Monday, March 1, 2010

My Asian Ark

The tiger sitting on the edge of my black bookcase in Japan is from Indonesia-- a gai-tiger, so to speak. The red cow is a symbol of the northern agricultural Tohoku region of Japan. The Dharma doll has yet to make my wish come true so only one eye is blue. The paper mache tiger is the symbol of the Osaka region. In front, two wooden frogs: kaeru in Japanese, a double meaning for frog and the verb "to return." In Japan, you might give someone leaving the country a frog (not alive, but wood or paper or whatever) to wish them a good return. Below the top shelf animals, I kept my cassette tape collection and big padded head phones. My apartment walls were thin and any noise affected all my neighbors, so, like Gaby Stanton, I blasted Beethoven through head phones directly into my skull. One astute reader pointed out Gaby has a Walkman, which dates the novel. Hard to imagine that ten years ago, i-Pods didn't exist!

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