PM
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