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tearing the rag off the bush again
Some of Mike Topp's longer works on Japanese themes in the arabesque style (see Gongorra)



Sheriff Pluto Swint didn’t want to partake of the usual

lunchtime fare, so he began eating two broiled radishes

for lunch every day. Nevertheless, he felt a sense of

foreboding. Finally, his worst fears were realized.


Rebels attacked and surrounded his constabulary,

choosing a moment when the place was deserted.

Two deputies rushed out of another building and drove

away the rebels. Later, the sheriff found out the

two gallant deputies were the radishes he had faithfully

eaten for lunch every day for so many years. Who

would have thunk it…




These are the things I found most to my taste when

I read the book Hagakure, which records the sayings

of the great samurai.


1. The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on

inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when

one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon

being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being

carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst

of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death

by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying

of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one's master.

And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.


2. It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look

for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for

anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this

manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more

and more in accord with his own.


3. It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When

you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell

yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live

in is not a bit different from this.


4. In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision

within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined

and having the spirit to break through to the other side.


5. There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting

with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along

the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses,

you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will

not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding

extends to everything.


There were other things, but I don’t remember them.
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