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Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Puzzling Day

Hello. So today I spent a few hours giving the house a good vacuuming. In the process I sucked up maybe five spiders - I hate spiders!) and about six cats worth of dust and hair, and maybe 50 small web nests where the spiders sleep (I really do hate spiders).

I even discovered that something somewhere is leaking... slowly... and has caused to wet spots in the roof of my basement. Nothing huge. But it's there. Somewhere. I hate not knowing stuff about as much as I hate spiders.

Not knowing stuff gets me wound up. I fill up with angst. It pisses me off, though you'd never know it to see me or talk to me. I tend to internalize things.

Nowadays while I tend to veg out by playing video games, building LEGO, watching television or writing, back when I lived in Japan I used different tools, though TV and eventually video games did enter the picture after I purchased a Japanese version Nintendo Super Famicon video game system.

But before that? During my first year in Japan? I constructed jigsaw puzzles.

I never really did that before when I was a kid. I had one - a map of Canada that was maybe 1000 pieces that I enjoyed piecing together every few months or so... but really, after I lost a piece that contained a part of the Fraser River, I didn't build one again for 15 years until Japan.

During the winter of 1990 I had an on-again/off-again relationship with Ashley, my girlfriend and fellow JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme representative. I lived in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan, and she in the town just northwest of me called Nishinasuno.

She was heading off to Thailand with a few of the other female JETs from Tochigi, while I stayed home in Ohtawara... as did Matthew... we were probably the only two JETs in Tochigi - if not the whole programme that stayed in Japan during that Christmas holiday, as people gladly used Japan as a jumping off point to see other parts of Asia or Oceania.

I did not travel with Ashley because just before plans were made, she decided to break up with me. Apparently some Japanese fortune teller told her "Do not be afraid to tell him you don't love him." Those were the exact words she told me back in 1990. Funny how I can remember that, but not recall what I had for dinner today.

Wow... pretty freaking heavy, eh? Now have someone tell you that, and explain that's why you are breaking up.

I hate the fact that people have always had so much control over me and my emotions. They decide when to talk when to write when to do and when not to do.

I suppose it's why I am actually an introvert. I pretend to be the extrovert... and I pretend just fine... but even now people are incredulous when I tell them I do not possess a cell phone... no one effing calls, I tell them, and truth be told, I have nothing to say to anyone.

I think I have a work persona... and I have my writing persona... I have the dad persona... and I have my own persona that I only have around myself.

When I am by myself, I like to do nothing - and I'm quite good at it.

Hell... I just finished watching Con Air on TV for the third time ever. It's not that good a movie, but maybe that's why I watch it. I ate a bag of buttered popcorn - by the way... everyone else here was asleep by 8:22PM. I'll be up for another seven hours or so.

After this blog... I'll play a video game and watch a Charlie Chaplin movie.

Back in 1990... no girlfriend... Matthew was doing his own thing (though he did include me on activities!) and knew I needed brooding space... so I went out to a toyshop I discovered along the main street of Ohtawara and bought myself a puzzle - and a small frame for it. It was a 250-piece puzzle of a scene from Alice in Wonderland involving the White Knight. I read Cervantes and Carroll, so it was perfect. For ever tilting at windmills.

So... I built the puzzle in the special puzzle frame in 20 minutes and then went back out and bought another puzzle and a special frame to build it in. The puzzle was a huge black one with white dots on it... a map of the universe - all 5,000 pieces of it. In 2013, I still haven't found that puzzle, but I think it's no more.

In the new year - 1991 - I went out and bought another puzzle and another. One was a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of The Tower Of Babel - a painting by Pieter Breugel. You can read a bit about that HERE.

But... and here's the point... I found the puzzle today in 2013! Intact!

And here's the follow up puzzle... a smaller 3,000 piece puzzle... of something... It looks like some sort of Japanese sci-fi fantasy manga scene... I'm not sure WHY I bought it except that the palette of colors it possesses probably looked like it might be a challenge for me. Or maybe I liked the whimsical look of the one creature looking off to the left (close-up at the very top) with a golden sun behind him as he sees a dragon flying away... or maybe it was the female sitting at his side? Along with being born in the Year of The Dragon, the kanji I chose for my name Andrew (An-Do-Ryu) translates to Peaceful-Leader-Dragon. Winged creatures fascinate me. Idealistic to be sure. You can see that puzzle below.

I believe the mock glass plastic sheet is still over the Japanese manga puzzle, while I know I had just removed the cover from the front of the Babel scene. It seemed apropos that someone who speaks only English and is now living in a country where few understand him and he understands them even less should construct his own Tower of Babel. That Puzzle is below:

And no... I wasn't talking about the Japanese... I was talking about women.

No... nothing is going on with life in 2013 (maybe that's the problem)...I'm sure a few of you who read this blog will be wondering why it is that I only JUST found the puzzles today, or why I am unsure where in the vastness of this house I may have misplaced other huge puzzles. The truth is that the house isn't huge, but I do have 35,000 comic books - and maybe 10,000 more that belong to a friend who asked if I could store them for him... it's crowded in the basement...

No... no need to read between the lines. I found a puzzle today.

Andrew Joseph

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