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In which Roy accounts his athletic decline.
Saturday: 28.02.09 | 10:10 am


Tuesday I stopped by my physician's office and had him look at my left knee.

On Thanksgiving I ran in the Atlanta Marathon, my first race of such a distance, and though I completed with the respectable time of 3H38M, it was well short of the 3H20M I had been training for. Around the 13.1 mile mark (ie, "The Half") my left hip acted up, as if it had fallen out of joint. I went off the course and stretched it out, and continued running. It worsened as I reached the 3/4 mark. And I barely trotted - at times I walked - for the final leg. (Of course, per my custom, I sprinted as fast I could -- somehow it was fast -- across the finish line.)

I did a training run on Dec. 16, but barely completed it. I haven't run since. 

X-rays were performed, and scary potential diagonses was discussed. "Obliterated meniscus" had me nearly falling off the patient-throne in the doctor's office. I received a referral to a physical therapist, to whom I went on Thursday. Luckily, my x-rays returned, and nothing was out of order.

The therapist, herself a dedicated runner, and I set a goal of therapy: 5k with no pain. She measured my range of motion. The verdict? I have none. We think my Entire Left Side is tensed up and tight. The knee pain is muscles and tendons and ligaments all saying, "FUCK YOU." Finally my knee was given an ultra-sound. The waves warm the tissue and reduce swelling. 

And now I feel amazing. 

I will see my PT twice a week, in addition to performing a 30 minute stretch regimen thrice daily (I nearly cried the first time I worked on my left hamstring). 

(Current thinking for the "Cause:" Insufficient stretching this summer of my calve muscles. This gave me a bout of plantar's fasciitis in my left foot. Though I treated it and it "healed," it hadn't. During the race, my body compensated for my awkward left foot by adding extra pressure to my hip and knee.)

I hope we're right. 


____________

Cincinnati Half Marathon, DC Trip.
Sunday: 04.05.08 | 8:47 pm


That's what it feels like, at least.

I ran my first half marathon this morning. The Cincinnati Flying Pig. Queued up at 6:30am to run up hills, over bridges and past barber shop quartets. Being my first such race, any time, good or bad, becomes my personal best. Today I clocked my 13.1 miles in 1:37.59. Placed 225th out of 7353 total finishers.

Which, by my 5k (Best: 6.27/mile) and 10k (6.50/mile) standards, is not as consistent as I would hope (18k, 7.26/mile), but by any other standards, is a damn good time. Detailed results here.

My technique is improving. My form has become more erect. Breathing now comes from the diaphragm with relative ease. I lean into my steps with greater efficiency. Still, I did myself no favors in exerting energy to push myself further when going downhill. Also, I ought to allow myself the confidence to run with my pace group, and not a bit behind it. Too: I will now allow myself the use of carb-supplements mid-race from the half-marathon on. Come mile twelve I was hurting.

I had hoped to run in DC in May, but my trip to the Capital City has been postponed to June, likely Pride weekend.

____________

Visit to DC
Wednesday: 02.04.08 | 9:34 pm


I think I will visit Washington the weekend of May 17th. That same weekend is the Capitol Hill 10K Classic, in which I will participate.

Let me know if you want to hang out.

____________

In Kentucky
Sunday: 27.01.08 | 8:33 pm


I am still trapped in a Kentucky hotel.

On Feb. 6 I move to my new apartment. A beautiful seven year old home in a great neighborhood. Three bedrooms. Two full bathrooms. Two car garage. Gorgeous kitchen with granite countertops. All at the ridiculously low rent of $500 a month. The deal’s generosity comes from the convenient fact that its owner is my predecessor in this job. He is returning to Japan. For the time being, my lease is a four-month one, with the option to extend.

I also began exploring car options. Naturally I am getting a Toyota. I likely can afford a 2008 Camry, but I think I will go down a class to the Corolla. The people here tend to drive like crap, I should note. Will have to confirm side airbag options.

Work itself is fine. Been translating. Interpreting. And being taken out a lot. It seems like I will be working between 45-50 hours a week. Which is fine. Seeing how the gym is a 10 minute walk from my place, I’ll be able to manage well enough.

____________

Onward to South Carolina
Sunday: 20.01.08 | 4:52 pm


Over the course of this primary campaign, I have had many a conversation with folks detailing how my vote for the eventual Democratic nominee was unquestioned. Even in the heat volunteering in the cold New Hampshire snows, surrounded by idealists clucking in disapproval, I accented my lack of moral compuction in hitting the pavement for a Clinton nominee this autumn.

Eyes on the prize, eyes on the prize. Even Hillary Clinton would be better than John McCain or Mitt Romney.

But the past week has forced me to reconsider.

Sen. Clinton’s behavior this week has edged me away from that position. As a student of politics, I know the game is though. I’m not naive. Her use of cynical race and religion; her deliberate misrepresentation of facts and statements; her Rovian, Nixonian, Cheney-like cavalier attitude toward her Opponent are all a part of how campaigns are won. And yet, this time, instead of being an effective tactic, it reinforces my sense that the game, in fact, needs to be changed.

If Sen. Clinton wins the nomination, she will not get my vote in November.

IndeedCollapse )

In other news, from Obama’s speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church, of MLK, Jr. fame, was amazing.

____________

Campaigning for Obama
Saturday: 12.01.08 | 10:21 pm


Between 27 Dec and 8 Jan I made Hanover, NH, my home and volunteered my time and efforts for Sen. Obama’s campaign for President. Despite my contributions, we lost -- as you may have noticed.

We dominated the region in which I spent the most time. Not the most surprising fact, though, given the nature of the electorate. Neither was our margin there large enough to counterbalance poorer than expected performance in the Manchester area.

Still, I had a great time. I’m good at campaigning. I convinced many -- not enough -- Edwards supporters to move to Obama. I earned the nickname “Dr. Phil” for my demeanor while persuading.

____________

Youtube of the Day
Friday: 14.12.07 | 3:44 pm


Am I alone in considering Penn to not have handled this avail well at all?


____________

Mondo Grosso @ ageHa
Sunday: 24.06.07 | 11:25 pm





Osawa Shin'ichi performed at Japan's largest club, ageHa, Friday night. I went.

Most of the evening I danced while thinking of Murakami Haruki's Kafka on the Shore. I read the Japanese version while simultaneously growing addicted to much of Osawa's latest remix album, UDON. As certain beats were played in the live performance, I recalled scenes and characters from the book. The woods of Shikoku play a significant role in the novel (which I highly recommend), and much of the music somehow has become linked to them.

Justin, Will, and Will's friend also came. Sho decided to stay home, though he later came to regret it, upon hearing how much fun I had.

I'm still high off it.

Being a straight evening, and dancing primarily alone, I felt slightly odd. How does one behave? Two boys came up and started to hold me sometime in the five hours I was dancing, but, I fled elsewhere shortly thereafter. They returned and we danced some more -- but it was not the night for sleaziness.

Osawa is playing in Osaka this Saturday. I want to go. But, I won't. July fourteenth he returns to Tokyo. I'm there. This time, Sho has promised to accompany.

Video of the event Friday has been posted on Osawa's MySpace page here. I'm somewhere in the front. Heh.

____________

New Blog, Friends Only
Thursday: 21.07.05 | 7:11 am


Finally making proper use of my domain, I've set up a Wordpress function at www.royharrison.com/wordpress. Its focus will be largely - surprise, surprise - Japan and other impersonal subjects. For those who care, the RSS feed is here.

I'll likely still use Livejournal from time to time to quench my need for spreading gossip. As such, I've made this journal heretofore friends only.

____________

More on Hentai; History of Japanese Gay Slang
Tuesday: 12.07.05 | 6:53 am


My thoughts on the term hentai continue their progression. From an article linked to by Matt here:

Such a linguistic arrangement may correspond to what has been called "the currently canonical trinity of 'heterosexuality,' 'homosexuality,' and bisexuality.' " but such simplicities as these cannot account for the varied aspects of sexual experience. In Japan, people living between doseiai (same-sex love) on one hand and okama ("faggot") or rezu ("dyke") on the other, exist in a narrow linguistic space indeed.

Mark McLelland, author of the present volume, advises that being hentai might be considered the equivalent of queer. Both then are useful terms in that they describe "a range of nonheterosexual and gender-variant identities, practices and communities," and thus allow us to discuss them.
Hentai does indeed seem to work on one level. Its composition contains the characters for changed/odd and figure/appearance, providing the quasi-neutral description of gays' roles in society. Hentai , however, surely has cultural baggage - which I'm discovering more completely day after day. To what extent those preconceived notions would negate any efficacy as a sexuality-identifier, I cannot say.

Interestingly, to me at least, is the term faggot mentioned in the article. Okama literally means honorable pot - not J-chan's pot, but Chef Roy's pot. Once when I commented of the paucity of equally effective kitchenware labels for lesbians I was pointed in the direction of Onabe. It also means honorable pot.

Okama once (still?) was a vulgar reference (Japanese PDF) to ass, so it stuck as a descriptor of those who have gay sex. Why the word referred originally to the derrier, I don't quite yet know. But if I were to wager a guess, it is a large-sized pot.

I can only presume that Onabe developed to provide that kitchenware equality I joked about earlier.

In researching this, I came across the Japanese equivalent of fag hag. A lovely word, that one is. It's the burnt rice stuck on the insides of an okama.

Edit: I just noticed I neglected to include the Japanese term for fag hag. It's Okoge.

____________

Three names
Monday: 11.07.05 | 3:16 pm


Kita-Chu's Awesome-Sensei and I spoke of three students' names today. I remarked that 油田(あぶらた ABURATA), meaning oil and field was odd. He concurred.

He brought to my attention 汐月(しおつき SHIOTSUKI). He could not explain the meaning of the first kanji, except that it has a relationship to salt. Jim Breen's dictionary tells me it means eventide; tide; salt water; opportunity. Together with the second character, moon, it's a neat name.

Most interesting was the name 左右田(そうだ SODA). Literally, left right field. My first attempt to read it gave me サウダ, which reflects off of the the Chinese readings of each character (as opposed to the Japanese readings). That being incorrect, I can only assume that the name's pronunciation is a throwback to classical conventions that had さう (sa and u) read as そう (so).

____________

Livestrong
Saturday: 09.07.05 | 12:31 pm


Last night I gave my Livestrong bracelet, which for me was primarily fashion over social responsibility, to a Japanese woman whose husband and son died of cancer. Unaware of the trend into which I had bought, she shamed me with her praise of my contribution to what she came to believe was a phenomenal cause. I will redeem my shallowness, however, in due time. I have been placed in charge of distributing to all of Roi-shi the bracelets.

Edit: This woman.

More details: IM conversationCollapse )

____________

Expressing want
Thursday: 07.07.05 | 10:49 am


I get slightly annoyed when I see and hear Japanese people Anglicize their language. The sentence 'I drink water' (僕は水を飲む boku-wa mizu-wo nomu) mirrors its English equivalent perfectly. Direct objects are direct objects, subjects are subjects, and verbs are verbs.

Add to the mix, however, 'I want to drink water' (僕は水が飲みたい boku-wa mizu-ga nomitai) and things get tricky. 'Want' as a verb does not exist in Japanese. Instead the root verb (to drink) is modified so that want is indicated. This change results in the destruction of that English-Japanese equivalence. What was the direct object (the water) becomes the subject; and the verb (to drink) becomes an adjective. There's no good way to literally translate it into English, but an attempt is 'The water is wanted to be drunk.' (The Japanese has no element of the passive voice in it.) It's actually pretty neat.

Background finished, I return to my complaint. Students, friends, and colleagues often will maintain some parity with the original 'I drink water' sentence. That is to say that the water remains the direct object, but the verb still transforms into its adjectival structure. It becomes 水を飲みたい (mizu-wo nomitai). And I feel like a tool when I speak in ostensibly correct Japanese.

Post Script: I just asked a student his thoughts on the matter, and he said both were correct. He then pulled aside a teacher who had just entered the staff room, and she too said they were correct, and then, realizing the difference between direct objects and subjects, backtracked. She pulled a 'Technically speaking...' Then she added more detail. In the instance of wanting to drink water, the water qua direct object is used when selecting water over some other option.

When I think of what originally inspired this post, and what it later became, I cannot help but laugh.

____________

The Yamato Dynasty: Christianity
Wednesday: 06.07.05 | 7:14 am


In conversations with Shohei I made known some thoughts concerning Christianity and Japan. The crux of my argument was that with the opening of Japan, Christianity became largely a religion of the elite. Intellectuals, businessmen, and socialites were Christians. It's telling, for instance, that ENDO Shusaku is known popularly as a comedic writer, though educated readers and critics qualify his Christian themed works as his best.

This is not to discount as unimportant the anti-Christian persecution leading up to Japanese fascism. Indeed, that some high-powered Christians remained so committed (aided by their secrecy) despite a change in circumstances causes one to consider all the more Christianity in Japan as a religion of the few. Only the truly converted continued along in their faith. Similarly, only those with enough social protection and independence were able to remain Christian in their semi-public positions.

In The Yamato Dynasty much is made of the Christians inside the Japanese imperial family. (Though the two authors' hype is not met by sufficient detail in the core of the book.) Largely Empresses, and women in general, these Christian Quakers sought to influence wartime officials to end Japan's participation in the conflicts of World War II.

The book in general bills itself as a biography of the imperial house beginning from the first rumbles of the Meiji Restoration. Unfortunately, too much attention is paid to questions of royal cat fights than society-altering conflicts between the Satsuma and Choshu partisans. Both elements are included in the work, but the emphasis rests clearly on the former.

____________

Thoughts on Independence Day
Tuesday: 05.07.05 | 9:31 pm


Today I spoke with Jason about his Independence Day plans, and then I read past journal entries of my own previous Independence Day adventures. Later, Jasiri - an exboyfriend - IM'ed me out of the blue asking about a particular Independence Day when he visited me in Vermont. A bit later, Ned and I partook in an online memory session about last year's celebrations, and the summer that surrounded the holiday. It was the first time, I believe, that he and I have spoken about our relationship since it came to its unpleasant end.

Moving forward with a new and exciting part of my life, I can't help but look back.

____________

After you fumer, be sure to fumu.
Tuesday: 05.07.05 | 8:09 pm


I won't explain the title above. You need to know Japanese. Trust, however, that it's hilarious.

randomcarbon: I have this track.... and it's in French
randomcarbon: and ... one line goes, et puis je fume, which means and then I'll smoke.
randomcarbon: which is fine and all, but the fu sound bothers me.

Will: ... it bothers you?

randomcarbon: I don't know if it's because the accent is wrong, or if my own French accent has been Japanized, but in the track it sounds fyume, whereas I prefer a more pure fu sound.

Will: That would be because your accent has become Japanized, I think.

randomcarbon: Perhaps. I'll ask around.
Comments from my French speaking friends are appreciated.

____________

Camping
Sunday: 03.07.05 | 10:35 pm


Justin, Nichole, pman5000, Wendy, John and I braved the wilds of Tochigi- and Fukushima-kens this weekend, armed with little more than a tent a single canteen for the six of us.

Ahem.

We went camping. Unpromising weather forecasts developed into bright blue skies and pleasantly warm temperatures. Two boy scouts and one who may as well have been one handled our party exquisitely. I, on the other hand, tried my best to stay out of the way while the Alpha-males did what they did. Lowered expectations blessed me with what became the one of the best weekends in years.



We all swam for a bit, though not in the above pictured river. Ours was more shallow, and painfully frigid. Still, fun. Before retiring to sleep, Justin discovered a slithery visitor keeping warm under our tent. The process of evicting our squatter proved comical. I hate snakes.

____________

Batman Begins
Saturday: 02.07.05 | 7:47 am


Being the first of the month, Japanese cinemas reduce their fees significantly. Will and I partook in the steal by seeing Batman Begins - a film that I uncharacteristically had been wanting to see for some time. I rarely anticipate movies.

And it did not disappoint. Except in this way: Now, I can scarcely stomach the thought of watching any of the other attempts at Batman interpretation, with the notable exception of Burton's work. It raised the bar too high with its splendid depth. Brooding, as I've mentioned before, is a sure way to grab my attention. And Bruce Wayne's torment, particularly in the romantic realm, resonated with my tastes.

This is a film I'll be purchasing.

____________

Conversation with Okasan, Imai-san
Saturday: 02.07.05 | 7:32 am


I posed to Okasan the same questions raised in this post concerning literary instances of violating the sacredness of one's home. She responded at length, and largely in a fearful manner. She recounted an instance some four years ago that took place in Setagaya (Tokyo). An intruder made use of a family's possessions, and then proceeded to murder the four members upon their return.

Imai-san had a more appreciative response to my questions. She suggested it to be simply playing off of a more developed conception of the fear of having one's inner group or self violated. "More developed" than Western fears of the same. In Western artistry, the fear comes from the thought of being killed.

Put together, these two conversations helped only cloud the issue.

____________

Dream Log
Friday: 01.07.05 | 6:33 am


With my sister and mother dolled up in the manner of Paris Hilton, the three of us are tilling a plot of land for farming, by hand. The two ladies had been working on the project for some time before I joined them, and expressed nothing but indifference to the occasional turkey - three, four times the size of a normal turkey - hidden under the soil. 'They're there for flavor.'

One turkey morphed into what looked like a human scalp, complete with closely cut blond hair.

____________

 

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