Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Real Life

Below is a photograph taken by Takeji Iwamiya in the 1970s. (See I imagine it was taken somewhere on the Pacific seaboard of the United States, and not in Japan, but it certainly has a strong Japanese feel, as if shot in a fishing village in the north of the country, in a lull between snow showers. Look at the carefully worked out relationship between the curves of the boat - I think it's a shallow-draft boat of some kind - and the straight lines of the window, poster and planking. Also the muted colours, which emphasise the bright red of the exquisitely-positioned Coca-Cola logo. I think he is saying: the real life is colder and tattier than you think, but it's an honest life, one full of simple beauty.

At any rate, I interpret it that way. It seems to sum up how I feel at the start of 2013. I've had my celebration of four years of change. Now I want the more settled life that lies ahead. The simple life. The uncomplicated life. The real life.

And not a high-spending life full of Prada bags and other toys. Some readers may recall that I once wrote a post which analysed my transition expenditure over a three-year period (see Counting the transition costs on 17 June 2011). It was the most unthrifty period of my life. And it was very hard to come down from Spend Mountain. But I think I've managed it now. I've got my finances under control at last. This is strikingly illustrated by these figures, which represent the average monthly credit card repayments made in the years 2007 to 2012:

2007 £1,050 (pre-transition)
2008 £1,230 (transition began quietly)
2009 £2,355 (transition was in full spate - my savings were being raided bigtime)
2010 £2,424 (transition was still in full spate - and my savings were being clobbered to death)
2011 £1,624 (transition got at last to the surgery stage, then tailed off)
2012 £1,186 (back to normal; but my savings had almost gone)

The January and February 2013 credit card repayments average out at only £884. Even after Christmas.

I think I make my point: I have got my sending impulses in hand, and now mean to keep it that way.

So no trips to Japan to see what it really looks like. Google Street View will have to do. Let me see, central Tokyo for instance...

Ah, the Real Life.

1 comment:

  1. All dreams of far away visits faded long ago. I have little wish to be one amongst a noisy crowd which is what happens now if you visit any highly rated tourist site. crowds flock to museums and cathedrals often muttering about how uninteresting they are! They used to be quiet contemplative places.

    There are few places that you would chose to visit which would not have others telling you what they did when they visited. I knew someone who so looked forward to collecting his holiday prints of blue footed boobies from the Galapagos, expecting wonderment and questions from the staff, "BFBs, see them all the time" was their response! We even got a postcard from Ulan Bator in outer Mongolia one year!

    Pottering about on a grand tour of family is holiday enough for us...

    I used to think nothing of buying a bottle of Chanel nail polish for the price of 2 1/2L of house paint but no more...


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