Friday, July 07, 2006


Today is Tanabata, the Star Festival but I'm just not in the mood. Usually J's grandfather goes out and cuts an enormous piece of bamboo and then we all spend the night decorating it with shiny things and twirly things and long strips of origami paper with our wishes written on them. It has been raining like mad, I've been home alone watching all sorts of sad and depressing movies. And I find I just can't get out of this gloomy mood.

This vampire mood.

Now I was never on that vampire wagon. I haven't so much as seen an entire episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although recently I feel the urge). I was much too old for goth and probably wouldn't have done it anyway. Marilyn Manson is just a poser, bleh!

But, I just finished reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and quite liked it. I felt I learned something in those eight hundred pages. I figured I might as well read the original Dracula while I'm on the kick.

Bram Stoker was pretty much bedridden until he was seven years old. He recovered, the doctors all said miracle, and went on to become an athlete even. Stoker was busines manager for Henry Irving's theater for most of his life. They were best buds. He researched for eight years before he wrote Dracula. He also wrote like twelve other novels, three non fiction books, several short story collections and then handfuls and hanfuls of other short stories. I read somewhere that at age 38 (I believe) he decided he wanted a law degree and four years later was called to the Bar. The man was smart.

Here is Bram.

Although I am not even half way done with the book my first shock came when I discovered Dracula did not look like this!

Not at all. He in fact had white hair, big fluffy eyebrows that met in the middle and a big white fluffy moustache! Well, at least so far. He tends to grow more youthful after gorging.

An even bigger shock is how much I like the book. It is much better than I thought it would be. I don't know what I expected, but I am very much enjoying it. Even more than The Historian and even more than Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.

Remember Disco Duck? The song? Well, in Japan there was no duck. They had Disco Dracula. Some German band. Just as cheesy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lonliness and Nature Worship

Well, J left this morning for camp. A short school thing for all the fifth graders.

The kids have been preparing for a month or so. They divided themselves into groups (cleaning team, cooking team etc.) J was elected as one of the chiefs so that is cool. They even made a booklet with all the information they'd need. It is quite adorable. Someone drew a schematic of the bus and they all decided where they would sit on the drive there beforehand! So Japanese. They even have the offical ghost story teller!

To encourage thinking the teacher gave each team three yellow cards. They are only allowed to ask him three questions. Each time they ask they have to hand over a card. When the cards are gone they can't ask anymore. I said, ", like, if someone gets bitten by a snake and goes up to the teacher and asks...'do you think this leg will have to come off?' He then has to give up one of his cards?" J said no, it was for questions that they should already know, where's the bathroom, when is dinner, who goes first into the baths... stuff like that. Thank goodness!

Last night we were talking before bed and he said that they are going to have a gigantic campfire/bonfire. He showed me the schematic for that and how they had already planned out where each group would stand around it. Then he showed me the songs they were going to sing. "They are all songs to call the Fire god", he told me. I said, "Huh? You guys are gonna conjure a Fire god!" He goes, "Yea, and if it doesn't appear after awhile we have to keep singing until it does." I said, "Ooo how pagan!" His reply was a dry, "Well, it will probably be one of our teachers or the staff dressed up."

Here are a couple of pictures of what came up when I googled Fire god in Japanese. It seems to be a pretty common think. Oh, 'dem Shinto roots!

Tomorrow they send them out into the woods with a map and a canteen full of tea. The hike is supposed to take 8 hours for an adult! These kids are going to sleep good tomorrow night.

And then Thursday is when they let them loose in caves.

I can't wait for the stories and the pictures!

Oh, yes. Before I forget each team has its own name. J's team is called the Black Fires (Ha ha!) Team.


I remember a lot of knot tying in Girlscouts. A little widdling and my first encounter with outdoor drop toilets. It was all very traumatic.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Dog (Cha Cha Maru)

Don't let that face fool you. I often walk out of the room only to come back to find him
sitting there on the computer.
I don't know what he's googling, but I got a feeling he's up to no good. I think he might even be trying to auction us off on Ebay .

Oh, and there he is looking all innocent sleeping in the litter box. Yep, take a nap, have a snack. If I told you what that dog eats you'd go green. On the up side, it's a kind of recycling.

Here he is in full form.

Fall asleep in our house and you wake up to this! The dog has no mercy.