POV

Travel Junkie Japan

After hours encounters with young mini skirted girls in white make-up. Some older ladies dragging kimonos in the rain.

Images and text by By Icarus Blake - icarus@citizenbrooklyn.com

Travel Junkie Japan from kodezero on Vimeo.

iPhone Geisha in Lobby

Sleepless on bad movies with japanese subtitles on DL275 Tokyo bound.
Pacing isle with murder in mind. The bad actress with fake accent and boobs. The crab looked plastic on plastic tray. Lacquered red with deep blue eyes. Escalator down and right to some Sumo on Narita Airport TV while in transit to Osaka. Sleep on short hop barely above dark angry skies. Tashima Okaba, white gloved driver and funny laugh under heavy rain. Narrow street with business men in suits. After hours encounters with young mini skirted girls in white make-up. Some older ladies dragging kimonos in the rain. It all shines in melancholic neon and the scent of over boiled pork. The mini room at the Crowne Plaza looks over the dimmed city. I wish for dawn, some sliver of light out of the dark gray. Busy station. Organized chaos. Bullet train to nowhere.

The ocean to the right below the Yokohama hills. Hiro Natami drives his orange cab in waves of frustrated traffic. An old man smiled at me in a jeans factory. He was Buddha. I know he was. He had an aura and all. He said sweet things in Japanese that I could understand. He talked about love and how to make the perfect pair of jeans. Escape to Kyoto. The temple with the red and blue garden. The calm. The ancient kimonos pinned to a wooden wall. I rest here. My friends want to stay. Nirvana, they say. I need espresso, I say. Starbucks in Kyoto: like monkey brains in New York. I say, “Doppio, four of them”. He says: “Arigato”. Outside three young girls in pink kimonos giggle under a rain storm. A store with calligraphy brushes. A tea maniac teaching in another store. Fragments of the old country splattered like dots on a busy map. Bullet train back to Tokyo, exploding the rain in vapor clouds. All asleep. I’m soaked and tired. I see the desert in front of my bike. I hear the swoosh of the tires thru the sand. The sweat drying quickly inside the helmet. Dunes up and dunes down. A cigarette in the middle of the Sahara. I fall asleep.

Tokyo is wet and messy. The room is a blade runner dream. I set up office on the table overlooking busy six lane highways and high rises painted in red lights. No connection to nobody, the rest of planet is asleep. Odd club on the top floor. Bad, bad jazz singer. Good company and odd encounters. The man says my friend is sitting where Bill Murray was in “Lost in Translation”. The next night the restaurant of “Kill Bill”. But before that, the next day, people. People everywhere dressed in bright colors and furry shoes. People with constant smiles. The restaurant where all you could eat was crab … no, that was before. Maybe in Osaka. The private karaoke room where I sang Sinatra with a Japanese guy I had met ten minutes before. We still exchange emails about this Dada character everybody here loves. We travel furious and deep, but I only remember the moments I dream of. Maybe of other journeys. I see sails going up in the wind in the middle of Ginza. People skiing down the escalator of the Uniqlo store. Fumiko Nagakawa was in my English class in Canada. Now she is watching me hiding behind that shiny window on the 123rd floor of a building of some other Tokyo.

Yes, some other Tokyo, because this one is like a painted movie backdrop. I kick walls and I expect them to fall. I scream CUT and all the extras go back to one. She, geisha, lies sexy on red silk and smiles from giant billboard. She whispers calligraphy in a soothing baby voice. She calls my name like a monstrous Marilyn. Happy birthday, Mr. President. She glides now over the wet sidewalk. I follow jumping neons reflected in puddles. The fat man with cigar slaps his belly laughing and sells me a green Kit Kat. Tamaki drives me to the wrong hotel. The wrong hotel has a lobby with a geisha on her iPhone. A bride in red at the bar. A lobster eating a man on mural. Later, a narrow alley leads to a store full of beautiful, colorful birds.

It’s Two AM and I sit on a small stool inside a game arcade. I kill a Japanese monster. I watch three teenagers in long socks drinking a fluorescent green liquid. I see the white of their eyes changing color. They turn to me at once and show me sharp fangs spotted with blood. They giggle, and giggle, and spin on their flat shoes, and occasionally growl at me. I want to scream: “MAMA!”, but I wake up and it’s five AM. Tokyo wakes with a shiver. The men in bicycles are moving ants forty floors below. I imagine their life and I don’t want it. I sit at breakfast. The Irish lady devours sushi at seven AM. I drink canned tuna juice. The bread is pale and soft. The jam looks like caviar and tastes like jelly shit. Note to myself: stick to the runny scrambled eggs and plastic cheese. Farewell Japan. We kiss, we cry, we part. We hold our hands till they snap apart. We bow one last time. Up just below the clouds. I look down and see oceans of cherry trees in blossom. Long past the horizon. Where the sky bends into deeper blues.

 

Ladies on Wheels

My office view at the hotel

Narita Sumo

Starbucks Kyoto

Lip Transport

Kyoto Police

Dark Cooking

Teens, Tokyo

Dada and my new friends

Pink Ice

The Father of All Crabs

Cabbing

Bullet to Nowhere

Green Kit Kat

Kyoto Rush

Watch your Luggage

Wedding in Red

DADA

Toilet Paper Airport

 

Teen Idols

Geisha Run

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