So my business trip to Los Angeles ends as quickly as it began. Fifty-one hours of Pacific Standard Time. It was educational, warm, fully of tasty things to eat, and garnered a few more memories to weave into my sterling silver bachelor’s band.
I got into town at eight-thirty Tuesday morning, seven hours earlier than when I left. Having a good amount of time on my hands before I could check into the hotel, I took a cab to Venice Beach and walked up Santa Monica to enjoy the weather. Along the way I met a pair of recently discharged Japanese office workers from Kyushu, and stopped at Big Dean’s for a ginormous double burger with fries and a pint of Sam Adams at the lovely body clock time of five a.m.
In between meetings I picked my way along the walk of fame and spent a good deal of time in the hotel conferring with coworkers back east. In some ways I think I could get used to living on the road: my room was about three times the size of my apartment and had a pretty decent view of the sunrise and Hollywood Hills.
Oddly enough my good high school friend Adam who I’d seen once in the last twelve years lives about five minutes’ drive from my hotel. We walked the dog, talked about old times, and his fiancee made us some lovely Cuba cuisine.
It was a short trip, but well-balanced and even had a good degree of intrigue and romance. Ah, the two carry-on lifestyle.
It’s reasonable to say that the changes to one’s personality over time are influenced by the environment one lives in. The people one interacts with on a daily basis, he absorbs their means of communicating and dealing with problems. It’s never a complete assimilation, but an intermediary interpolation, an annealing process.
I think in general as people grow older they become more calm and passive. It’s a matter of waiting, thinking, and responding. However, living in Japan may accelerate my evolution into this frame of mind. I undoubtedly have my opinions, and thoughts on events and dialogue, however as time has passed I’ve become more prone to listen quietly and reflect. It’s nothing astounding, it’s just a smooth mellowing that I’m conscious of and entertained by. Waiting is.
This morning when I awoke the air was damp, fresh, and slightly warm. Last night I went to Yoyogi park on the way home to practice guitar. I sat by the lake as a sprinkling rain began and fumbled through my standard repretoire. Tokyo has so much light pollution that in even the middle of night very few places are truly dark. Silhouettes of lovers and and homeless men are easy to pick out, silent and thoughtful.
Two months in the year have passed and I feel like I’ve accomplished little. It’s not often that I feel that time passes quickly, but I’ve been home so little this year, doing things without photographs it runs together. Parks, row boats, guitars, wine, skiing, and smokey bars. Ah, but it is life, sweet and ripe, even if feeling somewhat lost in it.
Tokyo is a city of endless fascination. The rivers and sandlots, the storage rooms and offices, a sea of billboards and dingy katakana signs. Houses apartments are packed together like a tacklebox, an endless array of multicoloured plaster, concrete, and tile. I could devote a lifetime to exploring it all and never discover a fraction of its secrets. Families and grocery shopping, torrid affairs and love hotels, a panolpy of rust, plastic, sin, and perservance all under the bleary eye of a tired sun.
I board the train to the airporte at Shinjuku and impulsively swallow down an inari and tarako onigiri set with takuan. Wrestling off the cap of my blythe green tea I take a few strained belts. Muscles still coiled from the rushed disarray of morning, I put on m hopelessly broken headphones and try to calm myself down with some Final Fantasy piano concertos. The start of a journey and so much angstful longing for the good old wandering romantic me, I wish I were riding the train in the other direction, back to my ramshackle commuter bicycle. But this is the start, thirty hours of travel and forty-nine in Los Angeles. Four days of a businessman’s solitude.
The thirty days beginning from the end of February are a challenge in displacement endurance. Three locations, five days of skiing over a nine-day period, roughly thirty-hours on buses. Tuesday I head to Los Angeles for a business trip. Two weeks later I’m in San Francisco for another. Fortunately I’ve come into use of a laptop notebook that weighs less than nine pounds and has a battery life of more than five minutes. Mind maps, Visual Assist, blog entries. It’s interesting to think how what seems so convenient and state-of-the-art now will be laughable in a decade’s time.
The downside of all this travelling is a virtual freeze on artistic development. There has been little writing, and virtually no photographic advancements made in the last eighty days, save for a one day darkroom course I took last month. I made a wiki for what I’ve learned, but I have to use a discount coupon by Saturday for another session.
My visa expires at the end of May, but I think I will continue to get more than my money’s worth on my re-entry permit before then. Six unbroken years in Japan. Six. So much work, so many trips, so few regrets. Life is rich, and so are the possibilities… for a road warrior.