November 21, 2012

Fuku, Oka!

The most productive thing I've done to day was writing this sentence.

This one too, even.

The previous night, after the sumo tournament, I parted was with Riccardo (my Swiss friend) and went to find Bobby, who was my couch surfing host. Unlike my previous hosts whom I had to seek out, Bobby actually invited me to stay with him. There's a feature on the site that allows hosts to see who's surfing in their area, so something about my profile must have caught his eye.

We've been exchanging messages for a few weeks so I could tell he was a nice guy simply through the familiar tone he took in his correspondence. I was not surprised that as soon as I arrived at his apartment we hit it off. Within 5 minutes we were discussing agnosticism vs. atheism vs. Buddhism, how money is an artificial invention manufactured to keep a select few in power, his divorce, how 9/11 was an inside job, and how America has lost its place as the "city on the hill." It should be noted that the "discussion" was mainly me listening to his opinions on all these matters as he's a mile-a-minute talker, but his passion and knowledge were infectious and I found that our conversation was punctuated by even better interruptions. 

Bobby was a lawyer in Guatemala before deciding to come to Japan to study politics. He told me about the importance of letting go of the ego and embracing your purpose in the world. "Perception" he said, "is the key to happiness." I immediately told him about the documentary I'm producing on happiness in America and he agreed to let me interview him the following day.

That following day is today. In the morning we "discussed" Gaza. My contribution to the discussion was "I hear it's nice this time of year." While Bobby is supposed to be on a flight tomorrow to Hong Kong to present his thesis, he was up until 5am reaching out to people in Israel and Palestine to see if her could go out there to help. What a passionate dude. And very self-aware of his neuroses. 

After insisting that he not feel bad that he didn't have time to cook me breakfast, I set out to meet Riccardo. Unfortunately, the park where we had agreed to meet was much bigger than the map had lead me to believe, so by the time I arrived at our designated meeting spot, he had given up on me. The lack of company meant a lack of motivation and I found I was suddenly sitting by the pond without a thing to do:

I wandered into an art museum and discovered some paintings by Shiraga Kazuo that I really enjoyed. They were Pollock-esque and I would later read that Kazuo's method involved suspending himself over his canvas using ropes and then painting with his feet. Please note that, to me, Pollock-esque means the same thing as "it looks like someone spilled paint on the canvas." 

The two images I've pulled don't really do his work justice as they're unable to capture both the intensity of the color and the textures left by excess paint. Some of the pieces had ridges that extended 2 or 3 inches from the canvas; really cool stuff:
Mmmm, yeah. Definitely.
This image is large enough that you can make out some of the texture
I was also treated to a funny exchange between this older couple:
The three of us were standing together examining a photo, when suddenly a very deep and audible flatulent noise cut the silence. Neither one flinched, so I assumed it was his rubber cane on the ground. But as I turned to leave, I looked back and saw the women spanking her husband's bum and scolding him. She wasn't angry, per se, but she was spanking him pretty hard. Who spanks an old man in public?!

That's it, that's really all I've got. An old man farting in public was the highlight of my day. My wanderings did bring me to a mall (surprise!) with a cinema, and much to my surprise, they were playing Woody Allen: A Documentary. I saw there was an afternoon showing the next day, so I plan on catching that before I head South for Kagoshima.

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