Tokyo Stories from Curious Outsiders

008 : David Cady in Kinuta Park, Setagaya-ku
Born 1970 in the U.S., David Cady currently works as a Dad, Editor He came to Japan on a Spousal visa. Why Japan? His Chinese history degree made him unemployable back home. He digs the following Tokyo bits: The people. The overwhelming majority of his social interactions during his thirteen years here have been ridiculously positive. And its vastness. There’s always something new to discover, whether it’s a new breed of dog or a new neighborhood. Nooks and crannies galore! He, however, is a touch miffed by the lack of sidewalks in many areas (with two young boys, he worries about them walking on these narrow streets), the tendency to cover things in concrete, and the shortage of vegetarian options on most menus. For more info on David Cady you should send an email or visit Canned Coffee.

image: NYPL

“I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants.”

I was practicing yoga in a stand of naked dogwood trees in Kinuta Park [1]. A late-winter drizzle gave their darkening bark a slick sheen, throwing the chaotic limbs into sharp contrast against a skim milk sky. The early hour—it was not yet seven a.m.—and damp earth conspired to mute the air around me. A single, forlorn caw from a hidden crow only amplified the heavy hush.

I was in the middle of the Awkward Chair pose [2] when it happened: a burly man with a neck beard tackled me and played a little jazz number on my “licorice stick,” if you know what I mean. [3]

After he was done, I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants. I thought about phoning my wife and telling her what had just gone down, but I hesitated—it seemed like I was always calling her with these little emergencies. So I decided to take out my frustration on a large crow that was perched in a nearby alder [4] and eying me with an unsettling mixture of wisdom and oblivion.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I sidled up toward the critter until I was only inches from it. Then, with incredible calm made possible through the ancient Maoist practice of circular breathing, I thrust my heavily muscled arm toward the little mofo and extinguished its black-marble gaze forevermore.

I guess you could say that it was wrong of me to kill the bird, but what does “wrong” mean, anyway? Is it “wrong” to insert a chopstick in a miniature collie’s puckered ass? [5] Is it “wrong” to force your kids to gain sustenance from protein shakes alone for weeks on end just to see what it does to their nervous systems? [6] These are questions for the Dalai Lama, not the likes of you and I.

referenced works

  1. A massive oasis of green in the center of Setagaya Ward. After World War II, it served as a golf course, where legenday filmmaker Akira Kurosawa used to play during breaks from his nearby studio. It was converted into a public park in 1957.
  2. There is such a thing.
  3. This is all a patent lie. I don't know why I feel it necessary to embellish the truth or make up stories wholesale when I write, but for whatever reason, I have a difficult time sticking to the facts. The truth is, only good things have happened to me here, my favorite of all Tokyo parks, like the time the older woman at the snack kiosk gave my sons free melon-flavored kakigori one oppressively humid summer afternoon when I had only enough money to buy "yakisoba" and rice balls.
  4. I was going to write birch, but when I looked it up in Wikipedia, I just couldn't envision a crow sitting in a big, white birch tree. The imagery was all off. But an alder? Of course.
  5. Oh my god, yes.
  6. Yes, and probably illegal, too.

location information

  • Name: Kinuta Park
  • Address: Setagaya-ku, Kinuta Park 1-1
  • Time of story: early morning
  • Latitude: 35.630887
  • Longitude: 139.620395
  • Map: Google Maps


  1. you don't need to know in usa thinks: Disgusting piece of writing!
  2. yes thinks: pointless.

019She laughed at my effort and responded in English, ‘Long time, no seduction.’ — Qi Rari

018In my dreamy state, oblivious to signs and announcements I often boarded the wrong train.— Momus (aka Nick Currie)

017I was fifteen years old and it was one of those nights.— Yuko Enomoto

016That ear of corn just wanted to go home— Guttersnipe Das

015With his painstakingly coiffured mane blowing in the wind— Digits Wolfowitz

014Her voice, even across languages, betraying her worry.— Olly Denton

013I saw them drawing bamboo sticks from a silver rectangular box.— Daphné Haour

012A simulacrum of someone else's home, equal parts comfort and loss.— Adam Greenfield

011Jumbled Escheresque insanity where geo­graphy in any traditional sense ceases to exist.— Joseph Badtke-Berkow

010I could hardly make out anything apart from his glowing eyes...— Uleshka

009Shibuya was like a stroke.— Alice.d

008I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants.— David Cady

007Both my tie and my disposition hang limp as I calculate the remaining distance to the station.— Chris Tobber

006I once read about a Chinese maiden whose feet were unbound by a cruel man …— Claire Tanaka

005The Bad Girl strutted off and I was left with a ham egg pie.— Guttersnipe Das

004I arrived expecting an irritated Japanese person to step out of the crowd and identify himself as Hideki.— Ashley Rawlings

003The woman at the ticket window seemed surprised to see another human being. I was the only visitor.— Andrew Douglas

002Flanked on either side by adult manga shops and the like, the smell of yakitori in the air.— Jean Snow

001For two weeks the day began with this morning walk, our shared routine.— Joseph Squier


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