Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hyotan kara koma ga deru

Been thinking about the neighborhood mysteries today. How it is so hot but the construction workers are going full blast on the five big jobs near our house. Several are down in a new basement laying metal roads on top of white plastic which is on top of new concrete, gravel and a big hole. Alice considered taking me down there for a photo of me "on ice" but it was much too hot. The men at the other nearest teardown have been putting on the second floor roof while singing rancheros. Today it was, "No tengo orgulloso ira el Norte!" A block away, guys from the Philipines have moved the front door of one house to another side of the house, added a new mini-roof to the new door, and are sledge-hammering out the old brick walkway today. In the noonday Sun! So much for just Mad Dogs and Englishmen being out working on days like these.
It all makes Alice think of the jungley home of an Englisman in Mexico. He liked to build wild staircases and garden things. He was said to be an illegitimate son of Queen Victoria's son Edward. His legacy is now that surrealistic jungle garden in Mexico, his old house in England with its famous Mae West Red Lips sofa made by Salvador Dali, and a school where one can learn things like tassel-making and go to an annual Chilli Fiesta. Alice tells me that's her kind of place.
These odd things all make me think of the Japanese proverb about eight traveling Chinese wiseman. (Yes, those Japanese got a lot of their culture from China.... who got a lot from Tibet..... And round and round it goes....) How at night the wiseman with the horse would fold up the poor horse and stuff him in a gourd for safekeeping. In the morning the horse would spring out of the gourd. "Hyotan kara koma ga deru". But the lesson of that story is not moralizing about animal cruelty or the unknown abilities of the horse, but how unexpected things will sometimes come out from the middle of nowhere. That's why gourds are so popular in Japan as symbols of unexpected good fortune.
You never know what may happen! A front door changing its position from one week to the next. A couch shaped like red lips. British spawn going wild in the Mexican jungles. And a horse springing out of a gourd.
A fun life, no?