Friday, February 5, 2010

Late Luck

From boingboing:
In Japan, February 3rd is Setsubun no hi. Technically the day symbolizes the first day of spring, but this year, with snow from Monday night still lingering on rooftops, it hardly felt like it. Most of us who grew up here think of Setsubun simply as the annual bean-throwing festival. It's a sort of follow up to New Years — to bring good luck in and keep bad luck out, we throw roasted soybeans inside and out while reciting the mantra: "Oniwa soto! Fukuwa uchi!" or, Demons out! Good luck in! After the ceremony, everyone gets to eat the same number of soybeans as his or her own age.
I am late this year, but I am going to practice the chant. It's a good idea to shoo those demons out regularly. I have some edamame in the freezer. I'm sure I can eat at least 42.

My father brought home an oni mask from Okinawa. (A bit like these but with a longer nose.) Made of painted plaster, it was too heavy to wear, I'm pretty sure it was just made to decorate the wall. (My mother allowed it to be hung on a home office wall but it was not prominently displayed in our home.) It was red and had fangs and a big old nose. I read now that it's a tengu mask. The tengu is a birdman demon (but it sounds like a friendly demon, which has me confused) mixed up with the story of Buddhist hermit monks who lived alone in the mountains. And then there's the fertility aspect of the big dong nose. And that there is a different symbol set than the one I grew up with.

I have started to re read Jane Eyre twice now. But I am finding our Jane's hard start in life discouraging. I don't know whether I have the stomach for what's coming: miserable school and chillblains and the stolen egg. Maybe I'll try a different classic instead. I'm also reading Sea of Poppies which reminds me of a Patrick O'Brien novel crossed with a history of the British opium trade in China. Plus Indian characters' points of view. It's good stuff.

Ancient of Entries
"Blogging is for old people." Embracing my maturity, I am proud to have an attention span. According to that study, anyone under 26 is texting, no tweeting or blogging for those younguns. I am curious to see what happens with texting over the next five to ten years. It seems simultaneously very useful, very distracting and very awkward. I will guess that it stays on the scene but evolves. Or will it be overtaken by some other technology?

Katy keeps getting mine. She's had that ability since she was fourteen months old. Last night I was not at my most diplomatic and a homework session had us complaining at each other. There were raised voices but we quit before the screaming and slamming of doors. The intensity of her negative expressions galls me in some particular way. I need to get a handle on that. Because yelling at my children because they're grumpy or rude isn't going to help. Katy was extra tired last night and once I realized that it helped me not be so reactive. A field trip to the Kansas History Museum in Topeka can exhaust a kid.

Tomorrow we are going to go around with a real estate person and look at rentals. (As it's been whirling down all day I guess we'll do it in plenty of snow. It changed from rain to snow this morning at about 7am and the snow just poured down. It was beautiful. And slippy getting to work.) We've gotten word that the mortgage holder is not moving quickly and there has been no sheriff's sale yet. So we have at least another month in the house if we want it. Both Nod and I are ready to sign on for a new place. But he is still more willing to leave the school district than I. So I am reading the listings to see if we can find something workable in our current neighborhood. I'm going to keep trying and not get discouraged. Even if I don't find anything at least I will know that I tried.


Lucy said...

I tried to reread Jane Eyre a few years ago, but couldn't get through it, and it was so riveting when I was a teenager. In some ways it seems as though kids' powers of application can be stronger than adults. I liked 'Villette' when I read it as an adult, though perhaps 'liked' isn't quite the word - I laboured hard with it for a while then suddenly it was under my skin and it felt a bit like being ill or in love. Weird.

Hope the house hunting yields what you wish for, and mother - daughter interaction smoothens!

amenaneri said...

Have you never read Jane Eyre? I read all of the Brontes I could lay my hands on about 10-15 years ago when I was in my Austen kick and was looking for more period stuff after reading all of hers. Although the orphanage is grim, the humor of Jane is the stuff to look for and to me, the best part of the book--she's a very funny person.

And, there's always the videos if you just can't bear the book--I'm quite fond of the Timothy Dalton/Zelah Clark version from the 80s--it's a clunky BBC version in many ways, but it really gets the humor of the book. Unlike the William Hurt/Charlotte Gainsborough version--bleah--way too grim and humorless. I just looked on IMDB and there are 2 other British adaptations that are pretty decent from more recently that I've seen at least part of, but I prefer the Dalton/Clarke one.

You will find a great place to live. School district aside, I still think the communal living place sounded awfully appealing...

Nimble said...

Lucy: Thanks for the good wishes. I will think about Villette. Some books can take over the brain for a while.

Amenaneri: Yes I read Jane Eyre in college I think. And loved it. I don't remember having any trouble with her childhood travails before. I love that you have this very specific expert knowledge of the dramatizations.

Bee said...

I have been a Jane Eyre lover for 30 years. I don't know why I respond so to her suffering and stoicism, but for some reason I do.

My daughter has actually said those exact words: that blogging is for old people. Fine with me; let them have Facebook and its inanities. Do you think that we will be the last generation who will cherish correct spelling and complete sentences?