Sunday, October 28

Human After All

I half watched a film called Waking Life last night, it was about a person stuck in his own dream who realised that it was a dream but couldn’t wake himself from it. He kept meeting characters in his dream who would tell him profound or strange things and new and interesting philosophies.

One particular encounter struck a chord with me; The main character of the film accidentally bumps into another person on the street and they both apologies, the woman then stops and asks our hero if they can have an actual human moment instead of being ant like, antennae out feeling around so they can get from point A to B in the most efficient way but with no real, human interaction. She explained that we have set responses for set questions and for each interaction a set reaction.

We bump into someone and say ‘excuse me’, we hear someone sneeze and say ‘bless you’, ‘Do you want coffee with that?’, ‘Have a nice day now’, ‘Will you be paying by cash or card?’

It’s like we’re automatons and we sometimes forgo what makes us human for the sake of just existing, or getting along in the most efficient manner. It’s something I feel when I enter a shop in Japan, the reactions are set, the questions always the same, there’s no real human interaction, that smile… it always looks that genuine, which makes me wonder if it is.

And other encounters too. Meeting someone for the first time, I always get the same questions, they’re polite and they suggest that your partner is interested but they say nothing about them and reveal little about you. It can become almost like you could rehearse and then just rehash the same answers to everyone you meet here and thus make as little impact on each person you meet, and have none of them impart upon you either.

The situation is worse when you can’t communicate very well; anything less than fluency is seen as a serious disability to a Japanese person and thus they act accordingly, read patronisingly. Even though we don’t speak the same tongue I’m still a person, I’m still capable of sharing more than robot answers and ant-like reactions. Where are the real human interactions?

Sometimes, I find myself so in need of humanity that I find the extreme of my emotions and explore them in an introvert manner for days upon end, sometimes it feels like depression sometimes its almost the opposite, but each time I know that something is actually happening to me, I’m still alive, I’m not just a set of prescribed reactions from a phrase book, and even though most of the people I meet here will never fully realise it, I am human.

Thursday, October 18

Poetry: Writers Block

Ok, so you've got your pen
Your paper and wit
You got your time
So you wait and you sit
And nothing comes
Nada, jack, zip!

So you just write and hope that something will hit

But in all this time that ain't once been the case
You've never ran this like it were a race
You've never felt the threat of being red in the face
When you took this commission you had your own pace

Now you're making poetry for cash, dollar, cream
Hoping that each penny will fulfill your dream
To make a profession from what once did seem
A joy, a pastime, for the moments in between

And now?

Its for the roof overhead
And the threat of losing your flow keeps you awake in your bed
And as each pause gets longer you fill more with dread
Has it always taken this long for words to come to my head?

You're dried up - You're old news
Your best has been and gone
You won't face it - You refuse
But what else could be wrong
You don't have it - You're done
You're dead and buried mate
You don't know what you got 'til its gone
And now it's too late

So you've got your paper
Your pen, sans time and wit
You sit patiently and poised
But get nada, nothing, zip

Tuesday, October 16

There Be Dragons

Not sure that I’m cut out for blogging, as my lack of blogs may attest. My thoughts are too transient, or I’m too stupid, one of the two. Or I’m too busy, that’s a possibility… accept that I’m not.

Anyway, a blog about blogging isn’t the blog I want to blog. So that, actually this, is the last time I will write the word blog in this whole electronic public journal.

Onwards! Well, I’m going to write about my weekend… exciting times, it was dra

gon boat and it was good. Actually Friday was a bit of a blow out, I just stayed indoors, bored, making funny faces at my MacBook camera and looking for stories about technology on the internet, I may have watched Star Wars too…

Saturday however; woke up early and felt the need to tidy, I like

 to tidy when I’m excited about something, I remember realising this when I was about to go on a date with a friends girlfriend, not a very nice thing to do but she was a very nice girl so… anyway, I made myself late cleaning the sink, the carpet and the windows of my apartment, then made the long journey to meet her and had fun discovering that she could tuck her foot behind her head.

So this morning was much the same as that morning except I didn’t have a date to go on, I was going to a party!

I really like parties. I love them in fact! I like to have a deep conversations about how Buzz Lightyear must have felt when he discovered he was neither unique or a hero

I realised something about myself,

 on this wonderful trip of self discovery that is my tour of Japan; I really like parties. I love them in fact! I like meeting new people, or bumping into old people, I like abandoning my friends to meet them hours later and get a glimpse of the mess they’ve got themselves into. I like drinking, and buzzing off alcohol and conversation, I love to flirt, or to have a deep conversations about how Buzz Lightyear must have felt when he discovered he was neither unique or a hero.

What I discovered on Saturday night was that I don’t understand and can barely tolerate people who don’t like to party. Wait that’s not true, I can not stand people who encroach upon my ability to enjoy a party. Those people who are given lemons and just become bitter, instead of juggling, playing lemon Subbuteo or indeed making lemonade. Not only do they find fault in EVERYTHING, they will also tell you and everyone about it, making their problem your problem.

On Sunday I discovered that I can operate on just 3 hours sleep, an onigiri (rice ball) and moustache power! And that I don’t like losing, even when I’ve made no effort to actually win.

But Dragon Boat was good, the party was good and our little splinter group had a good time albeit in different places and in different ways and that’s cool. We went home after one round and that's cool, I don't think that stressing about places to sleep, making it more than one round or deliberating on where to have breakfast at 9pm detracted from the party and won't be the memories I keep longest.

After the hangover, after the alcohol comedown and after some sleep, what I remember is that I got involved, and that's what this little trip of self-discovery is really about right? Stepping out of your comfort zone for the sake of growth.

Tuesday, October 9

Sex Dream

My last post was on the 22nd of August... sorry about that, I kind of ran out of things to say... anyway, I'm back and I have (had) a dream.

Had a strange dream last night, it was a sex dream about an old friend of mine, which is strange on two counts because as a rule I don’t have sex dreams about my friends and I don’t want to have sex with this person.

It was all set in a modern, sparse office building, glass and steel everywhere and a view that look out over a city at night, we seemed to be in the largest building for miles around and we weren’t alone. With this girl and me were two people I didn’t know, another couple.

I’m not sure when exactly the turning point came, the only sensible course of action was to have sex until that time came.

To begin with we were all talking about the trouble we were in, we were stuck in this building with no way to get out and we were all sure that we were going to die. My friend was worried that she couldn’t call her boyfriend, Tanaka (a figment of my imagination). I’m not sure when exactly the turning point came, but once we had given into despair and decided we were going to die then the only sensible course of action was to have sex until that time came.

So my friend and I started at it with the other couple watching, whilst we were doing it we were still talking, having pretty normal conversations, nothing like the doom and gloom of how we were to survive or escape our fate, just everyday things.

the dream was about performance anxiety, hence the audience, the windows 

It occurs to me whilst this friend of mine and I are having sex, that she really isn’t enjoying herself, so I ask her if everything’s OK and she encourages me to carryon but still looks utterly bored; then her mobile phone rings and its Tanaka.

Now my friend doesn’t live in Japan, doesn’t have a Japanese boyfriend and never has, but in my dream she’s going out with Tanaka and stops what we’re doing to answer the phone.

At first I’m nervous because I think that we’ve been caught, my friend assures me that there’s nothing to worry about and then passes me the phone. I take the phone and begin talking to Tanaka in my worst Japanese, Tanaka hangs up and I feel terribly disappointed and then wake up.

I think that the dream was about performance anxiety, hence the audience, the windows and the friend who’s opinion I value;. I’m hoping for a dreamless sleep tonight.

So curiosity got the better of me and I looked up the symbols in my dream, lets try and make sense of this little mess shall we. Time to get out the bullet points:

  1. To dream about sex is to dream about the integration of contrasting aspect of myself, apparently. According to experts I need to be more receptive and incoporate aspects of my dream sex partner into myself.
  2. To dream about having it off with an ex or someone who isn't my partner suggests that I'm anxious about embarking a new relationship or situation. It relates to new roles you've accepted and the responsibilities that come with that.
  3. To dream of a strange city means that you will have need to change your mode of living.
  4. Skyscrapers are to do with confidence or other peoples confidence in us, the higher we are in the building the more confident we are or they are about you.
So now for the analysis:

Looking at point one first, this is the easiest to assess as I know my friend well enough to describe how we differ and what attributes I may want from her. She's level headed, she's studious, well spoken and out going.

my sex-dream partner and failing, and to impress with both my coital and lingual performance

Point 2: I've been feeling quite worried about doing the JLPT language test this year, that's my new situation I think, and this would explain the whole Tanaka and Japanese language thing. As for the city, I don't know, am I worried about leaving Japan already?

The skyscraper could be the confidence other people have in me and my ability to pass this test, the test in the dream was me trying to integrate the attributes of my sex-dream partner and failing, and to impress with both my coital and lingual performance. Being trapped in the skyscraper was how I feel with the weight of other people's expectation.

Wow... aren't dreams fascinating things?

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