Tokyo Stories from Curious Outsiders

016 : Guttersnipe Das at Shinjuku Station, South Exit, Shinjuku-ku
Born a 20th century man in India/America, Guttersnipe Das currently works as a guttersnipe. He came to Japan on a Professor visa. Why Japan? Because being a gentle misfit is permitted here. He digs the following Tokyo bits: the many opportunities to eat fish for breakfast, being labeled “absent-minded” while in America he was just a “dumb-ass,” and sento culture. He, however, is a touch miffed by the quiet strangers, the fact that most foreigners have to be college educated and without felonious backgrounds (hence he worries that all the really interesting people are being left out), and the abject lack of tight pants, which he thinks would bolster social morale. For more info on Guttersnipe Das you should send an email or visit his blog.

image: Eduardo Mueses

“That ear of corn just wanted to go home”

Once, on the east side of Shinjuku’s South Exit, I heard the most divine jazz saxophone that I have ever heard. Now I walk that way whenever I can, but I’ve never heard it again. 

Recently, when I stopped to listen to the J-pop, I noticed a man standing nearby. He had the standard black suit, a fussy face, and on his head was metallic blue fez, with a gold tassle. He was twiddling his lustrous white cell phone.  His other hand was holding a leash.

The leash led to a collar, studded, snug, and his pet: a dusty and bedraggled ear of corn. The green had gone gray, no silk was left. Evidently he’d been walking his ear of corn all over Tokyo. 

The poor thing just lay there, too exhausted to move. That ear of corn just wanted to go home.

For once, passersby actually stared. These are the rules in Tokyo: you are permitted to look at babies and at pets. 

location information

  • Name: Shinjuku Station, South Exit
  • Address: Shinjuku Station, South Exit
  • Time of story: evening
  • Latitude: 35.689701
  • Longitude: 139.701558
  • Map: Google Maps


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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