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Toyoshige Watanabe

Last weekend was nice. I went to an art gallery near Shonan on Sunday with my special squeeze to view the art work of a Japanese man named Toyoshige Watanabe. On display he had roughly about 30 works of art, all with the theme of "oni," or devil in English. Since the tickets were free from one of my momma-san English members, who too is a burgeoning artist, I jumped at the offer and went.
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The Sunday we visited that gallery was on August the 15th, the day I usually visit Yasukuni Shrine. I didn't go this year because of all the pacifist press that was coming from the newspapers and television documentaries. Just so disgusted at how the media portrays the war and the atomic bombs, and these weak apologetic Japanese men; I was lecturing a 72 year old Japanese man on Shumei Okawa the other day at Starbucks. He never heard of him. He told me that he used to receive chocolates from the Yanks back in his day and at how he had been exposed to Western ideas back then. He was duly impressed and sought knowledge and asked more questions about his own history after listening to me. I guess he must've gotten tired of all the anti-Japanese press he had grown so used to hearing when he was growing up, and then listening to me, drew a sharp contrast and became refreshed in knowing that there was a time when even his own people were great.
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I wasn't going to stay home and gloat all day, though. I was just hoping the right wing could have a voice alongside all the apologist. I love some of the nationalistic rhetoric, even if it is pointed at me and others. I love it when I see and hear the authoritative righteousness flow from the veins of a Japanese man's neck and head. Draped in all black and standing on top of that black bus shouting and spitting in the microphone at the top of his lungs at the masses as they're being herded across that intersection by computers and neon lights. The Right needs to be heard, too. It's just as much their country as it is the atomic bomb loving apologist Japanese folks.
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Back at the gallery we walked around admiring Mr. Watanabe's oil paintings. I have never seen such art work before. Devils with neither torsos nor heads, just brute arms connected to legs, and then seeing its hands clutching at air, with its thick bearish claws, perhaps representing man against society, or god. As if good needs evil in order to be validated, and vise versa. Art is good. Art is healthy. I wasn't going to let the negative silly press get the best of me. I wasn't going to let Chris's refusal to not publish a very inflammatory piece about my thoughts on this day. I was going to have a good day and I made up my mind to do just that.
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Leaving the museum, feeling refreshed, we headed over to a very famous tempura shop called Karari. The tempura was heaven on a plate. For those of you who've eaten real tempura made at a reputable shop will know what I am talking about with good tempura, not the store bought kind. I had to admire the attention to detail each chef showed for each tempura, and then at how they served and arranged the food on the table. The courteous mannerisms that so many Westerners mock as fake and insincere is not always the case. Good restaurants are different. Neither can I see the newer generation embracing these cultural mannerisms where the customer is "god." The Japanese Way is best.
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At any rate, we loved this place. In the video you can hear and see a brief explanation of what we ate at this restaurant.

Yesterday afternoon I headed over to a "nice middle"* Japanese mother's house for a chat and some tea. I was quite surprised at how much she knew and understood about how differently her own people treated Democracy than in America. It was nice resonating with a real Japanese person, which is rare by the way, most are so full of shit and ignorance sometimes. She's also an amazing cook. I often wonder what her husband thinks about me being there alone with her and the baby...And on numerous occasions? Sometimes her and I chuckle over this. Life is good.After finishing up here we headed over to Gokurakuji Temple, offered up some prayers and then walked all the way back to Kamakura station on foot - quite far by the way. Since the weather that day was unusually mild we walked along the beach barefoot. It feels good to feel cool water and sand flow through your toes as each ebb & flow of ocean water recedes in and out. And then the sound of waves crashing against the shore. I am a nationalist.
She was a little peeved though when I showed her my bike. The Hinomaru sticker. She didn't mentioned anything about it, though. She gently walks up embraced me again and readjusted my Germany chrome helmet so that it fit squarely on my head, aligning it with my biker goggles. I rode off and she waved at me for what seemed endlessly.
* nice middle is a Japanese/English phrase that means a pretty Japanese woman in her 30s

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