Four days in September, I lived in the refurbished remains of a 1970s apartment building, constructured for a long-gone working class in Kyoto. I laundered my clothes in its cellar, I slept beneath its raw concrete ceilings. I witnessed the strongest taifun through its latticed windows, the rain slashing around Hōkanji, which stood unimpressed, as it has forever. Within the howl, all fell silent. I remember overlooking Higashiyama, its houses made from aging wood (noticing how its particular gradient is determined by age and exposure), the trees and rocks – as if all this was my home. As if it had years of my life to emblazon itself into my brain. A concrete box in a taifun, my love and me inside, and our clothes hanging to dry on an extendable fishing rod across the room. A day to itself, in this year of change and momentum (at RC Hotel, Kyoto).
One of the most significant things about the urban fabric of Japanese metroplexes is the number and cultural integration of 7-11, Family Mart and other convenience stores: Multi-purpose hubs, more or less 24 hours per day, for all kinds of social strada. They provide grocery shopping assistance to the elderly, free Wi-Fi to tourists, wastebins and agreeable cheap food to everyone. The Famima entrance jingle is one of my strongest and most present memories from my times spent in Tokyo and other japanese cities. These stores cry for ethnographic inquiry beyond William Gibson’s inquisive modelling of the Lucky Dragon franchise in All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Die Kieswege und der Geruch nach Zeder, moosgrüne Steinlaternen, gewundenes Holz, glimmendes Licht in ausgehöhlten Bambusrohren, überhaupt: Bambus. Rinzai-Rot-Orange. Wetteiferndende Zikarden an den Ufern jedes Rinnsals. Das dichte, schweigende Moos entlang sorgsam angelegter, gleichsam planvoll gewachsener Blickachsen.
Walking the streets of Osaka by myself after nightfall, immersed in neon light and concrete, the 1980s endlessly reflected long since their time has ended. I have no purpose here, other than keeping momentum, researching myself in alley corners. 2015 seems a long time ago, I think, as I head back to Dōtonbori to meet a woman under battered Ezaki Glico, research unfinished and thoughts unthought.