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Monday, April 12, 2004

Information Overload

There is so much information here. It's mind-numbing. And the more Japanese you learn, the more overwhelming it becomes. Information overload.

The Japanese are reengineers--reinvention. They can take an idea, a product, an entire cultural phenomenon and rework it. Then export it back out. This is their strength. They have no natural resources save themselves...their collective imaginative powers...the entire country.

Every man, woman and child is plugged in. Mobile phones...they are as ubiquitous as people themselves. But the city is surprisingly lo-tech. This fusion prevents Tokyo from becoming a Wm. Gibson novel...but only just. And only for now.

A lot of people sleep on the trains. Some of them sleep standing up. If their knees buckle, the weight of the crowd holds them up. I think sleeping like this, they dream of's no space here. The only space is inside of their heads. It's so guarded that they would never let anyone inside. Honne/Tatemae.

Let me be clear: Tokyo is not Japan and vice versa. Tokyo is a different planet...a self-contained bubble city, loosely based on a larger Japanese culture. There are things here that you only imagine in your best dreams and your worst nightmares. Once you live in Tokyo, you can never get it out of you. Like a permanently implanted chip or a virus that never quite kills you.

Some people mark their time here by the exact date they are going to leave the country. It's as if they never want to believe they are actually here. They just count backwards...

God Speed: Raise your Skinny Arms, Track 1 & 2

On the Plane to Hawaii

Trashed after all night binging. I still can't get to sleep. Days melt into years, and I can't remember when it was I got here or how the fuck I'm getting home. It's like being trapped in Disneyworld on acid. The strong don't survive here. They leave. It's the weak who can survive the long term. This city deals and pimps to the weak until they too become her whores.
This is based on a true story. Something that happened to me once.