Saturday, January 03, 2004

Blog of Januaries past, no. 1.

January 12, 1994.

Today I sat down for a dinner of bear chili. This was my idea. I made it this morning, went off to teach in the afternoon, and came home to it a little while ago. Yuriko's not home yet, since this is the night of her night class. The bear meat came from a can -- no, it came from a bear -- anyway, the meat has lately been in a can, sitting on our kitchen shelf, ever since I bought it at Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Am I contributing to the demise of Hokkaido bears? I don't know. I do know that there are enough of them to frighten hikers in Hokkaido national parks.

I'm working my way through War and Peace, which I started over the New Year's holiday, most of which I spent at the Enomoto's home. I read about 200 pages of it some years ago, but stalled. Now I'm in about 750 pages, and pretty sure I'll finish. It amazes at every turn. What consistently impresses me is the way Tolstoy describes motive. Imbued as we are with crime fiction, we used to thinking of motive as a straightforward matter.

Tolstoy knows better, and is somehow able to capture the vague, uncertain paths people really take in making decisions. Especially the way people make bad, self-delusional decisions. I'm thinking of Pierre Bezuhov's marriage, but it also extends to smaller decisions, like N. Rostov trying to get in to see the Tsar.


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