Entranced

Autumn has finally come, and the rides to and from work on my bicycle are envigorating. The balcony feels wider, cleaner, fresher. The house air is cool and carries a faint tint of paperbacks. My heart swells with the energy of the season, and I have no end of things to do.

I live by myself, spending long, quiet nights and weekends in solitude, but in my mind I’m never alone. There is a deep warmth inside that makes me smile. This is a blessing.

Working through it

In late November I will have my second private gallery showing of the year. I more or less have in my mind what I want to say, but there has been a pall over any concrete progress. I could be procrastinating, or the subjective nature of what I want to achieve may be disturbing my focus.

Still, photographs need to be taken and I’m working with portraits, so over the last three weeks I’ve taken seventeen rolls of film, all of which I have back. Now I need to evaluate if there’s a strong, unified concept, and see if I can make this work. Fortunately, muse visits me from time to time.

This weekend I should go to class and go over the material with my instructor, but the call of a three-day autumn rave is calling strong, and I need to do some deep meditation on matters that have been troubling me.

When flying was new

[originally recorded April of 2001, before the start of autumn tactics but included for posterity]

The stewardess made me put my laptop away. I guess it’s because they want your undivided attention during takeoff, because it’s the most likely time for a disaster to occur. So I started watching the safety video with nothing else to do. I swear I know the male attendant in the tape like he’s my in-law. I call him Brad. I’ve flow roughly twelve thousand miles in the past month, which is a big deal for me who hates traveling. I went to Vancouver at the beginning of March for an academic event. It was actually pretty nice: the sidewalks are really wide, and everything is super clean. The average level of education in Canada seems to be a lot higher than the States, too. Forgiving the western obsession with curling, it was pretty cool to see the world “obseqious” in a headline on the front page of the national paper.

That had to be the start of the one of the wildest, most interesting trips I’ve been on. I bought Cuban cigars for my old boss and smuggled them back into the States, met a condomologist who educated me in the ways of exotic protection, and got throughly soused after beating one of my professors in foosball. This was a big deal because he’s from MIT, where they have foosball tables in practically every lecture hall. After Canada I started a shoestring trip to Tampa to meet some of my fraternity brothers. I flew from Seattle to Vegas to Detroit to Tampa, all in ten hours overnight, with a cutthroat 30-minute layover for connection designed by the University Travel Agent.

In the spring of 2001, on my red-eye from Seattle to Las Vegas I met my first single-serving friend. Her name was Rose and she was from Seattle. Though she was only 21 like me, she’d been married for four years. She was a special education teacher and knew absolutely nothing about computers. I thought it was kind of interesting how very different our lives had already become at such a young age. She was really scared about flying, and only going because she got roped into attending someone’s wedding in Vegas. Her husband and friends (who looked like they were off the set of Almost Famous) were traveling with her, but they were on the other side of the aisle.

She looked quite apprehensive as the engines started up, whining and squeaking profusely. I told her this was standard far for an Airbus and that’s just the way they build planes in Europe. That seemed to calm her down somewhat, but she swore she couldn’t fly until she had her Budweiser. This about cracked me up, she needed her Budweiser. As the plane rocked about during our ascent to thirty-thousand feet, I assured her that 95% of plane crashes were due to mechanical failure, not the turbulence. This made her a little more relaxed. Still the plane continued to lurch from side to side, and I started to worry if she’d be all right until the drink service started. Then I noticed her husband holding her hand, rubbing his fingers consolingly. That’s one of this things that you see and it just makes you feel good that you’re human.

秘密

今日また家の中が暑いです。額には玉の汗が吹きだしてきました。疲れが溜まって筋肉がいたぎもちいい。

準備は全部土日とためでしたので、今日予定なにも入れていない。珍しいけどちょっと幸せ。これから久しぶりちゃりをぶらぶら乗って、芝大神宮のだらだら例祭に行きます。生姜をかって、人生に感謝します。

天気に感謝。いたぎもちいい筋肉痛に感謝。友達に感謝。

とても長い間に頭を使って、技能と腕で世界を制覇できると思った。けど徐々に別のことが重要のは気づいていた。

Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

引き続き撮影

今日九月の大撮影会が引き続きました。朝一番に元気なるためは納豆でしょう?

午後に久しぶり河童橋を経て浅草にモデルさんの写真をとりました。

写真教室の後にちょっとだけBREASPHEREに行って踊りました。YOZOは気持ちよくて、クラブなのに野外の盛り上がり雰囲気だった。

Read My Mind

on the corner of main street
just tryin’ to keep it in line
you say you wanna move on and
you say I’m falling behind

can you read my mind?
can you read my mind?

I never really gave up on
breakin’ out of this two-star town
I got the green light
I got a little fight
I’m gonna turn this thing around

can you read my mind?
can you read my mind?

The good old days
the honest man
the restless heart
the promised land
a subtle kiss
that no one sees
a broken wrist
and a big trapeze

Oh well I don’t mind
if you don’t mind
coz I don’t shine
if you don’t shine
before you go

can you read my mind?

it’s funny how you just break down
waitin’ on some sign
I pull up to the front of your driveway
with magic soakin’ my spine

can you read my mind?
can you read my mind?

The teenage queen
the loaded gun
the drop dead dream
the chosen one
a southern drawl
a world unseen
a city wall
and a trampoline

Oh well I don’t mind
if you don’t mind
coz I don’t shine
if you don’t shine
before you jump
tell me what you find
when you read my mind

Slippin in my faith
until I fall
He never returned that call
woman, open the door
don’t let it sting
I wanna breathe that fire again

She said
I don’t mind
if you don’t mind
coz I don’t shine
if you don’t shine
put your back on me
put your back on me
put your back on me

The stars are blazing
like rebel diamonds
cut out of the sun
can you read my mind?

– The Killers

Echoes

There are so many forces at work. In fact there always are, but the way they affect one’s consciousness varies. Sometimes you pay it no mind, sometimes it’s everything in the world. For the first time in a long time I’m caught in those forces and instead of me controlling them, they’re controlling me. It’s sweet and tough and scary and thrilling all at the same time. Humbling and glorious.

I’ve come to the point where I recognize the value of advice, and the tried and true nature of axioms. The reason people say the same thing so often isn’t because it’s fashionable, it’s because it’s the truth. Chew your food. Look both ways when you cross the street. Relax. Be yourself. Good things take time.

I can’t get my mind off it. It won’t go away. I can’t force it, just like anything else involving feelings. So I need to just let go and enjoy the ride, for wherever it takes me. The push and pull of youthful angst; it’s alive and well in my blood still.

Story of the gum kid

One time, I was walking from Kappabashi to Akihabara taking pictures. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I think maybe 2007 or 2008, in the autumn. On my way through one of the many charming, quiet backstreets of Taito-ku I met the gum kid. He was playing by himself outside just before dusk. We had a small conversation.

Me: こんばんは。 (Good evening.)
Kid: [僕のルックのワッペンをみる]どうしたの?マリオ好きの? ([looking at the patches on my bag] You like Mario?)
Me: そうだよ。僕はゲームを作っている、仕事。 (Yeah, I make games. It’s my work.)
Kid: 何のゲーム?(What games?)
Me:「応援団」知ってる?(Do you know Ouendan?)
Kid:DSを持ってる。聞いたことある。(I have a DS. I’ve heard of it.)
Kid:チップ見せて。 (Show me the cartridge.)
Me:今無い、会社にある。(I don’t have it now, it’s at work.)
[子供はガムを出して渡す] ([Kid takes out a piece of gum and hands it to me.])
Me:これは何?ガム? (What is this, gum?)
Me:ありがとう。(Thanks.)
Kid:じゃあ、またね。(Ok, see ya.)
Me:またね。(See ya.)
Kid:バイバイ。(Bye.)

The gum kid was so nonchalant, so cool. But not in an intentional, prepared way. He was just so natural and quiet, like it was the most obvious thing in the world to talk to me, and that we could understand each other, and that I liked gum.

The gum kid blew my mind. I want to be like him.