SACRED WASTE: A TRIO OF BLADES & ONE TRANSITION

3 blades 3020 Esm

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO WROTE HER PhD DISSERTATION ON “HOARDING” in literature. Apparently, there are characters in literary fiction—and the real world—who have a problem collecting things, but more specifically, tossing stuff away. I may be one of them.

Cut. Cut. Take five: Fade to black.

2 Leaf 1296
Two leaves

The first few sentences above, before we cut to break, began my attempted post for last week’s Photo Challenge prompt: trio. I had decided to write a simple, short piece, 500 words. However, it got away from me. It began to ramble toward infinity, ran off on tangents, returned to some vague point about threes. It drifted away from “hoarding.” Then, ran off on other tangents about collecting sacred waste. It ran so far away from “trio” that I don’t even know where it’s heading now, probably nearing quadruples. So fine, making lemonade here, again.

If there is a rule in cyberville that says I can’t post a week late, or that I can’t combine the photo from last week’s prompt and transition it to next week’s prompt, or pretend that by using this week’s prompt in a sentence instead of actually addressing that prompt, then I guess the WP police will be knocking on my door any time now. In my defense: I do believe there is at least one transition here.

Long stories short:

The knife on the left wrapped with green twine: Indonesia. Bali. Perhaps 2001. A trek in the jungle with a guide who made that knife and wooden sheath. He used it to cut our way through thickets of vines. He sliced open coconuts, he slit the skin of snake fruit. More than once, he had killed snakes with that knife, but we saw no snakes on that trek. The blade is not stainless steel, but easily holds a razor sharp edge. The “clip” on the back of the sheath that holds it to his belt is made of deer antler. I eyed that knife hanging from his belt all day long. I think I might have some kind of “thing” for knives. After the trek, I offered to buy his knife. I paid the price he asked, didn’t even try to bargain. I acted like what the Balinese call tourists who visit from Japan; it’s not a pejorative term, it’s a just-what-is term. They call them: “Japanese.” Because the Japanese will pay any price asked, and never lower themselves to bargain. There are three prices of goods in Bali: local price, tourist price, Japanese price. I paid Japanese price.

3 horn 3170
Deer-horn clip

The scythe on the right: also Indonesia. Maybe 2009. I was living in a little joglo from Java. Every day Ketut worked in the rice paddies outside my place. He wielded this blade like Luke Skywalker. It’s a simple tool, but very effective to trim a rice paddy. Again, I paid Japanese price.

4 firefly 1893
Joglo from Java
5 sythe 1808
Ketut clearing the garden below joglo

I usually bargain for purchases in Indonesia. It is expected. It’s their culture. It’s a “when in Rome” kind of thing. But sometimes, maybe, I just feel a little …um, perhaps… Japanese. Or, generous. Or, responsible. Or, simply—what’s the word—grateful.

The knife in the middle is from Timor, an island lying at the east end of the Indonesian archipelago. It may have been 1990. There is a lesson in bargaining for a lower price to be gleaned here. And something about endangered trees. I’ll tell you that story another time, when I can write more than 500 words.

6 sheathRed 3187
Sheath from Timor

 

You can find other entries to DP Photo Challenge here: Transition

You can find other entries to Lucille’s Photo Rehab here:  Photo Rehab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

120 comments

  1. They are pretty cool-looking knives (and scythe). (Incidentally, I think a “light scythe” would be a great new addition to the next Star Wars.) it was interesting to hear about their background. Funnily enough, when I bought my Panasonic dishwasher I paid Japanese price. 🙂

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          • Seriously? Do they then run after you and beg you to reconsider? If I’m ever in the right part of the world, I’ll give your tip a try. For practice, I might start with some item I don’t care about so much, though. I’m a bit scared that in my case the vendor might just wave me goodbye.

            Liked by 1 person

          • works for me all the time, BunKaryudo – just say, nup, way too expensive and walk away. they always come running after you, asking what you would pay for it. offer some ridiculous price and the bargaining starts, when i do the walking away thing, i always get the ridiculously low price. but Ive gotta be in the mood to walk away. and be prepared that i dont really want that thing anyhow, just in case. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • I learned this tip on Orchard Street, NYC. I almost always pay “Japanese” (lol!) because it makes me really uncomfortable to haggle. That particular day, trekking from my off-off Harlem abode to the other tip of the isle of Manhattan specifically for a bargain on a pair of cowboy boots I could never afford at Bloomingdales, I had just purchased a pair — so I really DIDN’T want the ones that the practically push-cart merchant wanted me to buy.

            About as “goy” as they come, just out of grad school and new to the ways of The City, I started out totally truthfully. “No, really, I’m not in the market because I just bought cowboy boots and really don’t need two pairs. I can’t afford it.” In an accent that could best be described as Fiddler on the Roof, he countered with how fine the leather and that I would have them forever, yada, yada, yada, and lowered the price. As politely as possible, I explained that my budget didn’t allow for purchases I didn’t really NEED – like an extra pair of cowboy boots, smiled and started to walk away again. He lowered the price once more. Rinse-wash-repeat – redux!

            Long story short – I walked away with a pair of 100% leather cowboy boots for $25. (Who could say no to THAT “final offer?”) I wore them for over 25 years – long after the first pair had fallen apart!

            Still, I never did get the hang of haggling. I remain the shiksha in that joke that makes my Jewish friends howl, identified quickly by her reply to the response to her question about the cost of the jacket in the window, “OK, I’ll take it.”

            BTW – some of us LIKE words, and much prefer the longer articles. I, for one, really don’t GET brevity – but you already knew that, right?
            xx,
            mgh
            (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
            – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
            “It takes a village to transform a world!”

            Liked by 1 person

          • I was going to say you could turn this story into a post, but now I think you could simply copy/paste it into a post!!! Great story.
            And I didn’t know you didn’t GET brevity, but I did know you had an affinity toward paragraphs!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah – many ADD/EFDers read from rock to rock (or not at all), so I have developed the habit of inserting as much white space as possible on my blog. My English teachers would probably not approve, but I don’t think any of them are following me anyway.
            xx,
            mgh

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  2. I can see way you would want to buy them, especially the one from Timor – when are you going to tell us more about that? Imagine Timor! I don’t know anyone who’s been there, most people I know won’t have even heard of it!

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    • I know…it’s a long way from everywhere, and a little island in a chain of thousands over a 3000 mile archipelago. But cool. Not exactly a tourist destination, though.

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      • A friend of mine lived in Timor L’este for a few years Baddie. She sure has some stories to tell. She knew the wife of Xanana Gusman quite well. Glad to hear you have been there.

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          • yeah, “unity” – aint it grand. the indonesian army did a pretty good job of decimating the local indigineous people in their fight for independence. very sadly, the australian government was somehwat complicit at the time……

            Liked by 1 person

          • The indigineous people…were they Portuguese? Or a combo? I did not keep current with the events that happened in Timor Timor, now the two Timors. I never knew what the beef was about, but it must have been about autonomy and freedom to be…

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          • Hi Badfish, the indigenous people were the Timorese, and they didn’t much like the Javanese Indonesians – or whomever was in power – invading their island. think: cultural differences in Bali and Javanese etc – many different ethnic groups in Indonesia…. the portuguese invaded first I guess – my history of the area is a bit hazy — just because its close to Aus our government has had a lot to do with Timor …. apologies, a bit rambly today 😦

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          • Yeah, I think just about every island in the Indonesian archipelago has a different group of people living on it. Talk about cultural differences!!! I guess. Something like that was bound to happen, maybe? Do you know the religion of the Timorese?

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  3. I see them daily except one from Timor. I don’t know how much you pay, but if you have time I’d suggest to visit local blacksmith (usually there’s whole village of blade maker). However personal blade always has its story 🙂

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    • well, yes, I guess you would see them!! And you’re right, a blacksmith would be much cheaper, and also right that it’s pretty cool for the knife to mean something with a story and person attached to it. thanks!!

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  4. First off that joglo looks like a dream, I would gladly sell everything I own if I could move into one of those. I love the openess and how close to nature it is! I was also very impressed by the deer antlet clip of the knife with the green twine. Im a very tactile person and that looks like it would be awesome to hold, all those groves and ridges, and knowing it used to be a deer antler just makes it even cooler. I agree with the other commenter, I would have paid the Japanese price too, its beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • the joglo is cool…though rather small, but yeah, step outside, and there’s all that nature, the bathroom had an open ceiling. And right…the deerhorn clip…most cool!

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  5. You are very interesting Mr Badfish. Lovely shots of those ‘knives’. And what about that Joglo? How pretty is that? Oh, you do live a fascinating life… and I am not a bit jealous :mrgreen:

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      • I’m not a huge fan of aircon, but I’m also not a huge fan of humidity either which is why I am better off staying where I am and travelling vicariously with the rest of you 😀

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        • I NEVER liked aircon. Never lived in a place with aircon, until I moved to the desert. In Bali, I like aircon in the bedroom only, and many places are set up like that. It’s hot and humid. Many places have no aircon, though, if one likes going native.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. This was the perfect opportunity to work a turtle or two into your posts. Something like, “A trio of turtles transitioning . . . “

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  7. All three of those magnificent blades would be given a place of honour in my home … you know, just in case you might not want them anymore 😉

    I laughed out loud at the three Bali prices. I think I would always be paying Japanese pricing. I’m the worst at negotiating pricing. I just don’t. I think I would always be paying Japanese pricing too.

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    • Joanne…you changed your gravatar? Cool. And fine, you are now in my will…you get the three knives. I don’t like bargaining either. It bothers me. It’s a hassle. But it does allow for some good deals sometimes. But sometimes, it’s just better to go Japanese.

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  8. That was one very clever transition BF 🙂
    And two very lovely stories about purchasing knives in Indonesia. We too sometimes pay Japanese price. In Egypt a horse-and-carriage driver conned us neatly out of 70 Egyptian pounds for a ride that should have cost about at most ten with decent bargaining. But we are suckers for a hard-luck story and in the end it cost us only about $12 in our money – nothing to us, but a whole heap to him. Both generosity, and gratitude. I hope he had fun telling his friends.
    And three is the final knife from Timor and I look forward to hearing all about it.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • Transition…yeah, when you get lemons! The horse and carriage driver probably thought you were Japanese. And yeah…those hard luck stories get me every time. Must be nice to have $12 mean nothing to you. $12 is $12!!! That’s a lot of tacos, or shawarmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My mind works just like yours, expect you turn your mental ramblings into better posts! I loved the trio of prices; I enjoy haggling at times but probably pay Japanese price more often than not.

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    • Your mind cannot work like mine…your mind “works.” My mind just mumbles stuff to my fingers, and they type stuff onto a page in no order at all. I don’t actually enjoy the haggling. Don’t really like the process. But I have gotten good at it,out of necessity over the years in third worlds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, you see, my mind mumbles stuff to my fingers (and into the air) and they type stuff onto a page in no order at all, then my control-freakish tendencies fix all the stuff that dribbles out. I like your way better!

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    • well, right…I have spent some time out in the world, I truly love being in third worlds, but lately, I’m more into comfort! The joglo was a cool place, with open-air ceiling in the bathroom, a view of the volcano! I like the leaves, too!!

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  10. So, do I have this right… you took a *stab* at *cutting* through your copy, *paring* it down to the essential elements in order to offer your readers just a little *slice* of your travel experiences? ;^)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I never know where you’re going to go next….a very unique subject and what a transition……..knives and leaves and bartering…..good heavens! They really shouldn’t limit you on these, but then you really shouldn’t just be writing blog posts! 🙂

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  12. Knives as souvenirs. Well now this is not what every traveler might choose however these are beautiful. My guess as to your high offer is that your big heart came leaping out of your mouth. 🙂

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    • Well, not usually! For me, they are just to look at now. However, once I did use one to slice open a coconut….and did a pretty poor job of it. It looked so easy when they do it in Bali.

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    • I like that, too, Jay. I have never purchased a souvenir from a shop. Don’t know why. My mother had oodles of that stuff. I do like the things that surround me to have meaning.

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  13. Nice transition, and I really like the knives. Love the handle on the one in the middle. Your joglo from Java looks like a beautiful place to spend some time. What part of Java? I was in Yogyakarta, but I usually go to Bali. I went to Sulawesi one time looking for a boat, stayed in a fantastic place there. Indonesia… 🙂

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      • slides? you use slide film? I used to all the time, but not since I started with digital. I’ve just been going through some of my old photos and trying to get some put on CDs (2 batches already haven’t been able to- too old and ruined them)

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      • earrings and scarves are nice too…I don’t know though, the antique old things that hands have used intrigue me as well…what hands used them before and for what? They carry the energy of all the users before and THAT is why they are cool…I have an old rusted bale hook my grandfather used when he raised cattle, and I used when I helped him or to feed my horse. It is ugly, has no ornateness about it, it is just a rusted piece of metal, but his hands used it…

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  14. Love the knife stories!

    And one of the things I loved the most about moving to Japan after living in China was that I no longer had to bargain for anything. I am perfectly happy to pay Japanese price for anything and everything in life, if it means I don’t have to bargain for it!

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    • Yeah, I hear that. I truly dislike bargaining, and sometimes just don’t buy something I want just because I can’t gear myself up for the ordeal. But I saw twelve strawberries for sale in Japan once…for $25. Would have liked to have bargained on that one.

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  15. I sadly admit that I alway pay the asking price when traveling ….pretty much for the reasons that you stated here…and have been known to offer more. My partner is really good at bargaining. I am not. He always jokes that if a local offers us a product for $10 he will pay $5 and I will pay $20. I guess I am generous (or really stupid) by nature. Beautiful images. I am glad that you couldn’t limit your ramblings to 500 words. Very generous of you 🙂

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  16. As I stare off into space, I can see the tangents, and meandering of that post that never was. I wonder what nuggets it held.

    And strangely, even at 500 words, you’re thoroughly captivating. I almost felt a sense of deja vu. Wasn’t there another time when you coveted someone’s knife? Or did I dream this before it was written?

    A sense of antiquity emanates from these 21 century, and the late 1900s blades. I imagined them to be that which was the ‘don’t leave home without it’ piece of equipment, though more in the service of defending oneself against all manner of assault.

    I have a set of knives, that I use in my kitchen. I’m rather fond of them. But of greater importance are my medieval collection of weaponry. Swords, daggers, a mace, and even chainmail.

    That Joglo! I want one! It is exquisite. I want to live there forever.

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    • Fim, aren’t you always staring off into space, head in the stars. Deja vu…hmmm. Now you have me wondering if I’ve written about that or one of those knives before…could be. But you know, my memory has a retrieval arm that is broken. It’s like one of those machines you see at carnivals, that has a big hook on the end, and you guide it down to the teddy bear, but the hook keeps letting go of that bear and coming up with nothing in its claws.
      You really have a medieval collection? And chainmail? Yikes. You’re getting spooky again.
      And yeah, the joglo was pretty cool. Had a view of the volcano and rice fields.

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    • Fimn dearest, you have weapon collections? And dream the Badfish’s posts before he writes them?
      There is a book in there, somewhere… please write it…. 🙂

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  17. Hi dear Badfish… a great post…
    I was particularly interested in the story of the “Japanese knife” from Bali… its seems that prices might define hierarchical positions,e ven when it comes to certain goods… you are right, it is not pejorative at all, but quite the reverse…
    Thanks for sharing… Also, I loved the photographs… All the best to you, Aquileana 🙂
    .

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    • Aquileana, right…Japanese knife! And most definitely the reverse in the eyes of Balinese merchants. They love the Japanese. What’s not to love: they arrive in hoards on buses, pay top rupiah, and smile. peace and grace to you…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for this delectable post, Baddie. I’ve been so busy enjoying the chips that I forgot the many words I had to describe the taste of the fish …..
    so, exercising my mechanical claw of recall, here we go:

    firstly, I’m very glad you have brought two posts into one. despite many ideas for transition, i havent done a transition post and was wondering if i could incorporate it into this weeks challenge, whatever it may be. Now i have a precedent! WP Police, Its been done before! go check out Mr Badfish’s blog….

    secondly, there are some things that just speak to you so much, the beauty, the backstory, and the powerful pyschic energy of the creater and previous owner, that you just pay whatever’s asked. The seller usualy knows you are not Japanese ( those saucer eyes, gives it away every time) and looks you in the eyes and knows that you are breaking bargain-protocol in an acknowledgement of the marvellousness of this item and the seller’s genuine …. something or other. ive got myself lost here.

    Anyhow, I love the knives, the backstories, and really want to see a picture of the Hat with the story attached, okay?
    Please ?

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    • Deb, it’s almost like you and Fim Noir are riding the same wavelength of reality. Or maybe you’re just Chips off the old block! And anyone who exercises her mechanical claw of memory, and then loses track of where she was going…well, that’s MY kind of person!!! I’m so glad you’re hanging out with the rest of us even if you can tell the difference between Japanese people and Chinese people and can bargain with the best of them.
      The hat—you know, I think I did a post that included that hat a while ago. But I just took a quick look, couldn’t find it…but it was included in a post about various things, not just about the hat, so it could have been ANY of my posts. And who knows what I tagged it under, or categorized it as??

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  19. We’re Chips of the old block, no doubt, Baddie, riding the same weird wavelength of reality. Indeed.
    I found out about Mechanical Claws of Recall via reading your excellent complication of comments here, and thought I’d give it a try. Alas, the losing track.. I think its an age thing, Baddie…. hush… shh….

    the Hat will just have to come back in its own, unique, specialised post. Fimn can exercise her great Dreaming Powers to dream a WordPress Photo challenge into reality that will suit the hat and all its spiritual powers…..

    Liked by 1 person

      • talking about age, apparently I said “complication of comments” above when what I really meant was “compilaton of comments” – but then it could be that $%&*&*& auto speller, or it could be the fact I spend way too much time talking in another complicated language… i mean whats age got to do with it, lol…. anyhow, your compilation of comments does get very complicated, doesnt it? 🙂

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        • Compilation…complication—whatever it takes. I’ve had that autospeller change words on me, and I don’t like it at all!! Do you speak Chinese? Mandarin, or what? I thought Chinese would be a great language to know, but I just never thought I could actually learn it…what with all those weird characters trying to act like an alphabet. And my ear doesn’t hear the nuances of sound. I might want to order a salad and end up asking for the ladies room.

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  20. Well I read this post a shoe ago (from the reader) and wanted to come back and comment. I loved hearing about how the process of posting evolved!!
    I also think there is a huge difference between collecting and hoarding – but that contrast/comparison would be a long post for moi!
    But the quick version in my mind is that collections can be rich parts of our lives and help tell our story! I once read a blog post from this lady who sold everything. To scale down and her room was a small space with very little – good for her but yawn yawn yawn – and glad it works for her – but sometimes the goodies we collect are a key part of our essence – which I know you know – as u humorously play with words and show colorful photos of some of your treasures – there is this fully alive feeling I detect and it is just so interesting!

    And side note – I recently got rid of hundreds of books- some were my boys who are no longer at that level – and some were mine. But it was so freeing to not just purge (and because I did not keep just to keep – others are able to use the items right now) but it felt great to keep the ones that meant something. Some books are the key connection to a memory – like a bill hybels book I read on a 5 day trip – it reminds me the places I went and even the yogi tea I sipped while finishing the easy read. Anyhow – I try to be mindful of keeping too much stuff – but some items are must keeps – and many of your collectibles seem to be art beauties with stories and memories –
    Xxoo

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  21. […] Badfish out of Water goes to the Maldives for Christmas! The tale on how he organizes this trip is simply wonderful and you have to read it. While you do it, you can enjoy these great photo entries to WP Photo Challenge. you can also see stunning photos of blades which tale you can also enjoy here:  Sacred Waste: A Trio of Blades and One Transition. […]

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