Ten days in

The perfect storm of Kanto’s migration west coupled with a three day weekend traditionally reserved for visiting ancestors’ graves in the countryside has backed me into a corner of the Nozomi Super Express for the ride back to Tokyo. I should have had the foresight to buy a reserved ticket before I even left the capital, but it’s not that big a deal. I’ve had worse returns. It remains to be seen how packed things get at Nagoya, it’s possible I won’t even be able to sit in the corner then, so I’m taking advantage of the time to write now.

I wasn’t alone this weekend hardly at all, actually. I figured coming into town with two days’ notice would leave me wandering around a lot, but to my chagrin I spent virtually the whole weekend with Nobue, going around to her various appointments with her, meeting father and mother each twice.

No temples, but I did more than a fair share of praying at Izumo Daijinja and Kitano Tenmanguu. For the most part I was able to avoid gloomy conversation concerning the earthquake and the hot controversy spun around the nuclear power industry, which has been bane to efforts to improve my spirit over the last ten days.

Yes, there are going to be lingering issues darkening life in Tokyo for months, conspiracy theory talk, rumors of radiation tainted vegetables and rolling blackouts that ensnare the faltering economy. But it’s neither cathartic nor a positive use of my time to spend another second thinking about it so the monologue ends here. I appreciate the problems we face as a community but it’s my nature to focus on the positive, on the future. There’s a life to live and countless victories yet to be won with my blinding resolution.

Kick it to the road

The fat bass, the breakdown, some ethereal chorus over a pad that’s been used over and over for the last twenty years. Snap and it picks back up, analysts would say that the predictability of trance is what makes it so soothing to people. Of course we’re going to like what we know. I never accrue a tolerance to its potent formula.

Thirteen years and it grips me all the more. To the crowds, the cheers, the crackling energy spread across a network of hearts desperately yearning for release.

What we all need now is a little planned chaos, what we all need right now is a rave.

Trance will see me through crisis again


I haven’t written in a while, since January I’ve been working on a side project for the company that has me exceptionally enthused, so I was coding at nights and weekends, at home or going into the office. At the beginning of March we had a number of important presentations to prepare for, etc. etc. Now as few things that greatly alter the course of one’s life are planned, Japan is in the wake of one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history.

The last week has been a series of ups and downs, with drama on all fronts. Physically I am in no immediate danger, and my greatest personal challenges are those shared with many of my countrymen, fear, distrust and apprehension. Conspiracy theorists on both sides of the ocean are dubious as the quality of the information disclosed by the government and the power company, but I’m not in a position to play pundit. My goal is to keep a level head, do my job, and support the country as best I can. If I were to start doubting the veracity of the news provided to be by the authorities, then I might as well leave the country outright, which is the course chosen by an increasingly large number of expatriates. I am an American citizen but for all intents and purposes otherwise Japanese. My livelihood, my friends, and my passion all thrive in this country and I will not toss them all away on mere conjecture. I would be lying if I said that I don’t think about the threat of another earthquake or radioactive contamination on a daily basis, but I am fortunate to be able to say it is a fear that weakens by the day, and roughly as much a factor in my decisions as cholesterol level.

I do not consider myself noble or strong, perhaps stubborn more than anything. I have lost sleep this week like millions of others, but when considering my position as compared to most others in the this disaster-stricken country, I have no right at all to complain. I have no wife, no children, no family’s future to think of other than those I have yet to produce. My house was only slightly tousled from the earthquake, and the central location of it precludes me from the current rolling blackouts. I do not need to commute on the trains and line up for hours hoping I can get home, my bicycle works as well as it ever has. In a time of so much chaos, from a topical perspective I am total control of most of the everyday factors of my life.

I’ve starting carrying my passport with me at all times, and though the implications of such an action are unsettling, it provides me a small sense of comfort. I also enrolled in the STEP program, and for the first time in a long time I found a deep, moving sense of value in my American citizenship.

I want to be stronger and less affected by the words of those around me, but I overdosed on information in the first 72 hours of this crisis, and found my composure leeching away through the tide of so many panicked voices.

I’ve come to Kyoto this weekend to clear my mind. I was just here two months ago so in terms of a vacation spot it’s not the top of my choices, but it’s familiar and farther removed from the gashed wounds in Japan’s heartland. The next three days I hope to find quiet and busy myself again once in expression, through code, and words, and music. Three days of walking, three days of contemplation, of strengthening, three days of prayer and rebirth.

Melodic Trance

Music can save your soul.

With time comes change, change for all people. Fads fade and bandwagons break, the angst of youth is obviated by personal success. But although my love of rave culture, of trance will change, it will never wilt and die. It will only grow stronger with age, as will my heart. I will always be a raver, singing the praises of peace, love, unity, and respect woven in the tapestry of electronic music until the day I die.

Above & Beyond isn’t here just to make something out of music, they’re here to motivate and inspire us to make something of ourselves.