Traces of summer

My life is an ever-spinning cyclone of passion, frustration, longing, and freneticism. Inside my docile grey eyes a broken symphony boils over with ten tousdan fragmented dreams. I never pretended living in Japan wouldn’t change me, everyone grows; but the water, sun, and earth shifted around me, and all of the snapping rich eccentricities and angst of my youth flowered into a bristling neon panolpy of facets. Movement from the heart drives my body, and grinding through lost gears my organs snap together as they quake, resonate, and metamorphose. The orthoognal clean edges I cut with have blurred, frayed and been overexposed. A hooded, yellow-eyed hunger sucks up characters, fonts, snapshots and pulpy magazines. The solid colors sepearte into duotone dots and I race between extremes of frothed broadening tastes, darting amonst shiny plastic lifestyles. Self-defeating, always evolving, the strands of identity in my soul are rewritten and torn down like the obviated tenements of mid-town. The more I deviate from what what I expect of myself the more I let race by me, outgrowing levels of consciousness that no longer supply my verve with the fuel it needs to carry my expression to another plane.

Counting rings and rocking in the heat, time moves around me and I inhale it.













I’d move to Rockferry
And I’d build my house, baby
With sorrow

I’d leave my shadow
To fall behind
And I wouldn’t write to you
‘Cause I’m not that kind

The midnight trains are boarding
All wrap up eights
I pick my load and I fill my truck
Before it’s too late

I leave the stars to judge
My every move
I’m not going to think of you, oh
I’d get the blues

There’s no sleep on the journey
Away from town
A bag of songs and a heavy heart
Won’t make me down

I’ll give it all my strength and my mind
I’ll make this decision with or without

I’d move to Rockferry
And I’d build my house, baby
With sorrow


Obon is the Festival of the Dead. Though obon traditionally fell in July, it varies from region to region, and the generally accepted period is now three days in the middle of August. Nearly all corporations offer their employees obon break, though it isn’t a national holiday. Obon is one of the two big family vacation times, the other being New Year’s, when people usually tend to return to their parents’ house. This returning to one’s origins is not for only the living, but the deceased as well. Families’ ancestors’ spirits return the their graves, and their kin assemble to pay respects. At the end is a lovely festival of lights to help lead the departed back to the world of the afterlife.

I don’t have any blood relations in Japan but when I first started out here I met some very dear people that to me were family, so traditionally every summer for obon I would go back to the beginning, to Nara, and visit with them.

But times change and people move on. All of the people I grew up with in Kansai are moved or estranged, so going back now has become little more visiting with ghosts in another victim of urban sprawl and over development. It’s just as well because in recent years I’ve been working too much to really notice.

So the saying goes, “Obon mo shigoto da ze!“, which means “Obon is also work!” This is a play on a classic drama Hisatsu shigotonin where the original saying goes something along the lines of, “Shigoto no ato wa shigoto da ze!“, which means “After work comes work!” This tongue-in-cheek line is comedy that rubs the wrong way, since so many of us in Tokyo are bound and chained to this work-centric lifestyle anyway. Nowadays the particular place it I notice it though is on pachinko ads in the trains.

2008 marks the fortieth anniversary of film series “Otoko wa tsurai yo” (It’s Tough Being a Man). The protagonist, Tora-san, deserves a proper post to himself, but here’s a shot from the Yamanote line platform at Shibuya displaying the cool countenance of Japan’s perennial hard luck lover.

My cherry tomatoes have also come of age the last couple weeks, though for the most part it hasn’t been a good harvest at the Ventura farm this year. I didn’t do any cultivation research in advance so I guess this is what I get. I know I can get more out of my crop; things have just been so hectic I don’t have time to do much more than water at midnight and in the morning. The tomatoes tasted okay; not superb, but passable. When steamed the carrots were half-decent as well.

Time flows like a river, and where will you end up?

Though the particular date often escapes me, summer always brings the terminal feelings associated with my anniversary of living in Japan. Another cycle is spent; I’ve been here five years. I don’t know what is right anymore; I act but with so much less anticipation. I’m so tuned and adept at certain things but so blind to a myriad of others that I used to entertain. It’s like being in a crowded room with hundreds of people talking all at once but over time you unconsciously develop the habit of filtering them out one by one, until it’s as if you’re the only person for miles.

The first place I lived was a weekly mansion in Takaido. I bought a used mint green Ralph Lauren oxford for five hundred yen and I wore it to work the first day after nicking my Adam’s apple shaving in the morning. The photographs I took then were beautiful to me, but now looking at them I can hardly believe that they’re mine. It’s like seeing yourself at a party as a stranger.

I am exhausted, completely exhausted: physically, mentally, emotionally– in every way imaginable. A single pint of beer makes the following day almost intolerable. It seems that 85% of my life is muscle memory, and my brain is eternally drugged. I keep thinking to myself, if I just eat a little healthier, if I just change the position I sleep in, or how I hold myself when I walk, it’ll all come together and I’ll feel like I used to, like I barely remember.

I’m learning, but how much and at what cost I can’t keep track of any more.

Too tired to sleep…

[I just noticed that this is post 700. Seven hundred in just a little over five years; though the last nine months the rate has really slowed.]


The summer that never was continues and life passes me as I sit in a puddle of convenience store sandwiches, canned coffee, and unshaved Fridays.

I will be working like this for probably another five weeks. I am stalling on using the GPU to export pixel shader contents directly to memory. Thread safety and frame rates follow me into my dreams where I ask my artists once again, are they _sure_ that the alpha is cleanly feathered in all of the UI textures?

Sample photographs are back from the ST801, and unfortunately it seems that the iris blades will not close, leaving the camera perpetually locked at F1.8. This did cost me a roll of Centuria 400 and I should have checked the mechanics of the camera before taking any pictures. Now I have the task of dismantling the lens in hopes of repairing the aperture control.

I am going to try very, very, hard to get to a highly talked of party at the end of the month, which as my good friend Futoshi says will provide, “some really great photographic material.” It is the weekend before _the_ milestone though, so my hopes of making it are waning.

A significant period off is rumored to occur in the next two months. The thought I could stop working and actually go somewhere seems unreal; I am hesitant to believe and even if it did manifest it would most certainly fall dramatically short of my expectations for the fabled multi week time off game developers supposedly get after a big project. Nevertheless, I am starting to study Italian again…my first instinct was a multi-country crawl through central Europe.

Today I am going out to the east side of town to get some precision tools for the Fujinon lens, and see an exhibition of the Japanese master painters. I also need some honest to goodness epiphany for planning my next collaborative show. We meet today and hopefully will make some significant headway towards a concept we can be invigorated by.