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The dual reaction felt while listening back to 15 year-old diary tapes. Firstly their immediacy instantly transports me back to the experience, and relatedness. And secondly, as I remember the distance in time between then and now, a nostalgic sadness at the passing of such adventures, my lack of full appreciation at that time, the realization now of such contexts being impossible ever to relive.
There is surprise at the still-currency of many of my comments and feelings then, and its flipside, a feeling of not having evolved, particularly with regard to doubts expressed then which to this day remain.
It would be great to be so small that you could climb around inside a bowl of thick spaghetti. Without sauce, that is. I imagine sliding along the soft pliable strands, leaping from one to another, dodging through the network of holes and branches. Letting go and falling, softly bouncing off the warm white cushions.
Or better still, a bowl of penne, a chaotic pile of tunnels and pipes. Dropping a ball into one and watching it find its pseudo-random rolling ricocheting path through the tubes, trying to predict each bend and turn until its gentle landing at the bottom.
Collages I made during the Melbourne/London years feel so spontaneous and alive. Rapidly executed — a couple of magazines flipped through, and immediately to work. Since then, preplanning has overridden pure whim. As art the necessity to have a theme, a message, a point, one which then meets my high self-expectations and judgement levels, usually stops me before I've even started, leading to the familiar and predictable self-questioning, self-doubt, self-loathing.
The fun has gone, just as it did with sports and with conversation, and the escape of solitude, profundity, spirituality and the relentless quest for real value is all that remains.
In the train heading for Tokyo. Carrying the heaviest bookshelf in the world. Doing this is completely stupid. But, it was on sale, half-price, so&I have to. Struggling from IKEA to the station, usually 2-minutes walk but for me 15, people slowed down, said it looks really heavy, and continued. Some wished me luck.
There's an even longer walk ahead. I fear injury. But in these few minutes respite, if I close my eyes and travel to Italy, the past struggle is but a distant memory, and the future one in another life that's not yet anything but a thought.
A night at the United Nations University, the Pacific Garden art event for 3000. Completely shambolic organization resulted in my DJ set lasting an entire 2.5 minutes, so I can now declare that on a pro-rata basis I have never been more highly paid for anything in my entire life. My hastily sent emails since last night led to 13 friends and friends-of-friends joining me in what was a lovely evening, and confirming that despite my doubts, I actually have made some real friendships in this city. And, as a final bonus, I missed the last train home.
Although today I've finished rearranging the whole room and cleaned and sorted and tidied, it somehow seems an ultimately wasted day. If I were to die tonight I would certainly, in those last moments, regret having been inside all day, not enjoying the outdoors, not watching clouds float across the open sky, not smelling the aromas of food drifting in the local market air, not cycling past temples and discovering new alleyways and spotting small fascinating things, not visiting a gallery, not studying in a park or cafÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â©.
But hey, my homespace now looks and feels great, delightful to inhabit.
Last night at the Bill Viola exhibition I was like a zombie; distant, unmoved. Observing the others' reactions and somehow feeling responsible, having invited them. I remember first seeing Viola's work 12 years ago, being stunned, touched to the core. And this time&..nothing. Perhaps through familiarity or expectation, I was left bored, depressed, and numb.
But I suspect other things in my life are responsible for this unresponsivenes, this veil of dissatisfaction. I wonder if changing my work might help. Or my partner. But I fear my despair should I make such changes only to discover they weren't the cause.
As I did my computer things today, maintenance and download things, I was watching the US election results coming in. Thankfully we may now see some truth exposed, and people held responsible for these appalling actions the US has committed worldwide over the last 5 years. Sadly I expect the real criminals will walk away while small-fry end up as scapegoats.
A beautiful sunset I glimpsed, but, preoccupied, ignored. I feel free, having announced my leaving work. With the safety net gone I have both desire and urgency. Now I MUST do something. If not, I'll have to leave Japan.
I'm looking forward to lucid dreaming, feeling quite content that it will allow for fantasies to be indulged, new ideas practiced, journeys to be made, and all with integrity intact in the real world. Conceptually at least, it provides an ideal outlet. And side-benefits: more sleep and less time on the internet!
People are wearing hats and earmuffs on the train. The seasons shift so quickly here, the combinations strange — today a chilled morning, heat at midday and a cold night. Never before have I been so aware of seasons, and each with such uniquely beautiful features: sakura, hotaru, kaki&
Almost every view I see in Tokyo seems worthy of a photographic series. Over the medium-term buildings appear and disappear, while in the short-term minute-by-minute shifts in light, shadow and colour occur — both intriguing. Tokyo is so crammed with small details that rarely does anything look the same after a few moments have passed. But which view to choose for my photographs — the shadowy gap between 2 buildings and distant view beyond? A train track cutting through the urban landscape? A small residential street with its incredible variety of shapes and objects?
Procrastination, indecision, indefinitely. I make no photographs.
The incredible helpfulness and enthusiasm of Japanese shop staff never ceases to amaze me. The projector guy ran off and ran back 3 times to find out information for me. Not walked — ran! And then apologized for the time taken. Someone suggested that underneath the genki exterior shop staff actually resent and despise having to display such behaviour, but that I think is a Western perspective. Because in general customers also bow, smile and are exceptionally polite back to staff, the entire situation simply seems like theatre - habitual and harmonious. Being a consumer - in many countries a necessity, in Japan a delight.
Yesterday's unexpected moment - meeting a stranger in a train and then 4 hours of intense straight-talk over red wine. Confronting to the core, to have the urge to escape being pointed out as my habit before I said a thing. Yet I don't desire to escape the confronting issues themselves, but rather to find space immediately after their revelation in which to contemplate them. Maybe that's symptomatic of my seriousness, this apparent inability to in recent years to just relax, be spontaneous, and allow unexpected things to unfold without attempting to regain control. I'd like to be free of this.
A sense of shift has come along with the choice to leave work, and the crisp clean blue skies, and arrival of vivid orange kaki, and renewed appreciation of friendships, and desire to make things. A sense of "home" developing, being established and consolidating rather than starting out yet again. With this comes an inner calm, despite the short-term urgencies on which I might rationally focus. Perhaps it comes from relief at the expectation of freedom, and the possibility of a new, more fulfilling lifestyle. Regardless, I hope to stay attuned to the energy, even if its origin remains unknown.
What can one give as a gift for a 50th wedding anniversary, I wonder. Any physical thing could hardly be worthy of such a once-in-a-lifetime milestone - the tackiness of something gold, the enforced nostalgia of a 50-year-old relic, or the triviality of simple acknowledgement.
All seem to fall short, implicitly assuming that this time must be marked in some profoundly memorable way. Just to be there would be special. I'm so strongly reminded of the value of human presence. Despite the immediacy of telephones and internet video chat, to look someone directly in the eye is beyond compare.
Commuting. In any other country I've lived, this level of crowding would lead to extreme aggression. Here it's calm, orderly, silent. In one way a delight - not only is the journey relaxed, but I'm reminded that the notion of "personal space" is determined purely by attitude. On the flipside, it's disturbing how others' humanity can be so easily ignored, every person relegated to a role, that of an "extra". Yes, I know we all do this most of the time, even with those to whom we are closest. But in the intimacy of Tokyo rush-hour it has altogether more impact.
The light is really changing as winter brings a lower sun (well, vice-versa in fact, but anyway&). Even in the middle of the day there's a feeling of&..departure. Maybe this feeling is totally subjective. Situations and my subjective associations, seeing lights in the distance at night leaves me feeling both intimacy and solitude.
Switch to 10pm and I'm back in trainland, gazing at Tokyo whizzing by beyond my reflection in the window. It's like a hundred bad movie clichÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â©s - a lost soul in a big city, or familiar places from the past seen sliding across the face of today. Terrible.
Another wasted 30 minutes, having no seat in the train, although the girl standing next to me is providing quite good entertainment. Unlike the backward jerk-nodding of sitting sleepers, this girl is sleeping standing up, unleashing huge body spasms as her legs give way, she begins to collapse and then, suddenly realizing, compensates. I wonder why so many people are tired, sleeping at 2pm.
Ahhh&this 3 hours travelling a day is too much for me - just too high a price to pay for the enjoyment of the work. I'm so looking forward to working within a few minutes of home.
It seems as though our society has lost its sense of direction - we're brought up with the idea that freedom and independence are our birthright and highest goals, yet the very authorities that declare this prohibit the same. Technology and human vision continually open up new opportunities which governments then act to restrict. It's really fucked.
100 years ago passports didn't exist. Today technology allowing international travel is easily available. Yet passports, IDs, biometrics and bureaucracy prevents literally millions from using it, for unfathomable reasons such as "born in Japan" or "spent 3 months here already". They've so much fear.
Random thoughts — 5 words each.
Now is real; then isn't.
I must speak with Jose.
What work shall I seek?
Big drawings — soon I'll start.
Moonmilk needs some new work.
Focus on making an exhibition.
That guy looks vaguely familiar.
I'm missing my parents — visit.
Some very part-time teaching?
Send Luke a long letter.
Get started on Uji's website.
Send Chris the website proposal.
Go to visit that photographer.
Looking forward to Saturday's DJing.
That girl has terrible skin.
Soon we'll be in Shibuya.
What music's in her headphones?
What music's in his headphones?
Everyone's in a different reality.
Dani - tiny creatures who live in carpets, cushions and other soft furnishings. With a multitude of other animals living happily around and inside and on us humans, what sets dani apart? They bite us and it itches like hell.
It's sad - I'm such a gentle soul, live & let live and all that, and I know they're just being what they are, and don't deserve to die. I wish I could just ignore them, scare them away, or encourage them to live in a box I'd keep elsewhere undisturbed. But I can't. I'm going through a moral crisis - should I use spray?
As I lay on her lap I thought, if we stay together there will eventually be a day when I leave her behind or her me. One of us will just stop, and the other keep going. I wonder if we'd want the other to witness it? Would that be reassuring? I wonder what it will be like thinking "this is the last thing I'll see" or hear or feel or think. Conversely, I wonder what it would feel like to notice, for example, my own consciousness after hers has gone. To think "she can't think/see/hear/feel and I still can".
Ahhh&the aroma inside a coffee shop&.one of life's delights. Next to the roasting machines, the heat and rich intensity of the exotic scents enveloping me in a dusky brown tropical night warmth coccoon.
But now, having been presented my freshly roasted beans in the customary brown paper bag with dark brown print, the crisp evening air beckons. 6:45pm darkness. I'll wander up between the glowing lamps of old Tokyo alleyways, pausing to collect fresh vegetables from the old man, and milk, then slowly climb the streetcats' stone stairs and head past the lamps of the old wooden temple, back home.
More websites, more updates, bits of work here and there but for the most part unpaid. And paid jobs which end up taking days longer than planned due to changed designs, or content editing, plus clients either unable or unwilling to pay more. I feel reluctant to walk away as I figure being paid something is better than being paid nothing. But next time - some money up front.
I also notice how much time I'm wasting with bloody emails, news updates and downloads - if I could let go of these my productivity would surge. It's all so easy - in theory!
Occasional sunshine means everything goes on hold for laundry. I love the old machine; so light - plastic in fact. Retro style. Fully manual. Standing there at the open door, sunshine streaming in, a lovely vantage point, views of leaves and sunny walls and cats and fruit trees and blue skies and distant rooftops. For a couple of hours shifting loads from tub to spinner and back, water on, water off, left right next rinse next load, precise hanging&I have my own system and enjoy the whole process immensely.
And during it my cafe latte.
Wonderful warm refreshing comforting sunshine morning.
Lying on the grass gazing at the sky for the first time in a long while. Aware of the sounds around me - balls kicked and shuttles hit and Frisbees thrown. People's shouts and distant noises. The slowly changing sky, drifting, with treetops in my peripheral vision. Nothing else. Slowly calming.
I wanted longer but cold and hunger intruded. I watched boys playing football and realized how much I miss playing. We'd seen Rousseau earlier, and his followers (some wonderful work) although aside from his jungles I'm ambivalent. Sushi, shopping and a movie completed what's already a delightful day of memories.
The habit of taking much longer than necessary. Doing things slowly while in between following distractions is easily adopted.
The enjoyment of "going with the flow" is offset however by the nagging feeling one could be achieving far more, not just in work productivity, but in terms of memory creation. Within a few days today will hold few if any memories yet yesterday will remain fondly in my mind for years to come. And every day could be this way - it simply takes activity - instead of life being filled with quickly forgotten distractions, there would be countless precious unique memories.
I remember Brian Eno spoke of never having quiet evenings at home alone. I imagined a life in which every day brought new or memorable experiences, unique moments, fresh faces, ideas, projects. How deep and rich a pool of memory this must create, how incredibly interesting, complex and varied, the wisdom of experience& imagine - not just a rich, varied week or month but an entire lifetime! Obviously not every moment would be remembered, untriggered, but entire days (even if diarized) being completely forgotten would rarely exist.
A powerful realization that a lot of my life is time wasted on distractions.
I've wondered about the value I give students. Today's comments from a mother meant a lot - I consider that by leaving I'll be letting the students down. There's such an ambiguous boundary between responsibility to oneself and to others. Reassuringly, the source of my confusion is the fact that I care.
Counting down the days now, knowing that once I tell them, all will change. Ahh&.the inevitability of change, and the opposing forces of desire and resistance that it provokes.
My hernia has definitely recurred. Fuck. Will I be able to run, stretch, climb mountains, play football full-out ever again?
With a late session on Uji's site, I discovered at the end that it doesn't work on Windoze IE. Fuck. As usual, after the genuine pleasure of design and coding comes the incredible frustration of having to then spend more time trawling through online forums or replacing entire sections of code, often completely clutching at straws, just to make it work on bloody IE. And finally, sometimes after days of this, comes a solution which often makes no real sense anyway!
The 2 words a programmer wishes didn't exist - Internet Explorer.
The arrogance and unjustified power that market share brings&
The vanishing of things. The uniqueness of every moment. Virtually everything I witness has never and will never be seen by any other eyes. A slight shift in position, or light, or angle. Nothing ever the same. Every moment a multisensory composition. The familiar always different in subtle ways - a reflection perhaps, or the air temperature, or even the context in which it's placed.
A wonderful notion. A real privilege.
How green that shadow, how orange that sign. The effect of sun backlighting a tree. The contrast of red leaves against blue sky. A ringtone heard above softly rustling paper&
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