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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

coin laundry


It's been a year since I read that book, the one that got me to quit smoking. I lasted four months & had given the book back to Kentaro before I needed it again. I smoked & couldn't stop. I asked him for it back, but he told me that he gave it to some Africans. Maybe they were his neighbors or something. Kentaro never read the book. He still smokes.

This morning on my walk to work I was wondering how I did it. It was all mind control. The guy said to just think about it all. It's an addiction. People who smoke are drug addicts. I think maybe 35% of Japanese people smoke.

I remember back to that school I taught at two years ago in the bad part of town. Some of the kids smoked in class & they were junior high students. The teachers would nudge them to put them out. Some of these kids never wore uniforms, they rode their bikes through the halls & spent most of the time sitting outside on the school grounds, smoking & chatting with the teachers. At this school, each yanki (yankee, or bad student) had a teacher who'd follow them around. These teachers were huge, bigger than me, & they had a lot of patience, more than me. Often they'd gather behind the trees outside of campus, smoking away, out of view of the kids. I remember that one kid who hit me & I heard that he got a job at a gas station after graduation. He was happy. I was happy I finished that school, too.

. . .

Back to my walk. The air was so clean, the sky so clear, the rice paddies long barren. I started reading signs. Katakana is easy enough. ラーメン (ramen). コインランドリー (coin laundry). I thought how cool katakana is. It makes Japanese more interesting than Chinese. Then I saw this old house with a wooden horse girdle, those things they put on a horse to pull a cart. It must have been hanging there a hundred years.

Mind control. My mind is out of control. How did I do it? I need to find that book & stop thinking about the signs I've read, the music in my head. Slow down my beating heart, slowly, slowly love.* The sky is clean & blue. I wish I could dive into it.

*U2 from In a Little While

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