Sunday, July 18, 2010




I just remembered this physical game we teach an infant to do herself/himself:

Chôchi chôchi - Clap, clap with both hands,
Ah-wa, wa, wa, wa - Place a hand over the open mouth repeatedly
Kaiguri, kaiguri - Reel the two hands over each other round and round
Totto no me - Touch left open palm with the right index finger
Otsumu ten ten - Lightly tap the head with two hands
Hiji pon pon - Tap the left elbow with the right hand.

Out of the blue I remembered this rhyme, and even the pleasure of touching different parts of the body when I could do the movements only awkwardly.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Flight for fright  空中戦慄

Since I reached 50, among the things I seriously wanted to try doing but found myself too late for them with the passing of the years, the top item is getting a pilot certificate and fly an old monoplane, after which is buying a motorcycle and riding it around, and then learning the trapeze and high wire art. Once, before reaching 70, I passed by an outdoor circus school along the Hudson River in New York, and, gazing in envy, I thought there is no reason I can't do that but controlled myself with the thought that, if I fell and broke my bones, it will take years to mend. In my childhood, I had poor coordination and had aversion to physical contacts, and in consequence I had distaste for all sports, whether as a participant or as a spectator, but from sometime I came to be drawn to these dares, most likely from the desire for excitement experienced from the dangers of altitude and speed, like the sensation of looking down a deep valley atop a cliff and the thrill of facing a violent wind, something I started to cultivate since I learned to maneuver an automobile in high speed. Now, I have to give up flying, bike riding, and trapeze and satisfy myself with a roller coaster.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Night owl sleeps

Only three months ago (8 April, "Night owl") I wrote how I have always managed with 6 hours of sleep every night through my life. Occasionally to make up for the accumulated sleep debt, I would have a night of 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Otherwise if I slept more than 6 hours, I often felt lethargic the next day. But in these three months I started to notice that I get drowsy during the day and sometimes needed a nap in the afternoon. I started to think that perhaps I needed more sleep. At 77, I realized, I am no longer 70, though logically with slower metabolism in advancing age, I should need less sleep than when I was younger. Then, a few days ago I read an article in the July-August Harvard Magazine that, for those workaholics who sleep six or fewer hours a day -- some 16% of the population -- ten hours of sleep at once recharge us but only for a short term and sleep deficit is never recovered. More alarmingly, the Guardian reported recently (5 May, from the journal Sleep) that people who sleep less than six hours a night are 12% more likely to experience a premature death over the period of 25 years (unless one belongs to the population's 3% with a certain inherited genetic mutation). Statistics states generalities which may or may not apply to individual cases. Still, this is a troublesome news to someone like myself who aspires to live to 100. So, I now started to rise later since it it difficult for a hardcore night owl to retire before midnight. After the first night of 8-hour sleep, I found myself alert all afternoon the next day; but after a few nights of almost 8-hours of sleep, I was getting sleepy again right after breakfast. So, we'll see.