And the rhythm was new to me

Floating through corridors in Narita International Airport. Blue-eyed models beam down at me from the rotating advertisements that are worded entirely in English. The limousine bus drives on the left side of the road. The sky is a salty blue but the air is thick and pregnant with moisture. The mottled green fields are geometric interlocking rice paddies, decorated with small red tractors. Gradually, the fields become suburbs, and the suburbs become Chiba City, millions upon millions of tiny apartments heaped delicately upon each other, washing and futons hanging from the balconies. Tokyo Disneyland, containing Space Mountain and Cinderella’s Palace, and then bridges and bridges and bridges. My body says it’s midnight but the setting sun disagrees. Now, the heart of downtown: the bus traverses arcs of raised roadways: vertigo times jet lag. Man made objects only, to the horizon, in every direction, even as we sail over the Tamagawa River.

Day time: dual-language engineering meetings, thirty-minute politeness conversations about nothing of consequence. Night time: pricey lunches on the corporate card, beer and sake, complicated systematized dinners (“no, first, you dip the crab in the shoyu, then add the sesame”) with decorative girls and wisened men.

Everything is so terribly, dangerously fast here. I remember you holding me and singing love songs from forty years ago. I remember falling asleep and dreaming. After that, everything has been a blur. I am in the center of the world’s largest city, surrounded entirely by well-meaning people and alcohol and money and rain-refracting neon, and I’m lonely for you. Yes, I’m a spoiled self-centered bastard, but the truth is the truth.

Leave a Reply