I like girls in boat-neck shirts and the smell of new rubber.

Half asleep on the train I was doing some deep thinking…familiarity is just a series of slate grey cellophane layers formed over something that you once thought was exciting, beautiful and new. We don’t think about it, but if you make an effort, half-between a dream and cognitive thought you can peel those layers off, and put yourself back in a state of wonder and electric contentment…only with a tinge of wisdom and experience in the back of your mind, like a sleeping cat or a dark cloud over a mountain on the horizon. This kind of gentle mental rejuvenation is something I’ll have to explore further…

You mean I have to _wait_?!?

Why can’t one experience everything at once, or at least lots of little things? Right now I’d give my week’s ice cream money to have a cold, wet, autumn evening. To be precise…

It rained roughly 80 minutes ago, there is a sharp breeze that comes in gusts from the northwest every couple seconds. I’m standing in a parking lot of my high school or a closed mall, or something at 11:43pm with tennis shoes….yea, Converse low tops. My ‘bowling shoe’ set would work. And I can drag my foot back and forth across the asphalt and feel the soddy gravel and maybe a couple wet leaves. There’s one of those obnoxiously bright fluorescents about 20 feet away, and I’m partially in the shadows. The pores on my skin are open from the humidity and I have just the slightest amount of goose flesh on the back of my neck, partially because of the wind and partially because of a red-haired, starry-eyed girl in a gap sweater that smells like CK-1. Can’t I just taste that for once when I want to?

I’m tired. I want to sleep. I also at this moment want to:

a) write this blog
b) draw a picture of a girl
c) make up some crazy sad melody on a keyboard
d) lay in damp grass
e) drink ice cold Jim Beam and coke
f) listen to jazz music
g) ride a bicycle through a corn field in winter

but I’m tired. And I left work early today (8:00p) so I could get sleep and wake up and kick ass on 10 million things tomorrow like a 1980s movie lead.

But there’s too much _life_ in me to sleep, or do any one of those things, so I’ll just be slighted frustrated and probably lay in bed half-thinking about some willowy angel with freckles and field trips to the apple cider mill.

Anyone have need for a deep personal connection with someone who dreams way too hard?

Two for five, one for ten!

Yes, two for one (…day that is)!

Well, the weather here is probably several orders of magnitude more enjoyable than back west…it can’t be more than 66 degrees outside now, tops. I’d say it’s more like 64. It’s wonderful. This is a far cry from last summer, whenever I was here it had to have been 90 with humidity bad enough to make the Snuggle Bear look like a drowned rat. The only thing one could gripe about is that it has been Pittsburgh-esque overcast nearly 24 hours a day. The sun breaks through every now and then. During yesterevening’s run in the park I got to see the golden rays streaming through the cracks peeking through the financial skyline of west Shinjuku, about 6 kilometers or so away.

So the weather was brisk today, just the way I like it. Happy as a clam I got off the train at Shinjuku and strolled through minami gate and the Takashimaya area for the long (15 min) walk home. To take advantage of this self-inflicted 130 yen windfall I bought a weekly businessman manga for 100 yen from a street vendor. Always cheaper than the mini-mart kiosks….it didn’t occur to me until this evening that it’s probably because these are the same guys I’ve seen digging discarded issues out of the paper recycle bins at the train platforms. Not that I really mind. I’ll pay a fraction of the price for someone else to do the unseemly chore of rummaging through the paper rubbish. Of course, I almost always pay a fraction of the price for everything if I can help it, so it’s no big surprise. They’re a great boon, businessman manga. Each one is a worn, pulpy treasure-trove of learning. I get a) reference material for my drawing, b) practice reading the more colloquial language, c) an insight into what appeals (or the media thinks should appeal) to most men 17-60, and d) the occasional glimpse into the understood conceptions of sexual expectation (fantasy or actual). All that for 83 cents? Who says Tokyo is an expensive place to live?

So, like another of my financially enabled brethern, I’ve started planning little trips with my money. In the next two months I have lined up: (1) weekend rave in the forest about 3 hours away, (1) trip ‘home’ to my native Nara for summer vacation via the incomprehensibly-hip 200mph bullet train, and (1) concert in an amphitheater for a local feathery-voiced songstress whom I’m quite fond of. But that’s just the stuff I have tickets for now. I think the secretary at work told me I should take the single guys to the beach in Yokohama and pick up some chicks. And I have a rave and club list a mile long so I’m sure I’ll be doing that often. Now if only dog chew-toy quality rubber footballs didn’t cost 25.00$….

I’m not quite sure, but it is entirely possible that I love living in this city more than my job itself. That may be biased though only because I can’t really think of any drawbacks to living where I do. Some might say “…but you’re paying 700$ a month for 49 square feet!!” Ah yes, true. But as I taught myself a long time ago, if you don’t know what you’re missing (or have a deep rooted desire to live simply and close to your art), you can be quite pleased with low expectations. I haven’t really been at any kind of home in the last two years other than to occasionally get drunk and make an ass out of myself in front of friends, so this whole “being away from work and having a balanced life” is kind of a foreign thing to me.

May fortune favor the foolish.

PS – Today’s recommended dosage of enlightenment is DJ Tiesto – Nyana.

I’ve got you babe.

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? It’s actually pretty decent (I think). It’s funny, sometimes I think of that crazy Sonny and Cher song when I wake up. I actually have a small cache of morning songs to get me going. I should probably make a playlist or something so they’re easier to get to. My second year at Virginia I was kinda down; understandably so. I was 19, I was still kinda torn up about the whole high school girlfriend breakup thing, engineering had no meaning to me other than the classes didn’t seem fair and were kicking my ass. I was, however, among friends. I lived with three of my fraternity brothers in what we called “The Outpost” a posh little apartment On Grounds just stumbling distance to the happening scene of Rugby Road. Joe Chen had top bunk in our room. He’s one of those guys that’s really smart and doesn’t have to try at it. I was happy to see him spend most of his time strumming a guitar, tapping out a tune on the keyboard, or playing Total Annihilation. Anyway, I’m getting away from the point.

I was depressed. I skipped class a lot. I had my little ‘hole’ to sleep in….shades blocking out nearly all light, bottom bunk in the far corner of the room, and three comforters, two pillows…all I had to do is roll over on my right side and I was in pitch black cold cinder block heaven. So much so that I rarely got up before 11:30 or noon, regardless of when I went to bed. I’d like to believe a boy’s body chemicals change a lot during that time, and I needed the rest. Maybe I was subconsciously storing it up for grad school when I wouldn’t hardly sleep at all. Oh yeah, there was this crazy, cute Greek girl that lived in the next building…what was her name? Karen? I went through at least 30 pages of “A Prayer for Owen Meany” just because of her. Damn it…off topic.

I listened to Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and Adam Sandler‘s “Billy Madison‘s Victory Song” to get myself to class a few times a week. End of story. Thank you.

(I want to write a lot more about second year now….but gotta catch the train to work. If only I could blog from my Handspring at a reasonable speed….[graffiti]).

Koukaishimasu yo.

In the words of the immortal blur, “this is a low.” Chalk up another loss for the overzealous gaijin in a land where perhaps he doesn’t belong. I don’t feel like being unambigous right now, so I’ll just say for those parties privy to the Rusty of old (which recently appears quite infrequently…whether that’s a bad thing of a good thing), that two of the leading knuckles on my right hand are showing more than a little blood.

I try. I try everyday. If I don’t try, one of two things happens: 1) I lose my job, or 2) I go on a spree of self-negligence and wanton destruction. Either way, I’d probably lose my visa in 3-4 weeks and find myself guilty of illegal residence and subsequent deportation.

Ha. Life rules because it sucks.

Clocks

Lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
You’ve put me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead (singing)

As I said before, life is a lot of constantly evolving ups and downs. I think I have a sleeping disorder. It didn’t really occur to me until my father said something, my brother is thinking of having surgery. Something with his nose and breathing normally. I can sleep for 8+ plus and I always feel a little sick in the morning. Last night I went to bed at 8:30 because I was feeling kind of sick, I woke up at about 4:45a this morning, but I figured that wasn’t enough sleep, especially if I was going to be at work for about 12 hours. So I went back to bed until 8. But I still felt lousy and had a hard time getting up. I don’t really remember waking up and feeling fantastic. It usually takes about 30-40 minutes before the nausea wears off. Oh well. Not much I can do about it in Japan, huh? I’m weird enough as it is just because I want to use antiperspirant.

My place is a mess….don’t ask. It _was_ clean Sunday afternoon, but now it’s a wreck. I don’t really mind because it only takes so long to clean up 55 square feet. It’s a good thing I live in on the fourth floor though, or the smaller inhabitants of this world make try to take advantage of the fact I’m never home but a few scraps of last night’s dinner are.

I thought this was going to be in an interesting post, but I guess not. Sorry. 🙁 Well, I’m going to take the long way to work since I’m up and get a little fresh air.

Abort, retry, fail?

I just lost a blog about dreams that took 1 hour to write….because I clicked “BACK” and “CANCEL” in the wrong window…this sucks. Moral of the story…”always write your blog in Notepad or some text editor FIRST, something with an UNDO buffer.” :/

Flashback

Life is ever-changing, and from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, you’re capable of feeling a thousand different ways. I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but for me I can be so down and miserable…my heart is like a tightly shut flower on a chill autumn night. But as much as I may believe the cold will last forever, there are moments when the sun breaks through. Sometimes all it takes is a romantic movie and a clear mind watching it. I’m 23 years old. In 12 years I’ll be 35. But 12 years ago I was 11. That was seventh grade. The first things I remember about seventh grade are running for student body president and losing to my best friend Dan, who gave me a position as editor of the school paper in consolation. My campaign manager was this girl Abby Swetz who made all these great posters for me with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey telling people to vote for me. She used to turn around real fast and whip her bookbag into me while standing in line and say “oops.” She had big glasses, but she was really pretty, even though she wasn’t the most adolized girl in class. Her and Kathy Kelly and I used to have our picture taken together on field trips. I can’t believe how much of a nerd I looked…huge, thick tortoise shell glasses, hair slicked back, frozen in place by half a bottle of mousse…braces, and 25 different Dallas Cowboys t-shirts.

Twelve was a long time ago it seems, when I don’t really remember worrying about anything other than being struck out at softball in gym class, or if I’d make it out fast enough at the end if the day to get the ‘cool’ seat on the bus home. I wonder if twelve years from now I’ll have such a foggy, smiling memory of what I’m doing now. It’s so weird because having lived through so much heartbreak, joy and stress already, 23 seems like a lot more complicated phase of life. Not that I regret it though. As much as I’m frustrated by the things I wish I had more control over, there are pockets of intensely honest satisfaction. I appreciate everything as it happens, almost as much for the future reminscience as I do know. I wonder if that in itself is a form of worrying or just one step closer to the purity of truly experiencing life. The fact that I give it enough thought to write it down might be condemnation enough. Whatever. I like the gentle tension in my muscles right now. If I’m happy because I’m somewhere between acute realization of the present and starry-eyed dreaming for an idyllic tableau, it’s not important. To live and not regret what one has done, but strive to be kindler, gentler, and more patient because of it…that sounds like a noble ideal to move towards.

My dreams are an amalgamation of over half a dozen serious relationships, dozens of movies and countless fairy tales played through as a child. I attest that I hope to never take love for granted, for it adds meaning to my life I’m incapable of describing…and it leaves me when I don’t expect. But to lower my expectations or cull the torrents of passion from my desperate heart because of the past…when we give up on pure and unrestricted innocent love, don’t we give up on some of the purest principles of humanity? I’m alone, and at times I’m afraid of growing old, past the point of carefree abandon and hope. But, life is a balance of all those things and accepting them. I want to never surrender to routine or cynicism. I hope soon to be sent an angel, but in the meantime I’ll do my best to live somewhere between heaven and earth.

No time

It’s Friday. It’s 8:30pm. I’m at work. Why? Ok, here’s your options: a) I have work that needs to be done, b) my apartment was taken over by a gang of Siamese cats, c) I really have nothing better to do. Answer: d) all of the the above (but replace ‘gang of Siamese cats’ with ‘laundry basket suffering from stack overflow’).

So I should probably get some friends. I have a couple, two. And you have to reserve them about 2+ weeks in advance. There’s lots of things I’d probably enjoy doing (in boredom I made a list of things that make me happy), but not by myself. The only things I really like doing by myself are taking photographs and thinking. So I’ve been doing a lot of those lately (in addition to the requisite downloaded anime’ and movie watching). The TV I bought comes tomorrow morning. 213.48 USD. I wanted to spend less, but my boss was with me and he told me what a fantastic deal it was. It really is. It’s 21-inch flat screen with S-Video and digital inputs. Which is nice, because I can hook up the ever-amazing multimedia demigod of a laptop I possess. That in additon to the Playstation and Super Famicom (currently sans power cable). I have a digital cable jack in my room, but I’m not sure I want to use it. As enlightening it may be to bathe myself in the fountain of local culture that may spring from there, I think I should be focusing on more esoteric and soul-serving forms of recreation right now. Damn kharmic imbalance.

But I want to go to the beach. A lot. I want to go to Tokyo Disney Sea. Very much a lot. But these sorts of things usually aren’t done alone (at least not without the sepia-toned shade of voyeuristic pursuits). I have three days off in the middle of August for summer vacation. That with a weekend is five (thank you Math Rabbit). I’d like to do something relaxing, fun, a little extravagant, and maybe even with someone else. We’ll see. It may very well manifest itself as a 5-day jaunt into the country to write poems, take pictures and think a lot about mankind’s fate to live a life of suffering. Or I could just stay in bed and eat lots of convenience store food.

I’m pretty tired….think I’ll go home now.

Me and my big mouth

So I ride the train to work everyday, it’s something people do here. ~2.50$ to the office, 2.50$ back. Not bad. Government mandates that the company pay for it too. Even better. Anyway, I try to sleep, but usually there’s too much to notice. Japan is a very dense country in more ways than one, synaesthesia not being the least. So this girl gets on around Meidaimae and takes the seat next to me. But before she even sat down I picked up on her scent, wafting in through the open door. Oh yeah. So stimulating, so arousing… hot dogs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I _loved_ it. It was great, made the trip home. However, if I _told_ her that, she’d probably slap me. I truly would have meant it as a compliment too. Anything that assails my senses to trigger a cavalcade of memories and faded imagery is a big win for me. Because it wasn’t _just_ hot dogs. It was the fourth of July (oddly enough), it was bone dry dirt on a city baseball diamond, grass making the bottom of your feet itch as you run over to get some of the metal-tasting water from the beat fountain next to the rusty green trash can that somehow is sitting crooked on the flat ground. All those times sitting on the swings next to a girl at 11:45pm when you know your father wanted you home at 10:00. I thought of all that, in about three-quarters of a second; a gift from wherever this girl had been that day and picked up. But usually I have to keep those things to myself. You can imagine what happened when I told one girl her orange shirt was fantastic because it reminded me of a pumpkin, or another that I absolutely loved her turtleneck because my grandmother used to wear one just like it. Yeah.

On to more serious matters, my friend Brandon is approaching one of those crossroads that some men crumple under. Fortunately, there’s still hope as his posts are riddled with allusions to fantastic gems such as Mr. Mom and Grosse Point Blank. He gets a two star minimum for that ladies and gentlemen (who the hell am I talking to?). But anyway, the company’s being hard on him, the girl is being hard on him, he’s estranged from the `rents, and he doesn’t have any cash. Wow, he sounds just like me…except for the girl thing. So let’s all blow our shed eyelashes in his favour, and secretly hope he does what everbosy thinks he’s going to and just FLIP OUT, subsequently moving to a certain Pacific island nation for trancendental rehab with the guru of simple living (25$ / day) and therapeutic raves.

“We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.”

Not quite the beginning

…feels like it’s just begun.” So, here I am. Not quite at the beginning but a good long ways from the end. Will this young creative sapling live to a ripe, old age as an honest oak? Or will the drought of apathy and neglect choke off the budding potential of sweet fruit? Who knows, who cares? No one at this point. I’m 23 years old, incredibly switched on by all the crazy little pleasures of life, and at the same time feeling more than a little alone, almost half a world away from county fairs, tractor crossings and okra.

I’ve been in Japan for 39 days now, though it’s not the first time. It is, however, the first time I’ve ever gone someplace without a return ticket. I live in Tokyo, one of the most populous cities in the world (over 12 million). I’m kinda right in the center. If you know anything about Tokyo, I live in Yoyogi, walking 15 minutes to Shinjuku and about 20 to Shibuya. I was a small town guy, but now I’m a big city guy. I like it because there is virtually everything you could conceivably want here (aside from the grazing animals I left behind in America).

When I was about 18, my best friend Brandon and I got our hands on a copy of Moby’s Everything is Wrong. We gave it our first serious listen on our way down to well-to-do Virginia girls’ college Sweetbriar; we were going to see his friend play in a field hockey match. The goalie of the opposing team had on so many thick pads she reminded me of Megaman. But the point is that album was the pivotal first pop rocks and jolt cola that started us on a journey to insane digital music mania. Since then, I can’t begin to describe how much the evolution of my appreciation for electronica (and subsequently idyllic rave culture) has profoundly impacted my life. One may argue I am where I am today because the beats never stopped, so neither have I. Much more on that later.

Anyway, this, my first blog is called Autumn Tactics because a) it’s one of the top 10 pivotal pieces of music that are interwoven with my inescapable past (particularly being in Japan), and b) because some rat took my current Blogger username (LoveParade) and made a blog named after it. Just kidding, you’re not a rat. If you embrace the same sort of acoustic religion I do, it’s all good.

PS – I’m Shift-JIS enabled, and such will some of my links be. So I recommend installing Japanese font support for your terminal if you want to check out any of the cool eastern stuff I’ll mention (it’s not hard).

Peace, Love, Unity and Respect

Starting out

Huzzah! My own template off of my site, ad-free! Yes, I know the font and layout sucks. I’ll change that later this week…need to use something fancier than just plain HTML and Arial. I’m going to be really tired at work tomorrow because of this little project, hope it’s worth it. Good night!

Sending a dream out into the universe…

or in this case a string of UTF-8 encoded characters to a small portion of magnetic media connected to millions of similarly-minded machines. A couple months ago a warm heart said the word “blog” and that I should try it. I thought it was an MMORPG and forgot about looking into it. Today my best friend told me to use it since we live 7000+ miles apart and never get to talk. Ok, I’ll give it a shot.