Day 49: Thursday, April 28, 2011
I woke up early around 7:30 in order to be on time for a meeting. After I just left my house, there was a young businessman walking up the hill in front of me. He had a lit cigarette in his hand, which was a rare sight in Japan since people are only allowed to smoke in designated areas… The smoke smelt terrible. I began to think for the first time that maybe the law was actually a good one. When I got closer to the station, a scooter from behind passed me and its exhaust curled up my nose, which immediately brought back memories of living in Taiwan because smog was an everyday thing there like the sun or the rain.
Going down the station stairs, people were in such a rush to catch the train, and I couldn’t believe that I used to live like that. The train was crowded. The person behind me smelled like moldy clothes. At the next station, a woman positioned herself in front of me. I was afraid to breathe on her neck, so I held my breath, which only made it heavier and creepier when I had to let it out… Being on the packed train also brought back memories of my old life… how in the mornings I would often be smacked up against old salary men whom gave off the worst bodily odors, which always made me gag, and how I used to be afraid that one day I would end up like them.
The meeting in the morning went well and afterwards, I had some time to kill before I had to go and see my friends. I decided to head over to the library at the photo museum in Ebisu, which I hadn’t been back to since the day of the quake. On the train, I saw a construction worker with a bottle of Match soda in his hands by the door. The sunlight was making the artificial drink look even more unnaturally yellow… it was basically glowing… so I took a photo of him and his drink. In the corner of my eye, I could tell the woman sitting across from me was watching me suspiciously.
Exiting the station, I decided to get some lunch first. It was hot out. Summer was finally coming. Looking at all the beautiful woman on the street, I wondered was it better to be in a place filled with beautiful women whom you can never have since they were out of your league or was it better to be in a place where there were barely any, so there was no temptation/frustration. Anyways I remembered my half-promise that I had made to myself the other day that I’d be single for a year since it would only complicate my ability to write freely… I also promised myself that I would quit drinking because all it did these days was make me sad… Walking to Yoshinoya, I began to doubt that I would be able to keep to any of these promises for very long.
Self-Portrait (After Yoshinoya)
Afterwards, on the fourth floor of the photo museum, I had to put my stuff in a locker before entering the library, which was exactly where my friend Naoyuki and I were when the quake hit. While fumbling in my pants pocket for 100 yen, sunlight was coming in through the window and highlighting my hand. I felt, at that exact moment, so feeble and human. It was hard to imagine that the last time I was there- on that particular day- that it would be the point where my life as well as everyone else’s in Japan would change forever.
When I entered the library, I had to wait 20 minutes to be helped because the staff was still on their lunch break. Eventually one of the librarians came back. Because I only noticed her after she had passed me, I was only able to see her backside, but she dressed rather hip for a librarian, had a stylish haircut, and a nice body. She disappeared into the back room.
I eventually got helped by someone else and got the books that I had wanted to see. But by the time I started reading John Szarkowski’s foreward in William Eggleston’s Guide, I kept falling asleep. Eventually I gave up reading and put my head on the table to take a nap, and then immediately realized that I had an erection, which was almost unbearable at first, but then subsided. I smelled the back of my hand out of curiosity, which my head was resting on. It didn’t smell good exactly, but it wasn’t bad either…
Afterwards I went to meet Kotori and Yosuke (Yosuke Kobashi- a different Yosuke) from Hajimeten, but they were late and made me wait an hour. When they finally came, we made Hajimeten pins to sell for an event that weekend, which took about four hours. By the end, I had the worst headache and gas. I kept farting secretly on my way home.
Walking back from the station, I saw Willy at her corner outside of Ian’s old apartment building, and she followed me home. When I opened the front door, I looked to see if she was coming in, and I saw her run past two back masses behind our gate, which turned out to be two black cats…
Shot From Above
...one was a stray and the other one wasn’t. One of them had been breaking into our house to eat Willy’s food since we moved in, but I never knew that there might actually have been two cats teaming up to do that, which was an exciting revelation/turn of events.
Late at night, Ian and Yuki came home and said that they had finally found a place for their wedding… They looked relieved. Afterwards when I was brushing my teeth, I remembered about the black cats and told Ian all about it. He responded that he had seen two pigeons as well that afternoon walking past our house, which was exactly like what I had told him I had seen the day before.
“What time?!” I asked him excitedly.
“About 5:00,” he said.
“That’s about the same time I saw them yesterday! I have to see whether they will be back again tomorrow!” I said determined*… and then continued, “Did they round the corner too after they had passed our house?”
“They did,” he said nodding.
I was speechless… I finished brushing my teeth and then went to bed like a kid on Christmas Eve.
* I forgot, of course.