I was just thinking to myself this afternoon, if I put off going out into my messy garden to do those long-overdue gardening tasks it will start to rain and I will be able to say it’s a shame it’s raining because I can’t now go into my messy garden to do those long-overdue gardening tasks, and it started raining. I was about to say it’s a shame it’s raining because I can’t now go into my messy garden to do those long-overdue gardening tasks when Eiko said it’s a shame it’s raining because you can’t now go into our messy garden to do those long-overdue gardening tasks, which amused and gratified me because it suggested we had a happy and guilt-free consensus on the subject. Eiko then remembered the rotting trellises propped against the side of the house that I had promised to clear up months ago and proceeded to remind me of them in no uncertain terms. The no uncertain terms persuaded me out in the messy garden and the rain to set about those long-overdue gardening tasks, with special emphasis on the rotting trellises, thereby doing a job in the rain that I could have done without rain had I not procrastinated.
The Japanese taste for cute kitsch has spread round the world like an embarrassing social virus. In every language school in Japan you’ll find teachers from western countries who have given up perfectly good jobs, partners and lives just to come here and spend all their spare time in stationery shops, toy stores, gadget emporia, maid cafes, manga shops and the like, buying up armloads of little monsters, cute creatures, and … and … you know, stuff.
In the modern Japanese way, everything has to be decorated with stomach churningly adorable nonsense.
This obsession includes decorating your email, photos, and office documents with smiley faces, animated crabs and dinky piles of poo. I’m sure that the prime minister signs off on legislation with a stamp of a loveable little cat saying ‘nya nya nya I am heartful world with you’.
When the iPhone launched here, sales were feeble. Apple eventually discovered that the lack of emoji to decorate email was a turn off for the Japanese punter. Apple installed an emoji function and sales took off. Any phone you buy here, smart phone or not, is full of these tiny graphics, and the first thing we do with a new phone is scroll through the cache to see what’s available.
Then the damn things went pandemic.
And so it is that even this jaded old curmudgeon got to wondering how to get emoji on his very grown-up MacBook Pro, and became quite irritable when he couldn’t find any convenient way to do it. Why are Mac users denied this trivial, inane distraction? Does the Apple cachet put us above vacuity?
Not at all, as it turns out.
Today I discovered that you can very easily use emoji on your Mac. They are right there in the operating system but hidden away so that only a hopeless nerd would find them. It’s as if Mr Jobs was so embarrassed that he had to have these darn pics in the house that he did the equivalent of hide them behind the fridge in an old paper bag.
You can use the emoji and all sorts of other diverting symbols in your email, word processing docs and even file names. Almost everywhere except bloody WordPress it seems (where I am now).
So here’s how to get them.
Open a window in Finder and go
In the dialogue box that appears, type
and look for the app named CharacterPalette.
So that you don’t have to go through that search each time you want a smiley, you might want to drag the Character Palette to your dock.
Once activated, the bugger is a floater and will stay on top of everything but I haven’t found a preference to control that. To use: simply drag and drop your emoji from the palette to wherever you want it.
So. I can no longer joke ‘I don’t have the emoji to smile’. I am wondering whether I can drag and drop a smiley on my face so that I don’t have to bother with the real thing.
Pal M who is on holiday in Hakone dropped in on a cafe for a cuppa, but apparently nearly lost his tea when he noticed this picture on the shelf.
It seems the place offers muffin with your tiffin.
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.
G (17) has been playing basketball for about a year and in addition to his planned career as rock n roll hero has decided he is going to be a pro dunker too.
On a recent Sunday, there was a basketball fest for local high schools, so E and I went along to watch G do his Michael Jordan thing.
Alarm bells rang before the game started as the two teams took to the court.
The opposition, a school from nearby T, sporting smart green kit, launched themselves into warmup drills of military precision and complexity while chanting things of, well, military precision and complexity. It struck me as a display of martial prowess and discipline and an act designed to intimidate any opponent. Nara’s version of the Haka, perhaps. It intimidated me, and I wasn’t even playing. There also seemed to be about three times as many in the T squad as G’s squad which sloped onto the court, all attitude and bad-boy haircuts and wearing punk t-shirts. I thought the punk shirts were the team kit until I realised they were just wearing them to disguise how pristine and clean their mum’s had made their kit.
G’s team is in for a thrashing, I thought, and parental prescience was spot on again as the military machine from T went scores up in what felt like seconds.
G, the biggest on his team, was sterling in blocking the opposition, dragging, shoving and pushing and giving away more points through fouls than all the other players on both teams combined. Confusingly, he played the same way on offence as he did in defence, harassing and shoving the opposition defenders rather than watching the ball and trying to evade them to score baskets.
His idiosyncratic style extended to an aversion for possession. If anyone had the temerity to pass to him, he would pass on within a stride. It seemed that actually holding the ball got in the way of the pushing and blocking.
The difference in the two teams showed even during the time outs (what is the correct bb terms for those breaks in play? Tiffin?). At each stop, the guys and gals on the bench for the green team leapt from their seats so the players could sit down. They made a semi-circle and fanned their resting players with towels and fans while the coach harangued them for scoring lots of baskets but … but what I couldn’t figure.
No one on the benches stood for G’s team. The team may as well have fanned those on the bench and the ‘coach’ (quotes explained in a sec) seemed to be saying — from his chair — ‘you lose some, you really lose some’.
The game went on and the green team revealed a knack for bouncing the ball off the heads of G’s team and into the basket.
The score-keeper for G’s team went into a sort of catatonia, and when they did get the occasional basket he would usually fail to notice until the other score keeper had jabbed him into flipping over the numbers. The green team also showed a talent for getting revenge on G’s odd confrontational style of playing by sticking elbows into him whenever they could but without infracting the rules. Well into the second half I learned from E that the ‘coach’ of G’s team had never played, knew nothing about the sport and wasn’t a bit interested in it. He wasn’t, as such, the coach, and nor did the team have anyone to fit that description. The ‘coach’ was a teacher who had to be there, because someone had to be. He was basically the driver and chief smoker of cigarettes. Whatever G’s team knew about the sport they had picked up from the seniors in the school.
G has opined many a time that if could actually watch the professional game on telly, he might learn something. I hadn’t realised until today that the TV was likely the only coaching he was going to get.
I won’t say G’s team was thrashed. More hounded to extinction.
Everyone has been too polite to remember the actual final score, but it was in the (basket)ball park of 40 to 130. G did get one basket so he’s that much closer to a professional career.
I don’t want to be a parental poo-poo, but better stick to the day job, I told him later. Stick to the rock n roll and the drumming. That’s where your true talent for hitting things becomes useful.