Wednesday, 28 December 2022

One runner came first. All the runners win.



I wait on the grass. I start from that line over there. Check.

Two more cycling races. I watch the cyclists silently and effortlessly speed around the rack. Legs pumping they peer out from under helmets. Their speed is amazing. And the way they all bunch up and ride close together.

Waiting to run it is horrifically hot. I need more water. My bottle is empty. I wander and ask and a man helps me. It feels dangerously hot. I don’t want to collapse. Please don’t collapse. I think I can make 200 meters. I hope they have water at the finish line.

The race starts. Run fast. Pump those legs. Big strides. I hear them coming. They pass me. I subconsciously slow down to let them past as they speed up to pass me.

Cross the finish line. What joy. What bliss. I shake hands. Everybody is happy. Everybody breathes deeply and leans on themselves.

We all took ourselves to our physical limits. We all ran as fast as we could. We all found out something about ourselves. We now all know who is the fastest. We know who won.

I already knew I hate the heat. I found out that my mind is quicker than my legs.

My mind thinks the present system is a mental disaster for the front-runner.

I think about the Sydney Hobart yacht race. A handicap race. Overall winner (gets all the publicity) and a handicap winner who is announced days later.

The Melbourne Cup is a handicap horse race. Weights are designed to even up the field. That is what we need. Make the faster runners wear a weight belt. All runners start together.

After the race I wander around and meet a couple of people who are physically challenged. I say: I am happy to run. Exert myself physically.

I then feel really bad. I’ve been insensitive. I am sorry about what I said. They would not have been able to run as I did.  Hopefully they read this.

Everybody is different. Everybody has a different back story. Everybody is different physically. I would like to see all healthy. Physically, emotionally socially and mentally. There are many ways of climbing the mountain.

I was lucky to be able to run in the Bikes and Spikes carnival. It suited me.

The future involves me boring people by recommending running in coming athletic carnivals.

Go for the gap...



Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Japan: Day 14b

To understand Japan two days is good. Two years is not long enough.

Trainee monk made to sweep pebbles all day. To find God.
The doorman is polite bows smiles taxi driver is polite waits for pedestrians. Pedestrians feel safe. Assume the car will do the right thing. 

At every shrine we are told why it was built. The story always involved bloodshed, violence and samurai. They were proud of these stories.

WW2 was ignored. It happened elsewhere.
The bomb was dropped because America is rich. A lot of the People in Hiroshima are peaceful. They were against the war.

Japanese people do what they are told. Today they are told to think of others. To be polite honest. To not steal. We saw bikes lying around without chains. We saw countless pedestrians not crossing an empty road because the traffic lights said don’t cross. Waiting  until the green man says walk.

Japan: Day 14

An unstructured day. We meet some of our team at breakfast.

Me: Good to meet you we enjoyed our trip with you. Go well today and in the future today. Go well.

We take a self-guided tour around Kyoto. Feel less like a tourist in ancient Japan Land at Disneyland. Feel more like a local wandering around looking for a place to eat or something to buy.
Stumble upon a place serving food. Pictures of dishes. Looks alright. Deserted. One man greets us.
Us: Do you serve lunch?
He sweeps us to a table. Gives us a menu. We point at what we want.
He shakes his head and points elsewhere.
I think we have to choose what rice what main dish.
We point again.
This time he is happy and departs. We have seen no one else so assume he will do the cooking.
After a very short time he returns carrying large plates of food. Many small delicate elaborate lumps of food. They are warm and delicious.
Food finished and he returns with the main meal. More tasty Korean food.
We eventually depart. I point at my camera.
He grins.
I grab my mask lower it and say: No mask.
He understands and lowers his mask. He smiles.
We say thank you many times loudly in case he doesn’t understand the word but I think he did.

Japan: Day 13

 Breakfast: An Asian couple approaches the door man.

Can we have one order for two people?  Because it’s large too much for one of us.
Staff: I’ll see. (he disappears).
He returns and says: We have prepared. Follow me.

?They spoke English. They wanted an American breakfast.

Past a cemetery.  

Guide: During Bon festival you visit family grave and leave presents for deceased. Tobacco, favourite food or sake.
My friend’s mother did not like it when she left sake for her father.
He drank too much. Why he is where he is.

Guide: When you visit a family home. Take a present. Wrapped fruit. Tatami mats on floor. No square house with four rooms because four is unlucky.

Miho museum: No photos permitted inside.

The building is a work of art. The building is full of a private collection from everywhere. Ancient pieces from Asia and the Middle East.

Inside I wander disinterested as our guide says where piece is from and how old. The age continually startles surprises. Pieces similar to what the English have been accused of stealing from…

Me: What is this piece doing in Japan?
Tourists: We don’t talk about that.  (shock)

The good news is people in Japanese can see these pieces. Increase the size of their world.

We find a café and sup on coffee and cake.

I asked the waiter: Where do you point Percy at the Porcelain?
Waiter: I don’t understand your colloquial slang but are you attempting to elucidate where to micturate?
Me: Yeah I want a slash.
He points behind me.
Me: Thanks mate.

Japan: Day 12b

 Evening in Kyoto.

We have a Maiko to entertain us. A Maiko is a trainee geisha.

Tough life. Marry job goes. Post children job in hospitality cafe etc.
Dying industry. Too tough. Work hard. Long hours. Poor pay. Hair makeup and clothes have to be perfect. Have to sleep with hair made up. Can’t disturb hair. Pillow below hair. On side.

Acting their part in Ancient Japan Land.

Can’t relax with boyfriends. Can't pop out for a pizza. Can't pop out to see the latest film.

Me: Is it difficult to become a Maiko?

Maiko: Three apply for every one accepted.  Half drop out in first year.
Me: When did you decide to become a Geisha?
Maiko: When I was 12: I saw them and they looked so beautiful.
Us: What do you study?

Maiko: Sing and dance.
Us: What did your friends say?
Maiko: I didn’t tell them (giggles),
Us: How much time off?

Maiko: Three days off a month.

Us: What do you wear on your day off?

Maiko: Day off no kimono. Clothes worn depends on hair.  Hair styles done up. Wear a kimono if hair is done up. Done up hair lasts 5 days.

Us: Who do you work for?

Maiko: When I study tourists like you and groups of students travelling.
When I graduate more Japanese business man. Less tourists like you.

Japan: Day 12

 Day in Kyoto.

Stunning breakfast. No tourists for years. They decide to give all the food these tourists would have eaten to us. I eat like a queen. Nibble on what I decide to eat. They are not going to tell me what to put in my mouth.

Guide: Japanese go overseas no 1 Hawaii the USA. No 2 is South Korea. For young girls. TV shows K-pop groups good food just like us.

Guide: Zen Buddhist monks meditate in the garden.  Garden very important including the pebbles.

Guide: The pebbles around a temple symbolise purity.
Pebbles come from creek bed. Continually washed.

Guide: Chopsticks. Chinese don’t have the same customs. They will point with them and touch the table with them.
When in America I eat Asian food rice with chopsticks and A food with knife and fork or fingers hamburger
In J people eat western and J. Nobody only eats W. They love rice and chopsticks.
In Korea they use metal chopsticks.
Make chopsticks from cedar bamboo or any wood. The scraps the leftover wood.
Many families have Shinto shrine and Buddhist temples. Every morning clap at Shinto and pray at Buddhist tremble. Do both.


Rickshaw: travel helps me live my life. Food gardens . Rickshaw is not going to alter my life. Cute little game I pretend to be happy tourist Driver takes photos plays his role.
Disney land: historic Japan Land. Full of cute customs happy people. Land of the Mikado. No Pearl Harbour or Hiroshima.

Japan: Day 11b

 Spend the night on the Art Island. Naoshima.


Visit the Art House project: Instillations in people’s homes. Continuous streams of visitors. I love the wacky instillations. Owners are proud. 

Japan: Day 11

Spend the night on the Art Island. Naoshima. Visit museums on the Island. 


Guide: This is a very famous painting... Made by...I already told you about him.
Guide: The artist was trying to prove…To represent…He was thinking about…You will notice... I’m sure you've seen his work…
Us: Fantastic

Us: Ohm yeah 

We visit a museum displaying pictures by Monet. No photos allowed.

Guide: Monet. Shadow and light  Choose one of your own.

The snobbish part of me thinks the pictures look out of place. Incongruous. They don’t deserve to see such paintings.  No visible security.


The other part of me thinks the paintings should be seen by everybody.

The Monet Paintings have led to local artists copying and learning. Local paintings hang next to famous paintings. Local ceramics. Jugs plates bowls.

Us tourists: I am so glad she is showing up around and telling us.