Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Old Tokyo Master

The Old Tokyo Master walks slowly, gently tapping the ground with his cane. Quiet and attentive. Pigeons scatter and take to the wide clear sky. People bustle and papers swirl in the wintery winds. Seemingly invisible, The Master pays and picks up a bag of rice and places it on his shoulder. The retailer watching quietly as The Master moves on and bleeds into the crowds of shoppers. Through tiny back streets, past the grease exhaust plumes of restaurant piping and boxes stacked on top of garbage crates, he makes his way to a tattered, squeaky door that leads to a set of stairs. Walking slowly down the hall he slides the key into the hole and enters. Lacquered wood floors and ceramic figurines glisten in the golden sunlight shooting through the blinds into his dark apartment. Collections of Buddhist and Taoist texts line the book shelves and Aikido manuals are neatly stacked next to the dusty old television. On the stove whistles a kettle and steaming water is delicately poured into a clay mug holding tea leaves. Pigeons line the wires outside the window and a cat licks his paws on the ledge. The Master kneels and places the mug on the top of the low rise table. A black and white picture of his father hangs on the wall. His father is standing on the rocks on a shoreline somewhere in the Okinawa Islands, lean muscle still wrapping his Father’s ninety-year old frame. Composed and silent, The Old Tokyo Master closes his eyes, envisioning his body corroding and material belongings composting into nothingness, the vibrant faces and voices of his family and friends slowly fading into eternal silence. A clock ticks in the background. After a few minutes he opens his eyes and takes a sip of tea and bends to look out the window. A former student of his runs a Dojo down the street, he can see other students learning the movements of self-awareness and self-discipline.

Mastering the Self is a constant practice.

1 comment:

The Square Corner said...

Dox, Your post is very evocative, to me, anyway. Brings back vivid memories of my Tokyo days. Over the next few days, weeks, months, I may even refer to the great love of my life I found in Japan. You'll find it at The Square Corner--the old story of the one I let get away. You must read Mishima. I think he is your kind of writer. One of the greats of the 20th century. Killed himself. Tried a feeble coup against the elected Japanese government because he and his crew of right wing nut jobs didn't think they were militaristic enough. Committed ritualistic suicide at the Defense force headquarters. Stuck a dagger in his stomach and had a comrade chop his head off. A great writer, though. Temple of the Golden Pavilion is his masterpiece.

To your fine work: you seem to understand the Japanese and their reverence for the old and their worship of ancestors. You really do bring that forward in your writing. Keep up the blog. The whole economic system is about to collapse and many of us will end up emaciated, walking ghosts before the great plaque wipes out nearly all of humanity and close to 10% of the cat population. That's the way I call it. So in the meantime, think happy thoughts and keep on blogging.

All the best.
Square Corner