Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 1: The Thing About Hiroshima)

Last April, I participated in the Hotel Utah Open Mic Night and unleashed this smash hit upon the world to great fanfare. “R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ai! Ai! ! Ai! Ai!” one person yelped.

I’ve always enjoyed playing this song and feel that it’s probably my most competent one, even though it’s also the most maniacal. Dahahahahahahahahahahahaha. If you were to sink my music into the trappings of a genre, perhaps “Manic Competence” would be the most flattering one I could hope for, if not “Melodic Scolding,” which is what I’ve been calling it up until now.

I feel that the formula for good songwriting lies in the aligning of two or more disparate sources of inspiration. Like, maybe you’ll take a visit to the desert one week, then kill a guy in a fit of passion the next. Boom, you’ve got a personal event to write about and an impressive setting from which to draw creative energy and poetic parallel connections and such.

Scorched by the sands of committed crime
Guilt beats down like the desert sunshine
Ain’t no water here–only wine.

Or something, you sing. Nothin’ to it.

The downside to this is that it can be hard to plan. I don’t know how to write music as though it were my job. I don’t know how people write music constantly, but they probably start by trying constantly, and I simply haven’t got the time nor the need for that. I’m a “hiroku-asaku” kind of guy these days, which I guess might mean I’m not applying myself enough to anything, but everything in the world is just so damn interesting, it’s hard to resist the urge to have hot, wild, and short-sighted romances with so many things–Music; writing; macramé; interpretive dance; tapioca drinks; XM radio; vintage clothing; episodes of Detective Columbo.

In February of 2010, I was about ready to leave Japan. I had told my girlfriend as much, and she’d moved out, back to her family’s condominium in Nagoya. I was ready to give it all up, but in the meantime, we took one last trip together. Hiroshima was a place we’d often talked about going, and just barely beat out Korea as the number one place I knew I would regret not going if I didn’t. Still haven’t gone to Korea. I regret it.

Hiroshima proved to be my proverbial desert–a setting to inspire creativity. The thing about Hiroshima is that there’s no way to view its present-day beauty and bustle without also catching the glare of that atomic blast. That one brief instant in time has marred the land permanently. Nearly seventy years later, not enough words have been said for the travesty that was the atomic bomb, and not enough ever will.

Though the statue remains intact to this day, a shadow has been permanently branded into its base by the atomic explosion. A striking symbol, perhaps representative of  Hiroshima as a whole.   

The same branding occurred with the shadows of human beings who were vaporized in an instant.

Today, Hiroshima has deer with little devil horns. As you can see, they’re generally quite busy.

A view from a riverboat.

The famous Itsukushima Shrine in low tide. In high tide, we’d all be dead.


I will, however, leave it at that for today. Tomorrow: Coping with the trauma.

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