Category Archives: Mortality

Voddy, bloody birthday

vodka2028A present from son J.

My family seems to see me as a one-dimensional, alcohol-obsessed stereotype.

Lucky me!

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Filed under Mortality, Sprogs

Old punks don’t fade away, they become endearing

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Public Image Ltd Perform At Heaven In London. Nicked from the Guardian, without permission.

John Lydon and Public Image Ltd apparently appeared on Later with Jools Holland (a fab music show on British TV for people who actually like music rather than pop stars). I didn’t see the show (chiz) but I was struck with this photo of Mr. Lydon performing.

See what Mr. Anarchy in the UK has around his neck? Yes, his reading glasses. I love it. As an aging person with punk proclivities from my younger days who has this year picked up his first pair of reading glasses, I thoroughly approve.

I note that Mr. Lydon wears his round his neck. I have impaled mine in my crown where they are wearing grooves in my scalp. Apparently, to complete middle age, I need a megaphone now.

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Filed under Mortality

Ode to the joy of going back to work

Oh, joy! The Golden Week holiday is almost at an end and I can get back to the office tomorrow.
I mean, I was getting pretty fed up of a week of getting up when I wanted to, of drinking beer and wine when I felt like it, of eating unreasonably big piles of unreasonably good food. I was getting pissed off with going exploring with my camera to Nara-machi, Shin Sekai, Shin Imamiya, Hozenji — where I had to listen to live jazz, buy art, and eat and drink a lot more. And I was totally miffed with hanging out with the kids. It really stuck in my craw that I did almost nothing productive except some picture framing and planting fennel and habanero in the garden. And I was bored rigid with having a family barbecue today and sitting in the garden till late with more wine. No, I’ll be well pleased to get back to my nice grey office tomorrow. Can’t fucking wait.

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Filed under Expat, Iroiro, Mortality

108 bongs

I was just proofing the magazine’s events pages and found my curiosity piqued. Ouch. The events listing contained several references to the Buddhist custom of ringing a bell 108 times on the night of the new year. Every new year, throngs upon throngs of people head out into the night time cold just to dong or ding or bang or bong (depending on your local) a Buddhist bell 108 times — that number being the number of Buddhist temporal distractions from Nirvana. As evry fule kno, according to Buddhism, the world doesn’t exist at all, but is nevertheless a vale (or veil) of tears and only by separating ourselves from earthly desires can we hope to attain enlightenment and reach Nirvana. Or, in other words, it is our attachment to this realm through desire that keeps us in the corporeal poo.

One hundred and eight temptations? That is an awful lot? Or is it? If it is distraction by the here and now that keeps us from enlightenment then everything must be a temptation and everything is a lot bigger number than 108, doh! But Buddhism is very specific that there are 108 of them, not an infinite number, not 107, not 109.

I began to wonder what these 108 temptations are.

A quick rummage online produced approximately nothing. Not even Wikipedia could help, lamely telling me, “108 is the natural number following 107 and preceding 109”, and that 108 is the number of times Japanese people ring the bell at the end of the year and that each ring represents, etc, etc.

Eventually, I found out from Sherman, a on a manga site:

Turns out there aren’t actually 108 named temptations — the number is just generally significant in those religious circles. It’s more symbolic than an actual list, it seems.

So that’s that for enlightenment. The notion of a non-specific list of temptations to avoid in order to achieve Nirvana suggests that you need to have reached enlightenment to know what it was you didn’t do to get there. And enlightenment seems to require a big petulant streak that forbids you from revealing the path to pure, elevated being.

No, shan’t! It’s my enlightenment, yar boo sucks! Etc.

So, I decided to compose a tentative list of 108 earthly temptations that might keep me here rather than in an ethereal otherworld.

So here goes.

  1. Twiglets.
  2. Cats. Whenever I sit down, mine’s running all over me. Up over the legs to the window sill and back again and threatening to knock over my drink, then walking on the computer keyboard before curling up on my lap or head butting me with affection while purring like a loony. And frankly, when the mogg is doing these things I don’t give a toss about Nirvana or enlightenment, I’m just happy to give him a fuss and a tickle. Cats must be the ultimate anti-enlightenment temptation. Hence, presumably, the Henry Cow song: ‘Nirvana for Mice’ — with no cats around, the ultimate home of the soul must be a pretty cool place for rodents.
  3. A nice cup of tea (as opposed to a horrible cup of tea). Honestly, when life is feeling too lifey, nothing beats a cuppa for getting you back on top of things. Apart perhaps from a pot of magic mushrooms.
  4. Magic mushrooms.
  5. Glorious sunsets.
  6. Mountain vistas.
  7. A cold, crisp, clear winter day, preferably experienced walking by a river in England with the prospect of a stop in a pub just up ahead.
  8. Outer space.
  9. Chatting with my daughter.
  10. A good book.
  11. Hugs.
  12. Randomly inserting ‘erm …’ into a list to make it sound like I’m stuck for ideas when I’m not really.
  13. Anchovies.
  14. Ice cream — especially a cocktail of Häagen-Dazs grown up flavours like Belgian chocolate, walnut, honey, macadamia, etc. (Not including anchovy flavour ice cream, which anyway isn’t in Häagen-Dazs’s repertoire, though I believe there’s a place in Taiwan that does it).
  15. Giving up on time-wasting lists before you’ve finished.

No, I don’t really want to plod on to number 108. Judging by the list I have here, I have enough things to keep me happy here, so I’ll postpone Nirvana to another life.

But what about other people? What are your 108 temptations keeping you from rapture?

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Filed under Japan, Mortality

Back to work

Appropriate cemetery view from the office window.

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Filed under Mortality, Trousers

New trousers

The original Trouserpress, alas, has pressed its last wrinkle. The PHP went delinquent on me, and rather than mend its ways, I have re-started the blog at this address, and in snazzier form. I hope.

There were a few good posts on the old press and I leave them up. You can stroll down my memory lane here.

If you are an avid and regular reader of Trouserpress (if there is such a person), you might want to consider bookmarking this page or resetting the RSS because all future posts will appear here.

Bananas to all.

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Filed under Books, Expat, Iroiro, Japan, Mortality, Scotch, Shorts, Spam, Trousers, Weed