Tag Archives: electronica

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
.

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.

24 Hours

There are forces buried inside of me that I cannot comprehend; laying dormant, inactive. I could live a lifetime never knowing they exist were it not for a chance combustion. Music as a concept as a pure rod of unscored metal, a blank key with limitless possibilities. From the moment we are born until the day we die, we could listen to every composition ever conceived and not find the exact match for the signature of our soul.

But there is a flash, a moment, when that discovery is made, and all of the tumblers fall into place. The combination is complete– a maelstrom of fervor and ectasy is unlocked. The discovery of a lifetime, the infinite sequencing of the mind dissolved. My eternal key is Mat Zo’s 24 Hours. [Right around the three-minute mark my restraint unwinds….]

Night Shift

Silent Hill 3?

I’ve been thinking about moving recently, to Shimokitazawa, perhaps, to be closer to an active community of young, frenetic artists. However, since I’ve purchased an amazing Presta valve-compatible foot-activated pump for the Trek, I’ve been immensely enjoying riding up and down the Yamanote Line. This bicycle is a golden chariot nimble as a scalpel when slicing up smooth pavement. And the roads at three in the morning are blessedly barren of traffic, so I dart through intersections with the whistle of the wind in my ears.

From my ideally located command center in Yoyogi, in fifteen minutes I can get anywhere from Takadanobaba to halfway between Ebisu and Shibuya on this baby, every sinew loving the efficient euclidean bond between my feet and the Huret drivetrain.

Tonight I left work around nine-thirty, tried to take the Enjoy to Cosmos Cafe in Shibuya (but had to leave it in the parking lot with a flat), taxied up Miyasamazaka to see the Kawaki sisters’ dance, and then sped home to print up more flyers for the show. Around one-thirty I pried myself away from Beer Fest and beat up Meiji Street to catch Mayu’s DJ set at Emotional Signal in Waseda. Now it’s past four and I am almost exhausted. The standard fair six hours’ sleep, and tomorrow I help Okada-san move. Ah, joie de vivre.

Far From the Maddening Crowds

Admittedly, there has been a distinct dearth of writing this year. However, there has not been a lack of fantastic electronic music. I’m about four or five years behind the curve of certain compatriots in terms of purchasing media, but I’ve been making great strides so far this year. Normally I’m a listen-to-it-on-ETN-and-rip-it kind of guy, but this doesn’t work for albums, especially vintage stuff. However the closure of Virgin Megastore and some shrewd international Amazoning has allowed me to get my hands on a number of classic recordings (some for the second time).

Chicane – Far From the Maddening Crowds (1997)
Namesake of autumn tactics, electronica artist Chicane’s debut album. Before Behind the Sun, in 1997 Nick Bracegirdle composed this seminal album of glasslike cool. In particular the track Offshore is reminiscient of winding through the rising Applachians on my way to Pittsburgh during grad school.

Paul Oakenfold – Tranceport (1998)
Tranceport is the album that pulled me headfirst into trance. Though Moby and Aphex Twin got me started on electronica, it was Paul Oakenfold that metamorphisized me. I used to listen to this album on a Sony Walkman brick of a tape player while running around Lake Sammamish in the cool, green, summer of 2000. This is at the top of my list when I need to plow through something in 74 minutes.

Ulrich Schnauss – Far Away Trains Passing By (2001)
Ever since meeting him at Taico Club last May, I’ve had Ulrich Schnauss in my heavy rotation for riding home at night. Minimalist electronica that ranges from the chill to the grand in Ulrich’s first album under his own name.

Sasha – Airdrawndagger (2002)
I bought this album simply for the zen nature of Cloud Cuckoo, but Sasha’s self-produced work is growing on me.

and a couple more recent releases:

Oceanlab – Sirens of the Sea (2008)
I’ve always loved Above and Beyond’s anthems, especially Oceanlab mixes by Ferry Corsten. Justine Suissa’s vocals are fair on this album, not up to the level of Autumn Tactics, but a couple of the tracks are nice.

Nick Warren – GU035 Lima (2008)
I don’t get out of trance enough, unfortunately, so I was happy to run into this album when at the Virgin Megastore in San Francisco. Even in its progressive format, house is still more suited for small clubs rather than raves but it’s a nice change, and I’m enjoying the double CD. It makes me pine for my old GU004, Paul Oakenfold in Oslo.

Knuddelmaus

Kawasaki-shi Kyomachi is still the same. The same tired, old buildings, empty of people but lived in. The same early morning shadows in winter, soft and blue in fresh January air.

The more I learn about them, the more I can imagine myself using narcotics to maximize my output from life; stimulants for when I don’t sleep, to help me focus, to be able to grind out hour upon hour of photographs, music, and prose. Reading volumes and consuming everything, augmented and completely wired to my core. Then inevitably I’d need depressants to relax me, to help me get the three hours’ sleep that would keep my body from collapsing, to put the brakes on the endless surges that carry me all the way up the stairs to my apartment after work. So many things I’m capable of, so much light to consume and refract.

But there are limits, and like all substances there has to be something to give for what I receive, sooner or later. So I just imagine it, and compromise the government-recommended way: an endless supply of coffee and self-denial.

It’s a clear day. It’s a very saturated day.

Floori.d.a

A clouded sky, under a twenty-thousand foot canopy of still grey. Towering, slim evergreens reach across the ceiling like well used acrylic brushes. Moving without sound with expectation, with so much determination with direction, with longing, with cold dispatch. Explosions of color in water, slowly diffusing into starkly back lit glass. To do everything with purpose, and gravity.

To do everything… with purpose and gravity.

Media and cold

Without circumstance, November has come to an end. My annual review and company retreat are over, Thanksgiving has passed sans oven-baked bird, and the cold permeates all.

I am awash in media, after finishing last week’s after parties for Natural Smile, Drop, and Fukushi. I have a collection of CDs from new acquaintances DJs Funnel, Slam, and Sugluma. Also, I’m not quite sure how, but French band Air has been really in the back of my mind lately, so yesterday I picked up Pocket Symphony, Talkie Walkie, and a limited edition DVD set of Moon Safari.

Now I am shivering in my home trying to fight my way through the mountains of film from Europe, sipping Asahi and contemplating how much more comfortable reading books in the park would be.

Natural Smile and Drop albums are up, so feel free to take a look if you like. You also may notice that European blog posts are trickling in as well, so check the feed or scroll back to October.

Tenrinsai

Though I’ve been taking pictures of raves for seven years, I rarely ever post pictures from them. However, last weekend I went to Tenrinsai in Fukushima, and was set on taking a substantial number of photographs. I planned for varying weather conditions (Centuria), as well as extremely low light levels (Super Presto 1600, pushed to 3200). In the end I got through six rolls of film on the A-1 and Macha’s borrowed Holga, with a couple snapshots in between with the PowerShot. There are some very show-worthy shots, though if I can successfully integrate them into a theme is another issue.

I have some reflection to put up along with these, but for now just take a look the pictures, and get a little taste of Japanese country psytrance.

The return of busyness

Though I can’t really claim to have had any significant downtime in the last four years, I do have a standard that I’ve maintained for more or less half a year. A normal day starts with one hour waking up/shower, thirteen hours communting/work, one and a half hours dinner/television, one hour reading news/comics on the computer, half an hour tidying/getting ready for bed, and then roughly six-seven hours of sleep. I used to analyze it thinking I could improve it somehow, but there are constants which fighting will only exhaust you more.

After I got back from Paris last May and registered for GEISAI, I made plans for a restructured schedule, and got into it really during the summer, at which point I spiraled into an intense three months of simply work (corporate) + work (private). It was tiring, it was exciting, and it ended in a sleepless daze that I vaguely remember. Afterwards I “took a break” which meant going back to “the standard”, and not touching my camera or synth for about six weeks. It didn’t exactly get me back to like-new condition.

But, an idle mind is a crazy one, for me, so perhaps it’s best that I stay near the cusp of exhaustion fighting for something that only makes sense to me.

Now that I am “idle”, and have a lot of time on my hands, I decided I needed another improbable goal to motivate me to tighten the screws on my regimen. The next GEISAI is proported to occur sometime in the summer, and a tentative art show four months away isn’t enough of a impetus to spur me to serious action, so I made a spur of the moment decision. I squeezed through the closing door of DESIGN FESTA 25 registration and got myself a booth for Saturday the 26th of May.

My gosh! That’s less than seven weeks away! How in the world will I put together a display of artwork that’s a substantial improvement over last autumn in half the time?

Good question, let’s find out.

Spooky – Little Bullet

Nights, passed exits.
The self that waits in line doesn’t stand still.

This isn’t a cross, or a box, or a waiting room.
This is now.

This is what I will make of it, and so, I choose to have it be a remake of myself.

All I need is the fuel. Give me the fuel and I’ll run forever.

A Walk in Andante

After my industrious session of shopping and preparing, my fatigue got the better of me, and I ended up spending the middle of Saturday afternoon in a half-conscious daze on the sofa. However, I did manage to get some good source material from the microKORG before heading out for dinner in Kagurazaka. This week I don’t think I can afford myself any relaxation (TNG) given the amount of time remaining, so I’ll be spending my nights this week in the cycle of producing and processing audio data between Sound it! and Cakewalk (yes, I’m a ghetto rookie). The thing is, since I doubt any one person is going to be staying around my booth for more than fifteen minutes, I actually don’t need any more music than that for my audience. However, I have no doubt that I will loathe my own compositions enough to want to quit music forever if I have to listen to a twenty-minute loop for nine hours.

Thanks to some Illustrator tips I got from Risako, I managed to put together a personal business card that I don’t hate completely. Of course, after uploading it to the print shop online, I’ve already come up with a number of shortcomings (e.g. I don’t list the fact that I’m an engineer anywhere on the card). [This in itself is interesting in that I spend over seventy percent of my life being one.] Still, it really improved during last night’s power session after watching X-Men 2 on Asahi TV’s Sunday night movie.

I’m beginning to notice patterns in design that are pleasing to me. Everything seems to start out big and complicated, and I iteratively whittle away at what I want to convey until in the end I just have a condensed, subdued morsel left over from my initial delusions of grandeur. One of the key points to creation (at least for me), is to be acutely aware of my resources and limitations (time, technical skill, ability to focus), and do the best I can with that. Stretching myself to accomplish more than what is feasible is what results in half-finished and flat looking material. After flipping through the couple hundred business cards I have piled up on my corner shelf, I realized that the ones that appealed to me most were the ones that didn’t have bitmapped backgrounds, tons of text, or bold marks. To me, professional is subtle curves, thin lines, and a conservative use of space. Everyone has their own sense I suppose, but I think it’s more than chance that I embrace this kind of philosophy now after growing continually disenchanted with inefficiency, hype, and gluttonous amounts of shellac on a dearth of substance. At last, I am learning to accept this is part of a process for continual improvement, and not push myself beyond what I can adeptly accomplish. I must be content and proud of what is achievable now. To illustrate remedial concepts with prowess and exhibit the glistening promise of future potential will serve me well, I believe.

I also had several depressing reminders that Japan is small and you always have to be thinking of other people before you do something. Putting nails into pine is a very noisy process, and can’t be done in my home, in front of my house in the alley, or in fact anywhere near any number of tightly clustered buildings. I went to the park to assemble the base of my display, but ultimately succeeded only in learning that there are way too many biting insects in late summer, and nails are good for little more than hanging pictures. I have since upgraded my philosophy to screws, which, by the way, quickly show just how overpriced the low-grade lumber at Tokyu Hands really is.

CodeWarrior Error

A story of a boy and a rave

…during one not so long ago weekend, on a mission to find adventure in the mountains. His tale is filled with glory and celebration, with pain and dull agony; a story that ends this very night, covered in nationwide rain and thunder, but starts only a mere thirty-six hours ago.

[download and play this BGM on repeat while reading]

…twenty years ago I was banned from my homeland, parted from my wife and son never to see them again. Why? Because I suggested to use the atomic elements for producing super-beings, beings of unimaginable strength and size. I was classified as a madman, a charlatan, outlawed in the world of science which had previously honoured me as a genius. Now here in this forsaken jungle hell I have proved that I am all right!

Saturday 11:40 a.m.

I’m wearing my rarely used suede fuchsia G.T. Hawkins, which means that either all my other sneakers are soaked or I’m going raving. Fortunately today it’s the latter.

I’m on the ambling Ome Line, bound for another mountain adventure of Japanese psytrance and stamina-breaking sensuous inundation. Currently I’m cool in my Osaka blue three-quarter length sleeve listening to the Ravemobile favorite Global Trancemissions, but it was a little challenging getting here. Well, challenging suh-nap! only in the respect I got up too late, fought through too much PC mundanity, and overestimated the frequency of trains for a remote JR line on a weekend. But I threw my battered stead down at the subway entrance, and fought my way through Shinjuku station, like a crazed Iberian in the Crusades. But now it’s just the bass and the treble and a six speaker cascade of German aural fidelity in a fire engine red slab of rollicking Detroit highway aristocracy [or rather it was, and now it’s just a memory].

Already I’ve sighted fellow travelers on the road to acoustic community [it turned out later I was wrong and they were a sort of camp group going to someplace else in the middle of nowhere for the weekend]. There are a group of rowdy, drink-laden boys across from me, and a handful of equally grocery store-stocked girls sitting quietly and thumbing through wallets a ways down. Initially looking for a ride, I emailed the info address for the party and got a fairly prompt response, and I ended up volunteering to help. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, running cables or taking money I suppose, probably the former. I assume I will still get to recline and celebrate as usual, but I will have the chance to meet some new people in the process. I hope my Japanese holds up. [It would, except under the most daunting of conditions…more on this later.]

Since raving and community are two of the same, I’m starting to think that like any form of ritualistic religion, the mind and the soul need to be purified before beginning the solemn act, so that the most natural sort of interactions may freely occur.

I expect nothing.
I wish for nothing other than to breathe and share life.
All people are once children.
There is nothing to divide us.
The music will join all.
Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.

I’m here to help. I want to give back. Reciprocate: oxygen; carbon dioxide; water; sweat. Running, breathing. Laughing, flying. I am a boy like so many others but unique. Bond feathers blood beats. I will hold my face to the grass and inhale the earth. Let us sing through mountains together.

Fingers slide with one grace and a face exists. Flying like honeyed mercury over plateaus of marble. Dart and dance and grow larger than your lithe body. Awake! In a call to goddesses and gods alike– we slide through gates that echo and reverberate our smiles. Fade; fade and fan and blur out; far, far out, leaving iridescent mist contrails of wisdom. Overlooking the sun of tomorrow on horizons past thatched roofs and cable lines abound, the juice that is the gum of verve simmers into the universe. The two dimensions that hold our feet to the soil break loose, and a tenshi hovers among us. It shoots out from every pore; notes and melodies rife with innocence and a chance to reform and refine technology into nature, and the things kept inside are unlocked bringing purpose and sacred meaning to every thought that drifts awash in an utopian mind.

[I just set my hair on fire while reaching over the back of the computer to find the power cable…was using candles because of the storm; amazing how quickly it burns. I think it’s time for bed. ]

… default RPG inn-resting music goes here …

[Apparently not sleeping and the previous day’s events had made me a little tired. I just woke up after an eleven hour hibernation.]

Although glancing at the map seemed to place the party (which was at Yamagawa Camp Village) only about ten kilometers from Okutama station, it was a grueling forty minute bus ride to get there. I’ve never been a big fan of buses in Japan, partially for the motion sickness and partially for the ridiculous (to my mind) lack of efficiency involved within. You usually pay one and a half times as much as a train for a ride that takes three times as long. Japan is only slightly larger than California in land mass, but it takes a ridiculous time to travel anywhere when compared to the US. Unfortunately the mental ideal of sixty miles to an hour just doesn’t apply in Japan; unless you’re on the bullet train, then its 180-200 miles per hour.

Upon arriving at the base of the campsite I took the hike in and got to really appreciate the pristine forests of Yamanashi prefecture: deciduous blankets of cream with marbled scrub cypress piercing the sky. Further up the slope, I met a group of the organizers as they were erecting a pipe dome for DJ tables. Though I wanted to help right away since it was already two and the party supposedly opened at three, the event’s main organizer, 「ミッシェル」 (Michelle?), wasn’t around and the co-planner, Take, told me to just take a break. While the dome was being slowly constructed by a handful of the staff, I got to chatting with several of the other volunteers to break the ice.

First and most notably there was Hiroo, who I would later learn is the token drunkard of the group. I don’t believe I saw him well-grounded once, day or night, the whole time I was there. This ended up being a good thing though because I was often invited to be his tagalong sidekick, which was a nice entryway to meeting others, as well as means to a cornucopia of kind-hearted handouts consisting of all sorts of treats.

Also while waiting I met Nittsu (sp?), a girl from Montreal who was currently in Japan on a tourist visa looking for work. Previously an English teacher, she was now looking for other means of self-support, but had become resigned to the fact she may just end up as a hostess for the six months she planned to stay before heading to Italy. She was very talkative, just a tad vacant, but probably one of the nicest English-speaking people I’d met in a long time. From her, I met her brother/friend (which I’m not sure) Santos from Nepal, who was quite energetic and everything you’d imagine about a hearty, strong-chested party individual promoting world peace and good feelings. I actually got an invite to a party plastered with Rastafarian colors and a Shiva, set in the trendy Shimo-kitazawa to promote global tranquility.

Later on, I ran into a group of four friends, two Japanese (Kibun and ????) who ended up becoming my suppliers of mood enhancers, and two very nice gay men, Jay and Ricard. I wonder if it’s strange to introduce someone as being gay. I suppose that’s not very P.C. and an ugly sign of ingrained clandestine thinking, but their life preferences don’t bother me any. I just mention it that way because it adds to their amusing character in much the way most homosexual men do. They were incredibly funny, and their banter was quite amusing even when sober, as they argued about keeping the new tent clean, where to hang the wash towel, and getting the fishy smell out of chopsticks. Jay was apparently from America, where exactly I don’t recall, and Ricard was from Sweden. Their tent was set up between Kibun’s and mine, and I often ran into them when on my way back for gear exchanges.

After some time I discovered that although the main stage was closing down Sunday afternoon, the party was more or less continuing on until Monday for the organizers and the die-hard attendees, presumably in the form of a “campfire celebration” down at the base of the waterfalls by the chill out dome. Although this seemed quite interesting, I had dramatically underestimated my need for provisions in my hasty departure that morning. Most importantly, I would later (for various reasons) run completely out of food by ten o’clock Saturday night, and then proceed to shiver through seven hours of quasi-sleeping on my arms and rolling over in what probably bottomed out at a low in the 50s. Note to self: ALWAYS bring a sleeping bag after mid-August or when in the mountains.

While walking up to the main stage for the first time with Hiroo, I got a small bit of satisfaction in my role as a volunteer, as I stumbled into doing translation work. I managed but got pretty flustered since I’m rarely around non-Japanese people, I’ve never had the opportunity to translate. But in any case, there I was, relaying the impassioned proposal of a feisty British DJ who toured with (to him the highly touted) Goa Gil, which mainly involved him having in his bag some of the most unbelievable sounds on the planet which he was sure would cause mass chaos and ecstasy at the party. He wasn’t in the lineup however, so the official reply from the organizers was that if someone cancelled in the morning, he may be able to have a slot after ten. But boy was it a rush, a feeling of power. It made me feel special and it was like taking a lick of an amphetamine-laced lollipop for the first time and feeling my blood roar. Anyway, I’m sure you think I’m overreacting and I probably was.

[Time and many blurry escapades later…]

Via my always convenient Sanyo voice recorder…

…time accelerates and slows down always ending on the same instant as reality when you stop to notice. But in between that, it’s like, a cat playing with the jog on the VCR. And the parts that are fast and are slow, you see, things that aren’t there, little illusions and what not, but uh, what I was going to say? Is that you’re cold, and you snap and you’re hot, like things are fluid, and then, then snap into real-time. It’s the snapping; it’s like you’re falling in and out of two bodies at once. It’s not that it felt like a long time or felt like a short time, it felt like every time. Things get heavy and light, and you don’t; you know people are always talking about you.

It’s when all the Tupperware fits inside of itself, like a Russian egg doll, it’s like being, that’s you, and then you jump around from one layer to the next, you look at it in bullet time… and then you jump to something else or you slide down the wall. The couple next tent over has a prairie dog on the leash.

The translator is stoned.

One out of every nine times you move through one of the Tupper-layers, you get an outside view, I mean a third-person perspective of yourself. It’s like Johnny Depp looking into a camera but with a separate studio sound-over, muffled. In gauze…

Doup, soup, loop, so…

The water sounded like it was louder, louder over the rocks so wonderful that only grandma’s electric organ could accurately reproduce its weeble. I noticed the CD was skipping after it doing so for about sixty seconds. This does not help with all the criticism of techno sounding the same.

[I really have no idea what I wrote here, it was dark and I couldn’t see the paper. Something about “BEING THERE” underlined a handful of times.]

…and everyone’s calling my name…

Wars? We have no…wars.

It’s Sunday morning about nine o’clock I guess. I couldn’t get much sleep last night as it was just cold enough to be uncomfortable. However, I didn’t get sick or anything and after getting out in the sun and moving around, I feel a lot better. Almost everyone is up at the main stage now, either dancing or watching the dancing. It’s gotten warm so I’ve switched into my dorky Adidas shorts. I say dorky because they show how sticklike my calves and ankles are. Dancing is something that’s become more second nature over the years, but I’m still unable to completely purge the feeling of people watching me. That’s too bad, because I’m really best when I think nobody is. I have, however, had a good number of people come up and dance with me, I guess it’s because I put so much energy into it and move around like I’m on fire.

I’ve met a delightful array of blue collar workers since being here. Hiroo is a construction worker, and as he says, he “lays the road”. Sou who lives like a two minute walk from my house is apparently a freight elevator operator in a very tall building. And Shigeo works as a hair dresser in a salon, though he was the only one who said his work was fun. He gave a very charming boyish grin as he said, that he “got to talk with all these pretty girls as cut their hair.”

It was a foreseeable conclusion, even without the aid of herbal supplements, but in the morning I got to witness the ranting and raving of Jonathan, the British DJ, which went loosely like this.

Because I get paid four THOUSAND dollars for playing parties, and I’ve got music right now in my bag that nobody on this PLANET does. They would rather have some guy play chill out in front of ZERO people than have me spinning Goa Gil’s stuff that will just drive everyone crazy!

Yeah, I tried to get away from that as quickly as possible. Aside from being just annoying egotistic ranting in general, it was really spoiling the entire focus of the party, which has absolutely nothing to do with ego and “the best” of anything. Still, this whole tirade made me think of Altman’s Nashville, like I could just see a quick camera zoom in to see his reaction, his exhausted (and long-suffering) wife’s, and the other few English speakers in the unfortunate close proximity to have to be audience to it.

Light, light in a chair of nylon, Coleman’s and back door grills. Waves and sunlight, shadows from a pencil and a tree in the distance. The distance to cast surface affects shadow intensity and edge clarity. It’s sad, but I had to think about work because we were just tuning this in a demo last week.

And I’m listening to Diana Ross.

I came to this party alone, which to me is common since I don’t really have any raving friends and it’s usually a deep personal journey for me artistically anyway. Like a training camp, for dancing and surviving and making friends and drinking and running and soaking up just LIFE. I stared at those peaks for hours just prancing about in a shaking, heaving sense of THANK-YOU to those that made this place and me. But Take says coming to a party alone (especially a three hour trek) shows heart. I’m glad. He’s a nice guy, I really want to help him and Michelle (Mitchel? .. he was a guy!!) out.

Our cameraman for the rave looks exactly like a Japanese Noah Wyle, with beard and long flowing black hair just as he did when playing Steve Jobs in The Pirates of Silicon Valley.

Tonbo lands on chair.
Can I really end before
he flies away? Yes.

[Tonbo is Japanese for “dragonfly”.]

Now we’re listening to something that sounds like a Spanish WASH-FM (easy listening DC area station full with the dentist offices of my youth), smattered with the occasional big band sound. Like my friend the hair stylist said in tight-lipped smiling through Italian sunglasses said, “This feels good.” Yes! Exactly yes! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realize that!!

Without looking, he says I just wrote some really good words. He’s right. He knew it! He knows! This guy is so slick and into it.

I’m sinking in a Coleman chair, slowly roasting with hairdressers and in love with nothing except the feeling I’m in some movie with Robert Urich. Everyone’s asleep…shhh! Pass the picante, here comes the Crocs vendor looking like a tired cross between Lou Pinellia and Joe Torre.

(in Spanish)
Have a cigar!
Have a cigar!
See a promising boy!

I must have been sooooo mellow. Even the insects wanted to commune with me–

Now the dragonfly
rests on my journal quite near.
Do we share a bond?

Back is red wings gauze.
Tiny green hairs flutter in wind.
How long are we here?

Eventually, it would start to rain, and I had the good fortune to be coming down to my tent just as it began. So I pulled up the stakes and moved the tent under a house, so I could get it packed up without risk of mildew. The next several hours were of dancing, and sleeping next to the waterfall, sprawled out on the rocks, or sleeping in a chair, and eating the honest-to-god most delicious fish I’ve ever had in my LIFE, roasted on a grill over a pot of charcoal, with some of the most sublimely placid people I’ve ever been in contact with.

It’s everything, it’s nothing. It’s death. It’s nothing.

In the end, my chances for a ride would fall apart, as they were all based on “if the timing was right”, which essentially means no one’s going to plan for it so it won’t happen. This is fine because you really don’t want to plan _anything_ when you’re up here in this thing. The closest thing to planning I got into was resigning myself to taking the last bus back to the station, which ended up leading to an arduous journey back (I’m not sure where this karma came from, maybe it was because my atrocious planning left me with no food or drink whatsoever to share with anyone else).

I really don’t want to think too much about it, but long story short I took the bus back and the angry British DJ came along for the ride and when we got to Okutama station they said the train couldn’t run (I thought it was broken, but actually it was because of the horrid rain from the typhoon coming in and everything was flooded), so we had to take ANOTHER bus, standing up and packed in like sardines for yet forty minutes more to get to Ome station to ride another train. I came quite close to being sick several times but fought it off with two whole bags of chewy fruit candy that I bought in a gift store by the station.

From Ome to Tachikawa and Tachikawa to Tokyo I just grumbled under my breath and tried to fight off a simply rotten headache of dehydration, sunburn, and long-past-their-prime contacts. I lost my JR ticket someplace, but had zero patience to talk with a conductor about it, so I just boosted my way through the gate without a ticket behind some guy in front of me. It’s Shinjuku and nobody has a chance to notice with one million people running around; the plastic gates started to close on my legs but I just pushed through.

And as a reward for my endurance my bicycle was still in front of the subway station, and not even ticketed. Now I’m glad to be home and away from the storm but missing my newfound friends.

The end.

[I think this is a record post, though it was only a day and half’s worth of events, it took seven pages of text in MS Word, and over four hours to transcribe, edit, and publish, to say nothing of the minor grammatical and phrasing tweaks I’m sure to make over the next couple days. Wow! How long did it take you to read it, listen to the sound clips and look at the pictures? Shouldn’t you be getting something done now before the boss comes to check up on you? :)]