Catfish can sense when an earthquake is imminent.
Dojou, these smallish fish, sometimes about the size of your index finger, promote sexual potency. They have 'whiskers' too. At the town of Narita, near the airport, I photographed a big aluminum bowl at a market stall, full of live dojou. In Shibuya, with Tamio, we ate dojou, cooked in a dish on a gas burner at the table. Topped with finely chopped leek, and simmering in broth, it was a similar situation.
At the art & photography & design bookshop in the basement of Parco department store, were art books of snapshots of Tokyo. Stuff that is art as we think we know it: some kids hanging out in a park, some interiors, the metal structures draped with shade-cloth that tower as high as the adjacent apartment blocks and whose function is to stop the baseballs from smashing windows.
I haven't developed the photos yet. I shot almost a roll each day. The decisions not entirely arbitrary. At first, the first surprise is that the place is normal: that billboard screens are normal; that sweeping loops of freeways and trainlines are normal; that inverted-looking buildings hosting huge metal spheres are normal.
Hiroshi, who hangs with his mates in the square at Takanadobaba Station and does BMX tricks, says he's studying English and fashion design. Hide, who works at a bar in a street nearby is twenty-eight and looks seventeen, and has a wife and kids.
In Shibuya, on the top floor of the Zero First department store are concept shops stocked with high level global designer denim in pre-distressed codes. In another department are belts in 1970s rainbow colours, sunvisors, t-shirts.
To say this seems dumb but it's kind of necessary. How do you describe
this place? The biggest city in the world. The most affluent, cultured,
contemporary of cities. In residential areas are flowers in pots along
The sun rises early. The weather is warm. In the park at Harajuku shirtless boys play frisbee. A suntanned western couple in bikinis lying facedown on the grass appear ludicrous and weirdly offensive. Like the loud, American guys whose presence altered the ambience in a western style bar we were in at Shibuya: they were big, solid 'squareheads' (as my friend aptly described).
On Thursday morning, in a strange hallucinatory mode courtesy of sake, beer and absinthe from the night before, I commuted to Shinjuku, around 5 a.m. East of Gyoen-dori the sky was exceedingly white-bright. Bars were closing. At a bookstore I bought some photos of Japanese lifesavers.
Relax, is the name of a cool magazine on street and otaku culture. Relax, the next train will arrive in three minutes. "I love relax" says a woman on a billboard ad for holidays in the Tokyo Islands.
I love relax.
Chris Chapman is a Libran who should drink more water. He now lives