All is Doku

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I was on Twitter on my laptop at Peet’s coffee that morning, relaying to the human race an irreverent thought I’d had about the Peet’s playlist (“Of all the Ramones songs!”) when I saw that William Gibson, the Father of Cyberpunk, had retweeted the following question from a fellow author: “Are there any snake venoms that don’t kill you, but just get you high? Asking for a fictional friend.”

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Hitsumoku

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My friend Haru posted the following inspirational verse on Twitter (@mituuharu), and for my life I can’t figure out where it’s from.  I have seen it stated as “more crucial than the five Confucian virtues” (though it seems to be a direct extension of those), but I guess some people say that about Darkside of the Moon or Star Trek: The Next Generation, so that’s no hint. It sounds Buddhist to me, but then maybe so is Star Trek.

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Hipster – A True Tale from the Futuristic Noir Life of Greg (Part 2)

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“This might sound like kind of an asshole thing to say, but do you guys know you’re Hipsters, or is it an accident?”

I have some confidence that I could do my entire senior thesis on the above sentence, except I’m not a senior. But the instant I hit 65. Hah.

So okay, let’s pick it apart. The aggressor’s remark was divided largely into two key components:

1) a declarative preamble or disclaimer of sorts: ““This might sound like kind of an asshole thing to say, but” 

and

2) an accusation in the form of a rhetorical question: “do you guys know you’re Hipsters, or is it an accident?”

Stop me here if you disagree. Or, since that’s impossible, just leave a comment below.

Both of these components represent specific bad habits exhibited by human beings far and wide, but let’s look at the first component first.

Sometimes you watch a movie or something, and before the movie comes on, you get a disclaimer: “Warning: The following movie contains graphic images of folks bein’ butchered ‘n shit. Oh yeah and profanity. Lots o’ that!”

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Hipster – A True Tale from the Futuristic Noir Life of Greg (Part 1)

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For future reference, the above image displays how I was dressed today, as well as the perplexity I am still experiencing. I would like to avoid taking any more selfies this year.

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It was well past noon by the time I got myself out the front door of my place, and the previous night was to blame. Remember Japan? My memory fades in and out, but over my hauntingly-close-to-three years back in the States, I’ve connected with a few good men and women who may be called upon to come together and serve up a reminder that everything used to be totally different. Among those every things, I used to stay out until 3 a.m. a lot more. I used to also have nightmares a lot more. A healthy first-time-in-awhile reunion reawoke both old habits.

So I was getting a late start. Destined for a train to the city and late as I was, I nevertheless plotted to first stop at a café for drugs and things. I mean basically.

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The Feigned Heart – Keeping warm in the modern age

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The past bubbled up for a few brief moments last night as I joined my Japanese and Japanese well-wishing colleagues for a “Deisui no Kai” at the best local izakaya (note: izakaya is fast becoming a legitimate loanword, and will soon be assimilated to the point that it will no longer call for italics. But until that day–italics), which is of course Ginji, regardless of your system of beliefs. While there are many ways to translate “Deisui no Kai,” I believe I will venture “a Getting Housed Assembly.”

Twenty of us assembled to get housed and eat small dishes of food, cleverly dubbed “Japanese tapas” here in the Americas. Fried mochi, meat sticks, octo-balls; when all was said and done, it had added up to more than $1200-worth of finger foods. Whatever. If you consider the fact that these occasions rarely come around anymore and factor in all the money I’ve been saving on drugs by not buying any, it’s really not that bad.

What was that bad, if you’ll bear with me, was the hauntingly feeble act put on by Flirtygirls 1, 2, and 2.5 at the second housed-getting venue, aptly named “Attic” because it’s above a thing. For reference, Attic is a place from whose spinning walls I once emerged so staggeringly deisui‘d that I managed a forty-to-fifty-second conversation with police officers before noticing they were police officers, only to then notice that I recognized one of the police officers as a country-singing acquaintance. Want to get a police officer to blanch a little bit? First you gotta get him to show you his studio demo. Then you gotta refer back to it while he’s on duty.

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Music and Materialism in the Digital Age

There are two life-enriching things that are said to become much more challenging after college: meeting people and discovering good music. In my own experience, I have found the latter to be true and the former to be the opposite of true: false.

I can swallow the sentiment that it’s harder to meet interesting people when you no longer live in a veritable colony of peers, but to be sure, I spent most of my college time in isolated obscurity.

As a result of the above, however, I was constantly discovering great music that spoke to me. This was because at that time in my life, to do so was a necessity. It was either that or notice the ever-present silence. I’ll also admit to having had the occasional friend who would introduce me to something good.

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All Right, I’m Pretty Sure it’s Not Just Me

I’m first to admit that I’m “culturally shell-shocked.” At times, I’m thankful for that; like when they release an “Expendables” movie and I’m able to enjoy it much as a bewildered bystander enjoys marveling at a kangaroo at the zoo, instead of feeling some artificial sense of patriotic unity or attachment to the horror before me. Other times, it alienates me from my would-be peers, and in those times there is little I can do but strive to understand those around me and try to help them understand me.

But then there are times–especially in the last year or so–where I find myself unnaturally at odds with a roomful of people. I have one view, everybody else has the opposite view, and I find myself having to stand up for a totally conventional belief.

The other day I went out to lunch with two coworkers. I was driving, and happened to have Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy on the CD player. I will grant that it’s not the most timely album in my rotation, but in a way, it’s kind of timeless. Widely respected as one of the best records released by one of the most influential bands of our time, it went platinum five times, remains on Rolling Stone’s 500 Albums of All Time list (updated this year, no less), spawned some of the band’s most experimental moments as well as some of their greatest hits, including Grammy-winning “Spin the Black Circle,” and  “Better Man,” which spent eight straight weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. Heh, I did a little research.

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お礼と乾杯

僕の人生の一番大変だった時期に、優しさを注ぎ、お酒も注ぎ、楽しくて貴重な思い出を一緒にたくさん作ってくれたあなたに一言のお礼と、乾杯。

安らかに眠ってくれ、友よ!

Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Epilogue: Too-Ra-Loo-Ra Loo-ra Loo-ra)

It was with utmost sarcasm that I wrote “Atomic Girl,” but underneath its layer of drunken belligerence beat a genuine heart. The song is at once a scathing indictment of the manipulative, self-destructive S and an admission of my own part in creating the terrible situation from which I’d been forced to escape. It’s a step-by-step dissection of a habit I’d developed in my life of being enticed by half-heartedly suicidal girls, allowing them to pull me into their terrible worlds instead of pulling them out. I was protesting the atomic bomb with my finger on the button, and it took a situation as exaggerated as this one to finally allow me to see the caricature I’d become.

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