being able to understand a bit of language while in japan, and enough to eventually work out what many of the repeated phrases exchanged on the street were, was something new. it kinda of remains new everytime you consider it, because for one with this many people in the city the chances are you are hearing it from a different person everytime, and also the intentions behind it, the tone of voices i hear, it seems a genuine invitation to be a stranger in something you weren’t not have supposed to see before it was willingly brought up in conversation.
what i saw around many of the people in the street were transparent boxes sort of just waiting to be opened. like a private lounge room effortlessly floating around them ready for guests at any moment. and because they are transparent, it is like they have nothing to hide, in terms of the place they live in. many houses in residential areas are like this too, littered with pot plants, umbrellas, plastic household articles and general objects which paint a bustling picture about the daily life that goes on around. access is simply something which appears to be common sense, an efficient way of life, and something which arises with the benefit of trust. the language they use on the street seems to be a way to control that access, though of course overusage of language wears that control thin, the channelling of warmth around topics and the collection of it as they leave.
a short bit from my journal: “What I thought was, is the conception of time an easy way for people to work out their goals. Say information quickly for them to keep inside without them having to worry about why they are in transition – for now? Is this the storage and the building upon of experience? And also is it the openness for individual interpretation all around to form? Who created the space around us, then? And how is it that we give them the same words – or them giving us the quickness of reply – that we do to the portable boxes? It could feel like community, this conglomoration of effort sprinkling decorations in every space in every eyesight, but it seems so give, not share. It is quick! They are coming back, I know.”
written in my favourite place in tokyo, outside the metropolitan government offices, somewhere i am happy i can go to and eat sandwiches. though i am more than happy with the street itself... i cannot help but equate its origins with people, not just those who use it, but of course those who thought to create it. i can imagine them inspired by the city being built, overturned and rebuilt i know, but nonetheless not before they spring the next wonder on unsuspecting pedestrians. anyway. i do think it will be possible to concentrate in tokyo. it will be my next aim to spend a year there, work on personal projects and meet people.
if you are looking for people to meet and don’t mind sharing small dormitories with people i think youth hostels can be quite suitable. one thing first: in japan most have curfews at 10 or 11 :( stay out all night in a manga kissa (cafe) when you need to maybe? well, in kyoto i stayed at uno house and they have a back entrance so no curfew (just be considerate around the house...) and it was so small, informal and intimate it was easy to chat for as long as you liked. japanese backpackers can speak to you in japanese and it’s a great experience.
otherwise it will be just you and the street. you do get a sense that you start to see things locals do not, if only because you have time. things which you see in the grain of the concrete. also, if you are so inclined, a great place to do random things. lots of detailed alleys, stairs, slopes, rooftops (insane views!) and parks. it’s true, if you want to make the most of a holiday in japan you will want to think about things to buy and import back, however if you have friends there i’m sure you will find plenty to do without money, you’ll only have to worry about airfare and the occassional restaurant and club (and train fares -_-;;). there are free band performances and techno events for instance on weekends at yoyogi park in tokyo. it is still a city of the future to me, and that’s mainly because of the people (not only because there are a lot of them). there is a way for people to trust each other and and you will see how it is inevitable by japan’s example.
luffy (at) diamondsky.org
islisis: yay i am heading back end of 2006 ;) what fun and joy to be entralled by, soon!!!!!! and all the junk i buy along with a year's independence. i can't wait to start writing again, from an apartment high beyond ...
islisis: april 2007...
islisis: tokyo returns 2008
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