Friday, October 19, 2007

The tale of king Natto.

First you must know that natto is a very strange fermented bean slime that japanese eat for breakfast - if they have not already rushed to work. It is soya beans gone-off with a lot of slime that you can stretch to about 30cm from the bowel. quite disgusting looking but really addictive after a few weeks here. i love it of course. anyhow, this is the tale of how natto was discovered. there was once a powerful emperor Tamo Dou Fu who ruled japan with a strong hand. he had 3 chief samarais - Shoguns I think they are called. Shogi Mochoto was very sly and clever, manipulative and obedient. Shogi Tamodorobo was very strong, fierce, fearless and disciplined. The third Shogi Gagaping was smelly, lazy and idiotic but the emperor trusted him more than the other two who were ambitious and plotting to take the throne somehow and secretly trying to build their own power basses. Gagaping was not like that: this silly samarai was just lazing all day long.
There is a series of terrible earthquakes and whenever the japanese families sit down to eat the food is shaken off the table and eated by rabbits or discarded because you can never eat off the pristeen floors. the people become famished and restless, they clamour for something to be done about this. The emperor sends out the frist samarai to reason or kill the moster under mount Fuji who is shaking his divine kingdom so unreasonably. On the way the Shogi Mochoto meets a dog-like stinking slimy creature who begs for a small teaspoon of soya sause to mix with his dinner (natto is mixed with soya sause to make it more slimy) the shogi casts the dog-god natto devil away from him and then enters mount fuji and is crushed by the collosal monster under the mountain. The emperor sends Shogi Tamodorogo to slay the monster and he also meets king natto stinking who begs him for a little soya sause. Shogi Tamogo also beats the natto devil away with his stick althougth like the first shogi he had plenty of soya sause to give away. He proceeds to mount fuji and pulls a gun on the monster who is impervious and crushes him ruthlessly. The lazy, smelly Shogi no-good-boyo very reluctantly sets out and meets the natto creature, but since he has a lot of soya sause and it is easier to walk without so much he gladly gives the dog natto fiend some soya sause and they pal out for a bit and he tells the dog about his coming dilema. king natto gives him some soya beans and tells him to put them in his sock and if ever he gets into trouble he should pull them out and they will save him.
He sets off to mount Fuji and is scared shitless by the huge eathquake devil monster but he remembers teh dogs advice and pulls out the beans in his sock which - due to the excellent conditions in that socky environment - have already fermented to an advanced stage and Gagaping throws them at the beast who is tied up in huge spider-like webs of natto-slime. When he is all tied up with natto Shogi Gagaping finishes him off with a fart to the face which does not quite dispatch the monsterous creature but leaves him unconscious. The earthquakes that were rocking Japan don`t altogether stop but become far less frequent. Shogi Gagaping returnes to the emperors palace and is the new stinking hero. However the emperor is furious - you only concussed the monster - you have not stopped the earthquakes all together - you have done a half assed, jerry-built, hash up job! He is secretly jealous of the samarais popularity and disgraced by his lack of personal hygene. Shogi Gagaping is worried and once again pulls out the soya beans which are fantastically-far fermented by now and gives them to the emperor pleading forgiveness. The emperor is even more upset by this idiotic and maloderant gesture but at that very moment an earthquake shakes the court and the natto does not spill from the bowel. It is the new saviour-flavour wonder food. The smelly shogi becomes an even greater hero and his sock is the national tresury - which may remind some readers of that royal devotee to the late king Fatto even more!
In his recent anger the emperor gets a heart attack and has no choice but to make Gagaping the new emperor.* He has no intention of accepting the responsibility and pulls out the natto beans once again which turn into the begging Natto Dog he met on the top of mount fuji. Gagaping gives him the crown so he can continue lazing about.
A golden age of vegan peace dawns on the great island of japan and that is why japanese to this day eat natto every morning to remember their greatest ruler in the history of Japan and to guard against earthquakes knocking their food off the tables. The flag of japan is a giant natto bean on a white sky sometimes with strings of natto slime coming off.

*The alternative:
The emperor Tamo Dou Fu feels very insecure with his new popular Shogi Gagaping and tres to kill him in the night but Gagaping pulls out the beans once more thinking the emperor has gone mad with hunger and feeds the emperor who is actually a secret anti-vegan and accidently dies from the totaly vegan meal.


Triin and I arrived in Nagoya by train and hooked up with our hostess Changmi - she is super - she took us to a Halloween party where we played and then jammed with the band - amazing guitarist and a saxophonist to make Kevin buster blush - almost. The waiter there suggested we went to another bar called Jajaa - where we did rinse out. The owner started playing guitar and then the bar-lady started playing ukulele and a big guy turned up and started banging the drum. After a few surupticious phone calls a few more members of the band turned up. One took down the tambourine and proceeded to rinse, another sang like a frog, a really cute little girl who looked 13 years old came in smoking a cigarette and wearing a motorcycle helmet and the BIG drum-banger picked up an accordion and put it on her - pining her slight body onto a chair under the weight of the giant accordion. By the end pretty much everyone in the bar was rinsing on a bizarre collection of ancient instruments of music: bass drums, conta-bass, wash-board and whistle! They made some fantastic music!
We set up a gig there for the next Sunday. The musical exchange died down and they all faded into the night, we followed them around 5am.
maybe check their website:
Jaaja is the name of the band leader`s cat who died, he wrote a song about the funeral and called the bar after the dead cat and there is a cat sculpture above the door. Japanese are so delicate. I was so impressed! They touch things with such care and respect - I would not say love but that is perhaps an unavoidable human emotion that comes anyhow. They obvious love what they do and when you do anything with such tenderness you enter a state of meditation where you have deeper feeling and sensitivity for your actions and the results. I am very impressed. It is like the science of the soul revealed. Very quiet and calm. Our hostess` mum has a cafe and we went to see her and she gave us sake cups that whistle when you drink them and parchment from a Korean almanac from 150 years ago - printed in the old fasioned way - she just tore out pictures - she uses the paper to paper the inside of antique Japanese furnature for her antique shop. She was so kind!
I was thinking about dreams - I thought that opening a bar like the jajaa bar would be a project I would like to take on but you know all my life projects have been too big to be possible really so I did not know how to start them. That is why I am just floating around the world!! He He!
What are your dreams out there guys? Anyone wants to publish a book by a hobo who has bummer around Asia and Europe and painted pictures all the way?
* * * *
We were invited to a performance of Indian classical music in a temple. The owner of the temple - the caretaker monk - sadly died last year and his son who had been educated in Shri Lanka and England came back from his life abroad and reentered the world of Japanese formalities, duties, responsibilites and the life of a monk. In Japan monks and politicians and other jobs that you thought would take some ideological motivation are all heireditory - the present prime minister is the son of a former prime minister - everything is very clique and closed to outsiders it seems, old duties to other families, loyalty lasting decades of years are all the major virtues - not so much good policies. Anyhow, this poor boy has been handed the golden begging bowl and is a very reluctant monk but since he is in charge of the grounds he opened the doors of a beautiful empty nunnery on the site of the temple for travellers. He was accommodating a group of Indian musicians. In fact they were Japanese kids who work in factories in Japan for six months then spend all their money studying sitar and tablas in India for as long as they can until their money runs out. They were really great musicians but I have started to spot the weak point in Japanese cultural armour - they are often too polite, they work together like one man but they are always aware of the people around them - this sometimes means that in those moments when you have "divine inspiration", when your soul tells you to do something quite exceptional they will not act, staying this side of living Nirvana because they cant seem to take their friends with them. Those moments don`t happen so often and it is very good of them to come back to us - Good or bad, I think it means they strive less for personal enlightenment than Social Acceptance. On paper that is less selfish but somehow less effective for the good of the world and more importantly Japan. That is all just uninformed supposition of course. We had to wait till very late before we left the temple, our hostess had taken out her violin and the hippy kids had started to teach themselves how to play it and she could not ask for it back saying she had to work at 8am - I could see she was smiling at the girl and thinking - oh I need that violin back, but did not say anything. So as she eventually drove home I chatted to her from the back seat keeping my eye on her eyelid and breaking the silence whenever it looked like it was sinking! The hippy Japanese family had played songs that lasted 20 or 30 minutes with the same refrain over and over. It was impressive, pathetic and very tiresome so I read American Gods in the beautiful bathroom with the preheated toilet seat cover and the recording sloshing sounds so you cant hear your own farts and exhaust sounds effects. Very cosy, and then I worked on a new theatre show for next weekend.
lots of love
jimbino vegan


Johney and Mary went to the coast for a few days and on Wednesday Triin and left Osaka on our rusty bikes - we slept in the hills just East of town overlooking the huge twinkling grid of the city. We camped out on the balcony of an old peoples home and the window in the bathroom was slightly open so I slipped into the warm tub at 11pm and soaked for a bit before drying off in the balmy night with my t-shirt. I was surprised no one discovered us - the next morning we cycled down hill and got lost and found ourselves in Nara - the problem is cities just mould into each-other so it is hard telling where you are and where the next city is because when you ask "Where is Nara please!" many people say "This IS Nara!" when you are 10 miles form the center! Anyhow, we pulled into town on a lovely sunny evening after a rainy morning on the bikes. We found a little shopping street and made some coin then eat and looked at some of the sites in the dark - the pagodas are magically lit-up as were the imperial ponds and other beauty spots. We found a nice tree in the gardens with not too many deer about us and I was surprised how well I slept. We woke in the misty edge of dawn as the deer screeched and yakked around us and I practiced some of my Chinese trumpet to keep them company. We went to see the GIANT BUDDHA in the biggest wooden structure in the world, which is a 19th century replica of an even bigger earlier wooden temple that burnt down. It was awesome with a huge dark Buddha sitting and waving his hands. I did a nice picture but unfortunately he does not look so vast on a sheet of A4! I`ll have to paint some tiny airplanes flying around his knees! We had a nice picnic and heard many cries of "SEEEGOOOOIII!" (amazing) by japanese school groups spotting my tall bike and monster costume - often as young as 4 or 5 years old and all in their matching uniforms except the girls wear red hats and the boys are in yellow hats. Extremely cute! We played some more music trying to milk Japan as best we can for the long journey through poor countries next. We had packed up and were heading for a cafe to drink a cuppa coffee over a game of Chinese Chess (Triin beat me this morning!!! HOW!!!). A guy who had been watching us earlier told us in shaky English that he was a hairdresser and invited us to have our hair put in order for free. I needed my moustache cutting out of my mouth and Triin had been talking about having her hair cut for a couple of weeks so we went to his jazzy salon and tried to ignore our terrible new CD which he proudly put on his stereo - oh dear!!! Some of it is OK but it is good and natural that we are dissatisfied - otherwise we would just have to give up playing music! He did a very smart job and pretty quick with hair shampooing and washing and drying and even a back massage! I looked on the menu, which said it would have cost $50 each! So I look quite presentable - except for my clothes! Hope a tailor sees one of our street shows. Well, actually I am looking ok for clothes because I often wear my Gagaping - famous Japanese cartoon monster - costume to keep warm. Triin put on her big yellow Chinese anorack and we cycled for 6 hours solid to get to Kyoto from Nara. A lot of the journey was through windy back streets of the eternal city. In the tourist guides it says that Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto and Kamagawa were all the capital of Japan at one time or another - well, although they are as far as 400km apart they are pretty much continually joined by housing so you could say they are still the capital. I stopped at a manual workers store to buy some construction slippers - the wrestling boots with detached toes that workers in Japan wear! We finally arrived in Koyoto and played a little more music and were kicked off our favorite spot for the third time this week by very polite policemen. I guess it is not our favorite spot any more - pity though. Tomorrow we go to Nagoya for the street festival but tonight we stay with our good friend Naho who is so lovely!!! All the best
love jimmy


We had a very jazzy show in a very arty teahouse in Osaka where people spoke very quietly and everything was very atmospheric as Japanese sipped herbal teas and delicate glasses of wine. We finally met our old drummer Jay`s performce pal in Osaka - quite an interesting girl but not performing until December! A very up front lady - she is so engaging that I felt like I was naked just talking to her - and then I pulled up my pants!!!
I hid in the cellar before the show started and the others started playing - they did not know where I was. I thought they did because someone put lots of chairs on top of the trap door so I thought it was Johney or Mary playing a joke. Mary played three songs on her own - which were great - she has a voice like a cannon and a great pace - rhythm - dramatic and very watch-able! Then Johney and Triin gave up waiting for me and started playing as well and I jumped out of the hole knocking all the chairs everywhere - it was so funny - no-one knew I was there. We had a wild show and I wore my huge green Dinasaur costume for the second half, which was boiling hot. The next night we had a show in a pub called the Pig and Whistle which was FULL with skinhead white foreignor rugby fans. We were a bit worried that they would not like our music but after 3 songs they were going crazy - one blond English lout was thrusting his pelvis all over the shop - he almost smashed the bar with a battering ram pelvic lurch! Very vulgar but impressive for the pure relentless determination of the man! I performed the New Zealand war dance called the HAKA with a skin headed fat New Zealander who was a gardener who grows Bonzai trees and had come to see his teacher`s teacher - a 98 year old Japanese farmer in the mountains who has little trees that are 400 years old which his great great great grandfather planted. Well, that is all cool but he was still quite a lout but he just could not stop laughing when I performed the Haka so I did a solo show and ended with a flying kick at an empty bar table which everyone loved - even the bar staff - who gave us all free drinks although they could not believe we did not want alcohol!! The others went home after the gig - it was about 2am between the two international games - but I stayed up in the pub trying to stay awake and reading the newspaper until 6am when the New Zealand v France game started. It was an amazing game - there were a few French one of whom was very noisy and funny but a few New Zealanders were not in a joking mood and at the end I was looking over my shoulder anxious that in the last minutes a fight would break out. I think they would be concentrating on the TV even as they fought each-other, the game was so tense and exciting!!! New Zealand went ahead and then France and then back again and finally France won. The French man bought everyone beers (it was then 6.30am) and the New Zealander mad thug who threatened to "punch his froggy face in" a few minutes before, cried on his sholdier as the Frenchman`s wife gave him consoling kisses on his beer and tear stained stubble skull. I was too tired to enjoy the scene to the full and walked back to Naho`s very crowded flat on the outskirts of town singing and playing my ukulele as the sun rose and the turtle doves coo-ed in the tree tops around the ancient temples and rock gardens of Kyoto.

I also saw the next rugby match of England verses France- poor France - but I think England were very close but played well and were not unjust to win. Someone had to win unfortunately, I was thinking of inventing rugby and football with perhaps no touch line or goal posts - you just play and play until you are tired - maybe even no sides - could be interesting. Football is a very natural old sport that is so obvious that it must have been invented by humans when there were more monkey than man, but I love rugby because it was invented when an excited school boy picked up the ball in a crazy moment at a football match and said - "come and get the ball off me!!!" and everyone in the game thought - ok we will jump on him. And they ran around like crazy, jumping on each-other hell-mell, willy-nilly and decided they would do it again the next day because it made them feel so gay!
Anyhow, that is just my idea of how things happened.
Good luck Argentina.
Enough gay banter
lots of love jimmy


Mount Fuji was totally freezing. Wobbling around light-headed in the rain and sweeping wind and tripping on the black volcanic gravel. The Japenese climbers we passed on their way down were with ski sticks and waterproof head to toe moon costumes shook their heads at us, saying "OKI KAZE" (big wind) while I, in my giant green dinasaur Gajaping costume and Chinese farmers $1 sneakers and Triin in her poncho and ear-ache hat, trotted up the gravel path with a rucksack full of tofu and water. Mihel, our "trust me I`m Polish" buddy who shows me Aikido "Defense" moves while I am quietly reading my book on the sofa and beats my botty-wotty at chess told us we would need at least 4 litres of water each.

I drank about one cup of water the whole journey - that is from the bottle, I probably drank about 4 litres just leaving my mouth open for the rain to slosh into. We went up till Mikel, who boasted he had trecked for 3 weeks alone in Nepal and checked his alititude GPS computer every 10 minutes decided to head down. Triin and I said we were going on up a bit just so he would not give us his mountain conquoring stories again later and then, when our feet were frozen and I was pretty giddy from the thin air and thick rain, we headed down pausing to eat triins delicious mess of pumpkin and oatmeal surprise - the surprise was that it was the best meal we have had in Japan!
Anyhow, we got down, dripped all over the base camp cafe and then hitched a ride to the station and looked around the small town of Chizorka - a dull enough place - a couple of government-issue temples and I bought some socks with separated toe sockets then chilled at the couch surfing hosts place. We had to pay him 4000 yen for the transport and the stay and food thrown in so it was a bit expensive and not so cool - he paid for a bunch of sake and his friends came over and got drunk and it was all a bit lame so I table taco-ed his glass sitting room table and then sat down to write this email - sorry other way round - got to go and taco that table. We leave tomorrow for Kyoto where we have a couple of gigs. We have a poster that says very politely that we would accept any donations of food, money and accomodation and please please please help us - it makes busking much easier. We are mostly just playing bums music on the street- sitting out with the music notes all over the place - the good old fasioned way- being paid to practice! No great show but I have some tricks hatching.


I went to a very interesting expo on ARCHITECTURE! It is a strange genetic disease! This guy in question was called Antonin Raymond - and his deseigner wife Naomi. Some nice stuff - real nice! I am re-reading a pretty good history book by AHMED RASHID - called "Jihad, the rise of militant Islam in central Asia". I read it and now and going to read it again this time with my mouth closed. Well, I am slowly starting to really enjoy Japan - we found some spots where we make some money and worked out it is MUCH better in the big cities after dark and I bought a huge animae character costume and people are really friendly when I am about town playing the jazzy green dinasaur dress. At the moment I am staying in a tiny apartment with triin, me , our wacky wacky host whose name I am still not sure of and a nice girl called Satchmo or something similar. The dude is a photographer and has been snapping us silly and invited us to stay. He left his computer on all night so when I woke up and climbed over everyone to go to the toilet. I decided to get some emails done in the dark dawn. At first I was FREAKED OUT by Japan - little money, cold people, high prices etc... but I am starting to enjoy it since I have started relaxing and met some cool folks. it is still warm enough to sleep in the parks but there are quite a few annoying insects, mosquitos and policemen and ants. I had a great outing for 3 days and 2 nights to Enoshima and Kamakura - I want to go back!!! My brother Henry (25 years old) is a BIG BUSINESS man but still very kind and generous and calmer than me! I will hopefully get him to come to the beach one day. he works his office job but needs to get out of town more and the house too and so does his girlfriend Sapna.


I am in the most amazing internet center known to Jimbino Man. It is built under a church which itself looks like it has a satalite link with God and the Arch Angel! Apart from going to pray there seems like little reason for an intelligent well-rounded human being to leave the internet-center. It has a huge video library - mostly manga - a quiet cafe, showers, about 6 different kinds of internet-booths from a group sofa to watch movies with friends (or spend the night if you are homeless - at 20 dollars it is cheaper than most hotels). Massage chairs, Japanese cross-legged chairs and 'business chairs'??? There are free drinks so I am sloshing up to my ears and can feeling my belly fizzing with ginger ale and something called "vitamin guard". For an extra dollar you get a blanket-sized towel and can shower! And I forgot to mention the all-you-can-eat ice-cream, hot coffee and tea and cheap food you can order.
Welcome to japan