October 27, 2004

I Live

Among the seemingly inexhaustible occasions of irony in Japanese's foreign loan-word lexicon (famiriresu, baito, and the city dweller's favorite, "shitty"--that means "city"), I find one impossible not to remark on today, mostly because it is one that I cannot escape no matter how hard I try. Namely there is a three-story shopping complex above Wakayama City's main JR train station called "Vivo." In Spanish and Portugese (I think) this means "I live." Nothing seems wrong with this title, right? It is undoubtedly apropos? No.

This spot is THE hangout for all high school kids who don't go to juku (after-school school), who are waiting to go to juku, or who have just finished juku. Flocks of various school uniforms in various levels of accepted skirt length, pant bagginess, hair color, piercings, etc. crowd on the escalators to get in line for the ever so popular thrid floor, where the print club booths are. Here all hell breaks loose. Here they take ever so cute and kitschy thumbnail photos of themselves so they can cut them out, exchange them, make endless notebooks of who else but they and their friends. Like alcoholism, it is an endless and vicious cycle. Unlike alcoholism, these kids don't shake in class if they haven't had their picture taken for a day. But, these kids need help. They need, well, I guess they don't really need me telling them what they need.

Sometimes I go to "Vivo," sometimes with a reason, sometimes out of sheer boredom and my physical proximity--due to errands at the grocery store or a study session at Mr. Donut's. These are my low days. I usually don't "live" in Vivo (in an idiomatic sense or a metaphysical sense). Charles Mingus once wrote, "Lonely is not living alive." When I go there, I wander up to the top, browse some Japanese poems in the bookstore, wander down, and think of how sordid my life has become in recent months. Kenneth Burke says humans are "rotten with perfection." I think of the girls who hike up their skirts a hair's breadth below their panties--they take pictures of themselves, act cute, flirt mockingly with boys (and with me too, which is unavoidable here as a foreign, caucasian male), and well...there they are. They're alive, but do they think, "I live!", or how about, "Let's live!"? The collective and exclamatory awareness of being that we are all waiting for, sometimes living for...it's here in every flash of the print club bulb, in every overwrought peace sign, in everything we see or do...or do they think that much? Do they think much of that?

Something tells me there is an affinity between my thinking too much and their not thinking much--neither thinking much of me nor thinking at all. Well, this is not supposed to be an apologetic for some lifestyle(s) that I have chosen or observed, but I am just curious about living. In Japanese we have 生きる, or ikiru, and that's a movie I recommend. See it--Akira Kurosawa. It's brilliant, and I still haven't solved any problems. Only digressed. Maybe it's the books I read. Perhaps I need to read more and quit writing in this blog. Still very few pictures on this blog, and my verbal images don't seem noteworthy enough to merit a single comment. Is there an echo in here? here? ere? re? e? ?

Hmm...After being blacklisted from Mike's blog, I don't what I can write that is safe for others to read... if they do so at all...maybe I should just live and forget the recording of my life for prosperity... Mike, I am joking. I am grateful for your comments. I only wish my website was "interesting."


Blogger pik said...

Blacklisted? What are you talking about? Is this just comments bait I wonder?

There are other comments below on previous posts also - they are all mine - can you not see them or do they not count?

6:57 PM  

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