Tuesday, December 22, 2009


AZUMA-SAN


One afternoon over the weekend I was at home alone working in my upstairs zone of solitude when I heard what sounded like a truck pull up in front of the house and thought it must be a delivery of some kind, so started to get up to go to the door, when I heard a truck door slam and a loud voice talking, so I then thought it must be a couple of the propane guys come to check the tanks or something, but then the voice went around the front of the house instead of out back where the tanks are, then out in front of the deck I heard this loud conversation, no one from the road ever goes there, because there's a chain across the driveway and its just... private, and privacy is pretty much boilerplate around here, so I went downstairs and looked out front to see who was walking around on our property talking so loud about what, maybe someone from the water committee or something, assuming that we're not home because our car wasn't there (Echo was out doing some shopping and yogaing) but when I looked out front there was no one, the voice had moved elsewhere already, out among the firewood and into the garden, so I went to the big kitchen window and looked out at where the voice now was and saw an agile elderly fellow poking his head in among the stacks of firewood and saying something I couldn't hear, no one else around, he was talking to himself, went here and there looking and talking, then he turned and I recognized him, it was Azuma-san, the elderly expert who felled a few worrisome trees for us, climbs giant oaks like a 12 year old but with a chain saw, then stands way up there and trims the mighty tree to a new and more cooperative elegance, in a display of arboreal agility that would even be impressive in a 25-year-old - he's about 80 now - and there he was, poking around among the wood and talking to himself like a solo lumberjack, so I went outside and called his name, said good day, turned out he'd come to ask about our woodstove, was very curious about how much it cost, how it was made, how well it worked and so on, seems he wants to get one for himself. If anybody can make good use of a woodstove, it's Azuma-san. In a fair exchange, he gave me some good tips on my hiratake mushroom growing. Then he roared off in his big truck, on his way to the next big tree.

14 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

Azuma-san sounds like an amazing, lovely person.

Martin J Frid said...

My water-lady talks to herself too, when she enters to check the meter back in my veggy garden. She once told me she would rather enter the northern path, but I don't clear that, so she has to walk the southern path. But that's where I have my sliding-door windows, and they are sometimes open, so she said, she was worried about privacy.

Now she just walks real fast, passing by and talking to herself, making sure I know she is there.

mabel said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://maternitymotherhood.net

KenElwood said...

Ha ha ! Good one. :-)

ken

Apprentice said...

Love Azuma-san and those like him. Had the good fortune of meeting several like him during my 12 years in Kyoto. (dialect like wow)
One question - did you ever get his sake recipe?

R. Brady said...

Yes, the Azuma-sans are the true engines of the world... I didn't think to get his sake recipe; I'll try next time I see him, but I doubt he has it written down, I think he carries everything in his head except his tools... btw Apprentice, can't find yr blog... And as to yr earlier query re the Kyoto Connection (tks fr the memory!) could that have been the Studio Varie time (till latter 80's)?

Apprentice said...

I bet you're right about his sake recipe being in his head - it'd be really interesting to see how he does it. These are the kinds of things that make me want to move back to Jp.
As for my blog - I put most of my 2 cents on facebook - but do eventually plan to start the blog thing too.

OK - I think maybe it was Studio Varie where you used to read - was that on the east side of Kyoto? They moved the venue up north and that is when we lost our dose of Bob each month or so.

Anyways, I have a recording of one night on cassette tape (no videocam back then) that I am thinking of posting on youtube - with your permission of course...

R. Brady said...

Apprentice... Studio Varie was a small club a block or so east of Higashi-oji, above Marutamachi up near Kyodai. Pls let me know when your blog is up; and if I don' t sound like an idiot on that tape, you have my permission. I'd like to hear myself carrying on some 20 years ago... Tks.

Apprentice said...

Ok - thanks Bob. Yep, that was the place.
In my humble opinion, no, you don't come off the fool on the tapes - and the live audience is fun.
I only had the one night recorded though and remember wishing on a few other nights that I had brought my little walkman with me (the sound is surprisingly good). Now, is there a photo of you from the Studio you might have buried somewhere?
It'd be nice to pair that with the recording when I post to youtube.

R. Brady said...

I'll check to see if anyone I know took such a photo, and let you know...

Apprentice said...

Ok - Bob - here we go.
The first example is now posted on youtube with the photo from your book "Further On This Floating Bridge Of Dreams" - which coincidentally is your profile pic on your blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVcLj3ZchFE

I'll hold off on loading any more just in case you come up with pics of you doing readings (in Studio Varie would be ice, but if you have others of you doing readings elsewhere, that'd be great too).

willson said...

If I were to wager a guess at why, I’d say that users don’t “browse” forms. The interaction style users engage in with forms is different, and requires its own study and design best practices.
online marketing

Gabriel Bennett said...

Exchange is more disadvantageous than it is fair, imo

R. Brady said...

"Billy Mays was always on the TV. He came into our houses and yelled at us to buy things. He is a true American hero."