I saw a strange thing this morning; kids going to school. Okinawa is pretty much back to normal, no state of emergency, no new cases.
I rather miss the lockdown, doing very little with no guilt. One thing I did a lot of, was shaving.
I had a beard for many years but shaved it off in Mexico. I fiddled around with disposable plastic razors but they went blunt very quickly and were environmentally unacceptable. Just before I left San Francisco, I bought a traditional safety razor, made in Sheffield. It is wonderful. It has a real sense of purpose and great heft. The blades come from Japan and are very sharp and long lived.
I remember as a very young boy having to carry my Father’s boiling hot shaving water in the designated shaving mug from the kitchen to the upstairs bathroom. I recall the dread of stumbling on the stairs and scalding water splashing over my legs. I wore shorts until I was 13.
Anyway, I have designated a shaving mug. I have a shaving brush that I bought in Asakusa nine years ago. https://thequietripple.com/2011/12/05/brush-shop/ I have English shaving soap.
Previously I have always shaved in haste, late for work, stuff to do. During lockdown, I spent hours shaving with exquisite sensuality.
I pour the boiling water into the mug and lather up my face with thick shaving soap and repeated dips of the brush into the very hot water. This goes on for at least 5 minutes. The internet told me that the secret to successful shaving is the same as painting a boat, preparation is everything. The more liquid the whiskers absorb, the softer they become and so fall before the slicing Japanese blade with no resistance.
I start on the neck with relatively long strokes, exulting in the slight rasp as whiskers are sectioned. Then the cheeks, this is easy stuff compared to the care that must be taken on the upper lip and the curve of the chin, which take great patience and delicacy. If everything goes well the face is super smooth and clean with no blood.
Anyway, the whole process takes about 30 minutes and I enjoy it immensely. I wonder if I will go back to slapdashery now that lockdown is over.
The dentist has reopened and this morning I go for the first of what will be many visits as the teeth in my lower left jaw have disintegrated. On the way home, I stop at various birding spots.
I get a personal letter from Donald Trump. He also sends me a cheque for $1200.