Lucky me. One of my favorite people in Tokyo, also cultures me. He knows everything there is to know about furniture, art, music, and photography. He also critiques my photographs. A lot. Most of the time unsolicited. Like this one for example, taken in the countryside of Southern Philippines:
Him: “This photo is really good. You followed the rule of thirds and composition is ok but I would crop out the motorcycle — why do you even have that in there? Then crop this part and do blah and blah-blah-blah, then bladi-blah-blah for post(processing).”
Me: “Ok!” but my eyes are glazed over, mind wandering. I’m thinking about what I want to eat.
Him: “You’re not listening. Nevermind.”
…which is the typical flow of our conversations.
Despite my massive character flaw of not really wanting to learn expert techniques, textbook histories, suggested philosophies, etc., etc., of art, music, and photography, he still teaches me a lot and I appreciate his friendship.
Last night, we were having a late dinner. He is telling me about this indie band Explosions in the Sky. He can’t stop talking about how great musicians they are. I’m half listening again — it’s not that I’m not interested, I can’t relate to the words that are coming out of his mouth because you know, THERE’S NO MUSIC PLAYING. He notices I’m not fully there again, gets rightfully annoyed and changes the subject. I shit you not, not even a few seconds later, I get a message: “Random: Explosions in the Sky are playing tonight. I have an extra ticket. You free?”
Whoa. Uh, YES.
I tell my friend — hey, sorry. Gotta go.
Him: “Huh? What the fuck?”
Me: “Explosions in the Sky are playing so I have to go!”
Him: “HUH?? I don’t understand.”
Me: “Oh. Explosions in the Sky are playing tonight in Tokyo, someone just LINEd he has an extra ticket so I’m going!”
Him: “What the hell? You didn’t even know who they were until a few hours ago.”
Me: “So what. I trust your judgment. You’re always on point with music and art and stuff.”
Him: “On top of that you weren’t even interested in learning about them and… what the fuck. They are here, playing in Tokyo and you of all people are going??!!”
Me: “So. What.”
Him: “You know they’re not hip-hop (I’m a massive old school hip-hop/r&b fan.)”
Me: “Whatever. I have to go. See ya!”
…now that I write this out, I am the worst. But he is friends with me anyway, which makes me appreciate his friendship even more.
I get to venue and holy shit, they are incredible. Well worth the ooooh 15 minutes I saw them play? In Japan, some concerts start super early: 6pm. I mean, I get it. I do. The last train is at midnight. People wake-up early because long commutes are the norm. But 6pm start time? Really? REALLY??
Another peculiar thing about live shows in Japan, are how concert goers… don’t move. My artist friends (I used to work in music) would always complain about how Japan is one of the strangest places they throw shows because the audience just doesn’t seem into it. ”It’s not that they’re not into your music,” I would explain, ”It’s just that we are an orderly culture. We also don’t want to draw attention to ourselves by being the first or only person to, you know, be groovin’”
Though in the short time I’ve lived here, I’ve been to enough clubs and shows to know that things are slowly changing. Usually, I’m the shameless one who is not being Japanese by, well, moving. I mean, I love music. I have rhythm. So why not kick it off? And after I start dancing is when the crowd follows. It’s quite amazing that it really, only takes one person.
By the way, Nina Kraviz is DJing at Womb this Sat. Anyone in Tokyo want to go?
"I'm from Libya," he said. I don't know what to say. It's as if he'd told me he'd just come from his father's funeral.
The first specialty coffee shop in Ikebukuro and Junkudo (bookstore) resonate.
Editing is interpreting.
The Riddle of Steel.
The man stands motionless in a crush of white-shirted salarymen, as they swarm past him, toward the single escalator.
Rêve de centre commercial-piscine
Birthday walk home