Glossary for Road Girl

Zafu. A high, round cushion filled with kapok, typically used in zazen Zen meditation.

Juni-chan. 'Chan' is a diminutive, endearing suffix, often used for young children.

Futomaki. A hearty sliced sushi roll, typically filled with rice (white) and bits of cucumber (green), omelette (yellow), kanpyo (marinated gound; brown) and shrimp flakes (pink); rolled in nori-seaweed (black). When sliced, all the colors should meet and please the eye.

Benjo. Toilet.

Kombanwa. Good evening.

Kawai-i, desne? She’s cute, isn’t she?

Mochi. Sweetened rice cake for festive occasions. Special gooey rice is cooked, then pounded to a sticky paste, and pieces are squeezed off and eaten. A family might pound the mochi all together, with father pounding, grandmother reaching in between each stroke to turn the mass over, and other family members looking on in gleeful anticipation.

Obon. A three-day, Japanese, Buddhist festival to honor the dead. In Japanese-American communities, it was a chance for young girls to wear traditional costumes and head decorations and to show the graceful Obon dances they had learned.

Shoyu. Soy sauce.

Skiyaki (sukiyaki). Traditional Japanese hot pot stew based on thinly sliced beef simmered in a broth made of tuna fish fond (dashi) or beef broth, shoyu, sake (rice wine), and sugar. Traditional ingredients dipped into the broth and cooked are: thread noodles, bamboo shoots, scallions, mushrooms, tofu, greens of some type. Bites of the cooked skiyaki may be dipped into raw egg before eating.

Hashi. Chopsticks. Children's chopsticks are smaller. Note: Japanese has an extensive grammatical system to express politeness and formality. When one wishes to express respect for an object, one can add ‘O’ before the word, making, for example, Obon out of Bon festival, Ohashi out of hashi. Typically, women pay deference in speaking and use the ‘O’ form. (See more on Wikipedia in the article Honorific Speech in Japanese.)

Futon. Traditional Japanese bedding consisting of padded mattresses and quilts that are folded and stored away during the day.

A Nightmare

I was in a house, in some house that was my house, doing stuff. The decor was reminiscent of the mother’s house in Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. I saw green, brick-red, white, brown, etc. (i.e., the dream was in color).

Two other females were with me in the house. One was a tall woman, an adult, dressed in slacks. She was doing her stuff. She was not evil or threatening. She felt like my husband: a supporting presence in the background. The other was a child, about the age of my child alter – perhaps seven; she was in her room, came out with her blanket in hand to see what was going on, and the first woman gently shushed her back.

I was busy trying to accomplish some task, but I had just nicked my finger on something again (like the paper-puncher that keeps biting and bloodying my fingers). I was trying to put a band aid onto the wound. But two things were impeding me. First of all, the band aid was of a new material and had a new method of application, with thin strips of plastic to pull off on all sides. (This has actually happened to me in recent months. I regard this as a metaphor for today’s head-spinning technological development. Every time I buy a new batch of band aids, there is new material and a new way of putting them on. I mean, you put band aids on for decades in one specific fashion. And suddenly, every few months there’s something new. The new developments, while beneficial, are almost impossible to keep up with. So do they help or hinder?)

The second problem was that I already had band aids on three other fingers. I pointed this out to the tall woman. I even showed her how the new wound had exactly the same shape as an older wound I had on the opposite hand in the same place (serial neurosis). The band aids I was already wearing were impairing my dexterity to such an extent that I couldn’t get the new band aid on. I ended up with my entire hand wrapped in a huge band aid like plastic wrap.

My fumbling turned into acrobatic gyrations, and I ended up on the floor in the doorway, one knee in the air over my head, the other knee and my head on the ground. In the meantime, the child had come out of her room, the woman had gently shushed her back, and she said something to me like, “I just need to finish this up and I’ll be out of your way.”

Then she left, and there was a close-up of me lying on my back in contorted, agonized thought, trying to figure out answers to my problems. (19 June 2014)


Thursday, 19 June 2014, 4:15 a.m. I have been awake since 2 a.m.

People keep dying off around me. This week it was a piano teacher from the conservatory, whom I also knew fleetingly in personal circles, and Casey Kasem, the voice of LA radio in my youth. A couple of months ago it was Abbado. The last few years I lost Cécile, Jessie, and Karen.

I feel death near me. I must prepare and get my stuff in order.

Returned from New York

Desperate I awake from a nightmare, frantically searching to define the theory and find the media for performing the kind of fiction I strive to create. Lygia Clark's blind, silken smell hoods with speakers in an obscure darkened balloon box?

Road Girl -- My first (self-) publication!

California, 1962. Juni Shimata is nine years old. Marilyn Monroe just died, the Cubans and the Russians are coming. A topsy-turvy world of glamor, hypocrisy, and rules. But the bogies threatening little Juni are much closer to home. Divorce, racial discrimination, abuse. Bright-minded Juni is just becoming aware of life and struggling to fit two and two together. In a series of tableaux, like random reels of old home movies found in the attic, "Road Girl" shows how the pintsized protagonist uses her fantasy to cope with a world that isn't ready to make room for her.

Read More

DID Videos

I've selected a few clips from YouTube and put them on a playlist. I've included an amazing documentary in 4 parts by Ruth Selwyn (more from Ruth here).  

Brilliant DID Specialist Nijenhuis in Denmark

Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis, brilliant co-author of the book The Haunted Self, recently held a workshop at a conference in Denmark. His book was invaluable in helping me understand and get through the initial stages of DID. I met Dr. Nijenhuis in 2012 and asked him why the final treatment phase, 'integration', was only discussed on 17 of the book's 418 pages. He replied to the effect that the next book would cover that. I'm waiting.

To Be or Not ...

Setting up a website and blog today is not so easy. A whole fishnet of social networks needs to be braided into web's back-end. To my dismay, I discover how many 'Vanessa Arayas' exist in the blogosphere, especially in the Facebook galaxy. I have thus switched all the Vanessa accounts to Juni Shimata accounts. Juni is unique. :-)