So desu yo. Cotton candy soda da yo.
Last night I dreamed I swam in a holographic ocean. Of course, when I realized that I forgot to take my wallet out of my back pocket, I got stressed. Even though there was no way it could get wet. Then I got caught in a riptide and went under. That's when I woke up. It wasn't a nightmare at all. It explains a lot to me. Our minds create our own realities. What's yours?
at 9:44 AM
Katori Shingo from the no longer boy band (as in they are no longer boys but are still somehow a band) promotes a cheese product in an ad on the Tokyo subway. Does his smile look sickly to you as it does to me? He could play the Joker in the next Batman movie. Not a very appetizing way to sell food of any kind.
at 12:45 PM
For the last few days I've noticed the reflection of the overhead halogen lights in my iPad screen while sitting at the local Starbucks. Each time I notice it, I get this sense of déjà vu. Of course, I think, "Oh, I noticed that yesterday." So the déjà vu is easily dismissed. But then my eyes are drawn into the reflection. I see the concentric pattern of seven small bulbs of equal size, six encircle the one in the center. My eyes have to refocus from the images and text on the screen to actually see it clearly, like when staring into one of those 3D illusion posters. Now the feeling of déjà vu turns into the sensation of being watched. Of knowing that I'm being watched. And realizing I keep forgetting that I'm being watched and knowing that I will forget again. You might call it an irrational thought or a paranoid feeling. But still, I return to Starbucks each morning for my coffee and the free wifi. I go about my business and then, a sudden shift in my reality, the halogen eyes are reaching out to me from another plane of existence.
at 4:20 AM
Spotted this through the window of a game center in Shibuya last night and had to go inside to take a closer look. When I first arrived in Japan back in 1999, Dance Dance Revolution was the hot arcade game. It was basically the old Simon electronic game combined with music and using feet instead of your hands. Well, meet Mai Mai. My friend described it best: "Simon meets Astroids meet Tempest meets Space Invaders on acid. Or some form of Japanese martial arts training. Possibly an epilepsy test."
at 4:54 PM
Cartoon-ish murals under an overpass in Shinjuku warn drivers that speeding through the streets is flirting with death. In the pic above, Death wears white and keeps the rear-seat cold.
One might be mistaken in thinking these signs are aimed at kids, what with their pastel colors and children's story-book style characters. But kids can't drive until they are old enough, and by then they aren't kids anymore.
Maybe making the pedestrian an old man in the image below appeals to kids who might worry about their grandparents? The warning sign below tells people to exercise caution in crosswalks and not to forget how fast vehicles may be traveling.
at 6:22 AM
Japanese society is rapidly aging and the birthrate has been declining. Yet this is still a country where people don't seem to mind being treated or spoken to like babies. Manners posters are not uncommon on public transit here in Japan nor are they unheard of in other countries. But look at this example of cartoon chickens having a lively conversation on the subway and annoying fellow passengers. "Shhh, you're talking a bit too loud," the poster says. A yellow-hatted manner-police creature is blowing a whistle ("pi-pi!") to warn and shame the naughty birds. Despite having been written without kanji (just as children's books are), the poster is obviously aimed at adults, judging by the size of the chickens in relation to the rabbits sitting next to them.
I personally have no problem with manner posters telling people not to talk loudly while using a cellphone, but this poster essentially is telling people not to talk at all. Train cars are generally really quiet in Japan, as if you are in a moving library. People are exhausted from work and want to be able to sleep as soon as they sit down it seems. So any volume level of chit-chat could be construed as "too loud."
While we're not talking about fines or ordinances here, I feel like I am paying a price every time I see this kind of thing in Japan. Posters like this just enforce an attitude of "be on your best behaviour in public" which always comes across as a bit Big Brother-like to me. No amount of colorful and "cute" artwork can disguise that fact.
at 5:49 PM
I found this personality quiz on the internets a while back and finally got around to taking it. I think it was supposed to enlighten me or something. Maybe reading it can help someone else if not me.
If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
I want it, more or less.
Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?
Can my whole life be considered an area?
If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?
I’d probably do my laundry.
Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?
Not very comfortable, but not uncomfortable.
How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?
I’m looking for the meaning of this question.
Are you motivated by competition?
No. Is that the right answer?
Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?
I find it easier for people to do things for me.
Do you work constantly? Or think you should be working?
No. Can I take a break from this quiz now?
Do you embrace rules or flout rules?
I like rules when they are in my favor and break them when I can get away with it.
Do you work well under pressure?
No, but I might work more quickly.
What would your perfect day look like?
How much TV do you watch in a week (include computer time spent watching videos, movies, YouTube)?
10 hours maybe. This doesn’t include porn.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I am a mid-day person.
What’s more satisfying to you: saving time or saving money?
Time IS money. Is this a trick question?
Do you like to be in the spotlight?
Only if people are looking at me.
Is your life “on hold” in any aspect? Until you finish your thesis, get married, lose weight?
I tried to put my life on hold, but I think I got disconnected.
What would you do if you had more energy?
If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it?
Stare at it and wonder “How did I never realize I had an extra room in my house?”
What people and activities energize you? Make you feel depleted?
Creative people and sex energizes me. Sex with creative people makes me feel depleted.
Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?
I want to get rid of the need for things, but it is hard.
Do you get frustrated easily?
No. Is this quiz over yet?
On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get?
Since I live in one room, I typically go to bed as soon as I get home. As many as I can get.
If at the end of the year, you had accomplished one thing, what is the one accomplishment that would make the biggest difference to your happiness?
Not to care whether I am happy or not.
at 4:27 PM