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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Andrew Joseph: A Model Prisoner

Do you see that photo up above? It's a model I bought 22 years ago when I still lived in Japan. It's a 1:350 scale plastic model of Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle).

It is unmade. 

To me, it represents failure. Fear. To have something within one's grasp... to know you want it, and pay a large sum of money for it... and let it sit sit there... alone... unloved... in the dark of the basement... waiting to be completed.

And so, it's 2012... and I have made myself a promise to start on it next Tuesday when the missus goes to night school... and work on it every Tuesday night until it is done.

I've been afraid to start it for fear of ruining it... of not being worthy of such a magnificent challenge.

It's a fear of what it represents...the first real castle I ever saw.

Even though the real was is essentially a reconstructed castle, and is now a tourist attraction museum, it was still the most beautiful thing (not person) I had ever seen. It was awe-inspiring. Majestic. Beautiful. It was everything I had dreamed Japan's past was like... and I walked through it's wood floor halls... and dreamed I was a samurai... a warrior... everything I am not.
I took this photo in 1990 - I love the new and the old - and it might be the most interesting photo I ever took in Japan.

It's why I am afraid - even now - to attempt to complete it... because I am afraid my lack of skill will not do it justice.

I saw a model my friend Matthew Hall built of the USS Enterprise. No... not the nuclear battleship, but the starship of TV show fame. He had purchased fiber optic lights to light it up... and damned if he didn't build it to perfection. I believe it was 90-cm (3-feet) long or bigger!

Despite all of the bravado I showed to get onto the JET Programme back in 1990... to get into the Toronto Star summer internship newspaper program becoming the first community college student in Canada to be thus accepted... to finally sleep with a woman in Japan (or anywhere for that matter)... to be accepted period... this one damn model daunted me.

It reminded me of all of the little foibles that held me back before Japan... that shy, quiet little boy I had reinvented myself to not be...
Daunting... who knew that an 8-inch long model could cause such angst?

It's a personal challenge now.

It's time finally, to say eff you to the past, to the future and even to the present. And just get the damn monkey off my back.

Or... it's just a damn model I never had time for before and forget about until I remembered I didn't have a topic for tonight's midnight blog.

Or all of the above. Whatever. Screw it. Once I start a project (since turning 18), I always complete it. Always. It was a promise I made to myself when I turned 18. Knowing that others might let you down, the only person who can't is yourself. I refuse to let myself down.

Do or do not. There is no try.

I really do have to stop playing LEGO Star Wars on my PS3.

Somewhere knowing I have no idea who to read the Japanese model instructions (or that was the real reason!),
Andrew Joseph



  1. Yoda: "Do or not do. There is no try.".... Yes. But, perhaps, in this case, since it is a Japanese castle, then the words of famous Japanese General Nogi Taisho would be more appropriate: "Yes or No?"

    By the way, my son started on the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robot. It's cool. When I saw it, I thought, "Andrew would probably really like this!"

    1. That's nice! :) LEGO Mindstorms scares me... it looks quite complex! And expensive! I'm looking forward to the challenge soon enough!

    2. G'luck... I've had the Polar Lights NCC-1701-A sitting on my basement workshop bench for years... I was just thinking the other day that I ought to get off my ass an get it done!

    3. Hey -it's the same scale as the castle! We should combine them! And... I thought you had'er done!