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Autobiography of
John Richard Mayer

from Extraneus, Book XII,
Strange of the Carolinas

Sæpe stilum vertas
Turn often the stylus

Humanitas mea deo est
Enlightenment is my god

Mantra: Om arapacana dhih *

[10:11511,62442, orbus liberis sed habuit filios alumnos] Son of Charles John Mayer, Jr., and Floy Marie Strange, John Richard Mayer was born in Hillsboro, IL, on 1952/9/16, and raised in Milwaukee, WI, from 1954/7/1 to April 1960. When young, John had a dog named Ginger (1961), who died young, and a dog of mixed blood, part Toy Collie and part Spaniel, named Cindy, or Cinders (1962-1975).

He lived with his parents in Saginaw, MI, from 1960 until September 1970, when he departed for college. Although once confirmed as a Presbyterian, he converted to Buddhism at the age of sixteen years in 1968, and spent a dozen years studying chiefly the Yogâcâra branches of Buddhist philosophy, and learning with differing degrees of success a variety of languages, including German, French, Latin, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Classical Chinese.

John majored in Japanese, spent his junior year at Waseda University in Tôkyô, 1972-1973, and graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Far Eastern Language and Literature. After working in the restaurant business in New York and Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1978, John was appointed General Manager of Penn-Ben, Inc., and Paget-san Enterprises, trading as Benihana of Tokyo steak houses in Bala Cynwyd and Harrisburg, PA.

During the United States’ War in Vietnam (1965-1973), John was at first Republican, and campaigned to lower the voting age to eighteen years (Amendment XXVI, 1971), in the belief that persons old enough to be conscripted should have the privilege of voting. At the end of his junior year in high school, he went to Japan as an exchange student in 1969, and his exposure to Japanese culture caused him to radically change his political perspectives. Because both of the leading political parties supported the undeclared war, he remained more religious than political for many years, and became deeply opposed to sphere-of-influence warfare. During the 1970s, his political views shifted to favor the Democratic party, but sadly neither party has ever come close to satisfying his ethical criteria.

Ostensibly for religious and political reasons, John moved to Berkeley, CA, in 1979, and obtained a Master of Arts degree in Oriental Languages at the University of California in 1983. From 1981 he worked for Marubeni America Corporation, one of the largest of the Japanese trading companies, in San Francisco. He translated a grouping of haiku poems and transcribed the same calligraphically in a work entitled Kazabana: Snowflowers Windborne in 1983.

John traveled to London, Paris, and Münich in 1985, and spent two days in the neighborhood of Hunstanton Hall, Norfolk. The same year he traveled to Tôkyô on business. He compiled and published the first edition of Extraneus: A Social and Literary Chronicle of the Families Strange, le Strange, and L’Estrange, 1082 to 1986, in 1986, supplementing that work with Indices Locorum et Rerum and Index Nominum in 1989. Over two decades he assembled a collection of original and translated poems entitled Peregrine Peacock. He made the Grand Tour in 1991, visiting Zürich, Florence, Rome, and Venice.

John’s last day of employment at Marubeni America Corporation was 1995/10/12, and he resigned from that company for a disabling condition on 1996/1/12.

*[Note: Arapacana Manjushri is a Buddhist Bodhisattva that represents the wisdom of all the buddhas of the ten directions and three times. Arapacana Manjushri is the Bodhisattva that is invoked for the development of understanding and wisdom. Students devoted to literary studies, logic, and the general improvement of memory, understanding, and awareness often invoke Arapacana Manjushri before study.]

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