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Friday, September 23, 2005

3 Dimensional Puzzle

Hopefully the JUSFC grant results will hit LFS today. At the very latest, next week. I don't want to think about what will happen if we don't get it. I don't have to have bad thoughts...satan get behind me. We started cutting Cloudy yesterday. I went through the first 20 or so tapes from the 3rd trip. It's like time-tripping in fast-mo. If I let myself go, I can almost imagine myself back there at that time, in that place. Looking for the true stories of the Tokyo Cowboys on the post-modern urban frontier. Why post-modern? It's a constructed city. It's a mixture of everything the world has to offer. It's like a collage...a mosaic. Look at it from above...from the 44th floor of the Shinjuku Municipal's like a 3 dimensional puzzle.

Here's the journey: I went to back to the post-modern urban frontier to find find if they had a monopoly on freedom as I had assumed. But all they wanted to do was cash out. And, this didn't seem like a freedom train to me. It seemed like doing time. So, I kept looking, kept digging. Where were the free cowboys? What is freedom? It seemed like Tokyo was the place to have it. As Cloudy says, there are markets in Tokyo that are not available in any other place. I found the guy who could cash out, and what does he do? He buys an old farmhouse in Chiba and does it up. That place looked like heaven to me.

I'm preoccupied with trying to get back to London. We've got some good work done here, but we have to leave by the end of October. Before we can leave, we have to find a flat. So, I've been e-hunting. That takes time...time...time.

Cloudy had been through the whole "Big in Japan" thing. He'd been on the 100 Gaijin Show. He'd done the music video. But something happened. "A lot of people think they have a cash cow with me...until they realize that I'm not gonna do anything I don't want to do." So, Cloudy refused to conform. He's now intent on making it "Big in Japan" one person at a time. He's an edu-tainer. He's a sort of unofficial one.

I guess that's what we all were. The Japanese allowed us in in that capacity. In the beginning it was only diplomats and English teachers...whole generations of Japanese people...the only foreigner they had met was their English teacher. In a weird way, it sets people sets gaijin up as teacher. In Japan that's a highly honorable profession. So, here's Cloudy...he has a teaching certificate (unlike most of the English teachers in Japan). And everything is about person at a time. He's trying to foster a greater level of understanding between gaijin and Japanese. The comedy is a more sophisticated form of communication. He's constantly communicating. He doesn't just sit down in the train. The hammock...Eric...the hair...those are just tools of the trade...the trade of communication. And the performance is a high as well.

Where does Cloudy come in to my quest for cowboys? What are cowboys for me? That's the first thing. When I started shooting, it was about freedom. I thought money bought freedom, so I was shooting the Head Hunters. Maybe it does buy freedom. But, if you've got some money, you just spend it. You get a taste of the good life and you want you work harder, and you make more money, and you're working so hard that you think you deserve some comfort, so you spend some more and then you're no closer to your goal. Something's gotta give. That's the Head Hunters, though.

Maybe freedom is a state of mind. It's like Kanya said, it's in your head...freedom and slavery are in your head.

Eye of the Cloud

Hey Cloudy,

Sorry it's been a while since I've sent you a personal email.

You've been on my mind so much these past few days. I've been time tripping through the Tokyo Cowboys footage. The first night we filmed you was at the Fiddler. After, we got in a taxi with you and Kaori, and you talked about communicating your own brand of truth to one person at a time. The "America" thing was your crusade that night. You said, "In Japan, there are only two types of people in the world...Gaijin (read American) and Japanese. I refuse to be put in a box with all the other foreigners."

It got me thinking about the definition of Cowboy, which I must surely define in the film as people have their own definitions. A Cowboy for me is a person that takes great risks to develop and explore their individual mode of expression. And, then, they communicate to the world their own personal brand of truth.

Anyway, after we got back to your place and Billy was there and his date Makikiko or Michiko and the chubby blonde midwestern girl who'd done her set at Fiddler that night. And, being the professional that I am, I got so wasted that Kaori was saying "are you OK, are you OK?" as I was trying to leave, and you were yelling "leave her alone, she's fine," and that was my introduction to Cloudy B.

But there is an earlier bit that I just discovered while rolling through the footage again. We were at Club Asia in Shibuya shooting a TBL gig. It was small, and there were only about 15 young girl groupies and a handful of Gaijin. As we pan across the groupie crowd, you can see in the background a tiny Cloudy giving the camera the finger. This is before we met you. It was on that night that Patrick noticed you and, acting here in his producer mode, asked Dave "Who's that guy," and Dave said, "That's Cloudy B.," and Patrick said "Can we meet him?" And that's the true story about how things kicked off.

If we get that grant money, we are going to take you up on your offer to continue the edit at your place. So get our room ready. We'll need futons and a Japanese intern.

Hugs so much,


Publicity for TC in Kazuhisa's Book

Dear Kaz,

Thanks for the introduction to the magazine publisher. Yes, it's good to know people in Tokyo anyway...especially female creative types.

Actually, I'm not in London at the moment. I've been in Sweden for the past month and a half editing full time. One of our patrons gave us their summer house for three months. It's been great as we can edit without having to worry about paying rent. I think we will be here until the beginning of November when we will head back to London for a little while.

Yes, thanks for publicizing my film in your book! I googled Tokyo Cowboys the other day, and your website came up (