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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2005/07/27 05:51:24 (July 2005).

[Tuesday 26th July]
The day before this had been an unbearably bland day, and I wasn't prepared to repeat it. Spurred on by Danny Wallace in his excellent book Yes Man, I decided to try out a day of saying yes to things. So we headed into the centre of Hiroshima, with no particular plan, other than that I would say Yes to every suggestion that presented itself...

[A] The first suggestion was to go to a branch of Seattle's Best Coffee, to which I said "Yes". Not a particularly ambitious or exciting start, but a start nonetheless. Funnily enoughly I had been in Seattle just a couple of weeks earlier, and had actually bought some of this company's coffee back as a souvenir, thinking it was something a bit special. It was just typical to discover I could get the same stuff in Hiroshima! So anyway, I had a sort of milkshake thing here. Did I want whipped cream on that? Yes. Chie had a Chai (grounds for confusion there). Did I want to try some? Yes. Was it really as horrible as my face made out? Yes.

[B] Next - did I want to play billiards? Yes. We went to a place which was part of a ten pin bowling alley. Billiards seemed to me to be exactly the same as what we'd call pool in England. Presumably the Japanese have adopted the American naming convention here. We had one game, at which we both played embarassingly badly. Did I want to leave after that? Yes.

[C] Chie asked, did I want to go to a little cafe place she knew for a snack? Yes. Did I want to have some samosas there? Samosas? In Japan? Errr, OK, yes. The place was called Pinkerton's Souk, a sort of Middle Eastern style cafe, and was jolly nice. I chose a drink completely at random - sticking a pin in the menu sort of thing. Was I really sure I wanted the random beverage I had selected, whose name I couldn't even read on the menu? Yes. I ended up with a glass of iced lemongrass tea. I've never had anything quite like that before.

[D] I've often thought I'd quite like to give Pachinko a go, but usually never quite get round to it for fear of not knowing what to do, and looking like an idiot. I suggested this as an activity for today, and Chie was somewhat reluctant. Was I absolutely sure? Yes. Really sure? Yes. So I had my first ever go at Pachinko - a sort of cross between pinball and a slot machine (or fruit machine for the British among you). Was it as crap as I had suspected it would be? Yes... but I feel somehow a more complete person for having tried it. It's an odd sort of game really - it appears to involve absolutely no skill whatsoever, the balls just fly about in the machine and you seem to have pretty much no control over what happens. I think I read somewhere that this symbolises the fatalistic attitude of the Japanese - that they feel like they generally have no control over their lives, or something...

[E] We happened to walk past a Karaoke place after this, and Chie asked in a very non-commital way if I wanted to go in. Yes! Was I really capable of doing karaoke whilst completely sober? Yes! I first sang a couple of Nirvana songs - a word to the wise: Lithium is a good one to choose but Smells Like Teen Spirit is a bloody nightmare. I was also pleasantly surprised to find The Distance by Cake, although this perhaps wasn't ideally suited to my, errr, vocal talents. Perhaps the highlights were my now favourite Just Like a Woman by Bob Dylan and I even found Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side in there so had to give that a go. Excellent fun.

[F] We then happened to walk past a bar called Kemby's which Chie had heard of. Did I want to go in? Yes. Did I want some "fried cheese balls" in there? Yes. Did I think that cholesterol had single handedly shaved 10 minutes off my life expectancy? Yes.

[G] Finally dinner - after a bit of a wander we went past a swanky looking bar called New York, which I'd mentioned on a previous outing in Hiroshima that I would quite like to go to. So would I like to go there today then? Yes. Should we try the food there? Yes.... and actually it was very nice. I had a pizza with shiso (apparently Japanese basil - I had no idea it was related), and Chie had a burger.

[H] Should we go home now then? Yes. A very nice day out all told, nothing amazingly unusual or exciting, but nonetheless I am very grateful to Danny for providing me with this extremely effective boredom resolution tactic.

Comment 1

So basically this book teaches you te say always YES to anything that comes along the way?

Posted by Lox at 2005/07/27 10:52:38.

Comment 2

In it's most primitive form, errr, yes.

...which sounds a bit stupid to begin with I suppose.

I think it's more to do with forcing yourself to do stuff that otherwise you might dither over and think you can't be arsed to.

Today was a good case in point - we often walk past places - shops, bars, whatever - and one or the other of us suggests going in.... Then we dither over it and decide we can't be bothered. In this way we've had days out where we've ended up doing absolutely nothing!

It was a lot more fun just saying "Yes!" to everything!

Posted by John at 2005/07/27 11:05:05.

Comment 3

So is there a companion book thats tells you to how to say No to everything that comes along ? Would it be an addendum or is it a book in its own right ?

Posted by Kev at 2005/07/27 24:17:24.

Comment 4

Danny does have a brief dalliance with the dark side - No - for a while in the book, but soon learns the error of his ways.

Posted by John at 2005/07/27 13:23:03.

Comment 5

Of course if the second book were to be how to say 'No' to everything, then clearly it would be building up to the trilogy conclusion "how to say Maybe to everything", and then the prequel would follow a short time later ( but written by a different author "On how to say 'For Why?' - possibly with an annoying voice - to every question and statement ) :)

Posted by kev at 2005/07/27 14:36:27.

Comment 6

What an excellent philosophy ..... keep on saying Yes ... it will bring you all sorts of pleasure and delights and also probbaly get you into a great deal of trouble..but all part of life's rich experience.
I have always considered myself to be a 'Yes Man' ... except of course when it was much more appropriate and kinder to my fellow human beans to say NO ....
I wold love to have been a fly on the wall during the Karaoke .... being your Dad I have always thought that you could sing .. it's just that I could not exactly identify the style . I have always wanted to achieve a sort of 'Sumo wrestler with laryngitis' macho sort of voice ..but usually end up with something much more ambivalent that brings out my feminine side ...
Nice pics .. thanks .. despite the 'dullness' you seem to be having fun .... must be the Brit spirit ??

Posted by Dad at 2005/07/28 11:22:24.

Comment 7

Thanks for popping by Dad! With reference to your comment about always thinking I could sing, I don't think I can now or could previously, it's just nowadays I tend to sing in heavily soundproofed rooms, with restricted (and very polite!) company. So the quality of the feedback has improved, without the quality of the actual performance having really got any better!

Didn't you once say - "John, you have many talents in life, but music isn't one of them"...?

Incidentally I don't dispute this assertion!

Posted by John at 2005/07/28 13:22:48.

Comment 8

it is great!

Posted by Petrov at 2007/11/15 09:18:07.

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