Japan. Japan Japan Japan. Or more specific, Tokyo, Tokyo! Don´t know where to start with. First, I am very thankful for your love, peace and respect, for your humbleness and in particular, your inspiration.
I hope I can return it one day.
And I hope you don´t mind to take one of your best slices of human being with me home, to Siem Reap. Thank you, Kayo for introducing me to your Japan, with my shadow of seeing in tow.
Let me start right in the middle, because I have seen something so extraordinary my seeing, my mind, my heart, my meaning as a human being felt deflowered.
I have seen the universe.
I bowed and cried in silence.
I have seen art, creation.
I have seen a master piece.
I have seen light and darkness.
I have seen the provocation of beauty.
I have seen Itchiku Kubato.
I have seen the universe.
I was standing in his amazing gallery, which he built by his own, to make his creation accessible to everyone, anytime. On 12 Kimonos, for one to create it took him around a year, he brought the universe into being. In all its depth and beauty. There is no provocation, no aggression, no blood, no polemic or populist statement, no egomania, no forced extraordinariness, just beauty and inside, on its different levels and in its shadows a melancholy of fugacity and a reminder to create now, to be now, to feel now, to be aware now. At this moment, with Kayo and her family around me, with tears in my eyes and shocked to feel beauty, I decided to take the next step. To grow, to transform, to shed, to turn toward reality, to enjoy its beauty and sadness, my despair and my embracement and not to escape anymore in violent choices to suffer doubt and being in war with myself. Because I have everything. And I need to be strong, healthy and contented to feel my existence. This is love. What an amazing lesson I was taught, here, there, surrounded by the universe.
Surrounded by my japanese family, Kayo, my partner in crime and love and soon I will introduce here as my wife, not because I need to, but I want to. Her nerdy good-hearted brother and her parents, who welcomed me with open arms. I am obviously not the guy, parents wants to be introduced to as their daughters new boyfriend, in any culture, but in particular not in Japan, with the Yakuza in its criminal and economic history. But they did warmly embrace me, not literally of course as touching in Japan is something you just don´t do in public, and public has a wide extent. They did it first for Kayo and after for us, as a family. And now imagine to ask after two days of exploring the nature of the Minami Alps, which strongly reminded me to my hometown, enjoying fresh air, resting your face in the sun without sweating down into your butt crack and being sun burned in minutes, being at the foot of Mount Fuji, visiting gardens, parks and breathing the peacefulness of Japan´s untouched nature, as Japan is smart enough to import lots of ressources from other countries like Cambodia rather than cutting down its own forests, having fun at Fujikyu Highland, with superlative rollercoasters and all shit what makes me puke… so after all this, to ask her father for permission to marry her daughter. Not that I was nervous, I was super nervous, because I just don´t want to embarrass Kayo and offend the family, even if as a foreigner of course you are sort of allowed to, but as I don´t think in borders I don´t expect me acting foreign, but respectful and grateful. And as you know already, it went very well. Kayo said after, asking her if it was ok, “Yes, but just weird, felt like I proposed to myself.” She had to translate each single word as her parents don´t speak english. What I life I have!
After three days of family visit we were both sort of ok to move back into the craziness of Tokyo, in all its odd facets. Public toilets, which you wouldn´t find here in Cambodia at a five star hotel, clean as fuck and the open when you enter the cabin, with a remote on your left to control the cleanliness of your whatever you have to do there. Hello Kitty street barriers for road construction works! Construction workers, who have their own guard if they have to transport even if it is just a driller and a walk on the sidewalk for not more then 2 meters and nobody just us, on the other side of the road, are passing by. Everything is so perfectly organized and safe. I have seen not more then 5 homeless people, but there must be more… one of them counted money and was drinking a cup of steaming Segafredo coffee. If you give tip at a restaurant, the waiter would feel offended. You don´t throw something on the street, even if it is your saliva, not because it is restricted, it´s just impolite and something you don´t do in respect of your social surrounding. After walking around for days I would eat from my shoe soles, would be rather contagious than going here in Cambodia to some restaurants. The army of workers, white shirt, ordinary tie and black suit, slaves of a work ethic, which confronts you with two options if you want to escape, for example for two or three days of holiday, quit your job or commit suicide. The teens dressed up like their idols or one of the thousand of anime heros flickering at night from storefronts, framed in japanese chinese katakana symbols and signs, keeping my brain trapped in a rat race as I am not familar with one of these characters. Pachinko halls, the japanese Las Vegas, which you find even in the smallest dump, with all its flashing colors and noise, I was not able to stand for longer than a walkthrough. It seems nearly to be boring to narrate about the nappers, after work, after their sake or beers and a quick visit at a Pachinko place or at a striptease bar, on their way back home, in their very uncomfortable looking positions, but it´s true, I have seen them, lots of them. My body just hurt by watching them. And then of course Loud Park…
In europe a festival goes like this… already on the way to the festival you walk on puke and other body excretions you don´t want to know. People are pissed and loud and celebrate to be for a couple of days in this state of mind, constantly. And watching shows here and there they probably won´t remember after. This is metal. – In Japan the train to the Saitama Super Arena was as it supposed to be on a saturday morning. Nobody speaks. Some of them might fart secretly. Others listen to music. Or playing a game on their mobile device. Exchanging rarely eye contact with their surrounding. You respect. You are humble and don´t take your own stupid needs for grant and the most important thing, which everyone has to understand and deal with. You are polite and show your social environment respect by accepting the rules of coexistence, if you are dressed in black and and think you are a fucking bad ass or not. Standing in line to enter the arena was not different from as I haven´t seen foreigners and the 2 or 3 of them you could here them chatting from far. To keep it short… this was the best ever metal festival. THIS IS TRUE FUCKING METAL! No dickheads, no macho attitude, no real no wrong or cool or not, just loud music and lots of fun… thank you metalheads of Japan for your grandness. The sound, you can´t imagine how clear live sound can be, in a country of high whatever kind of technology you wanna talk about. The bands. They were just fucking happy to play at Loud Park, to play early morning, where they would expect a bunch of drunken dickheads and not a headbanging freaking out crowd, because they were waiting for one year and beggin on their knees their boss to get two days off for this special event, for these bands, who came the long way down on an island called Japan, where there is not even a First Aid tent, because there is no violence to expect. The pits appear from top like huge carnival turbines, scary still, but like everything in this country, highly organized and amazingly polite. Some protected me and my camera in the pit from getting… well I don´t wanna say punched, maybe nudged. Not one puking headbanger. Not one drop of blood I have seen. Maybe some of you think now, this is not metal, but maybe it’s about the music and this is more metal than you will ever be! To quote Tom Araya, standing in front of thousands of screaming, freaking out and smiling japanese, in the spotlight, in his very own charismatic presence, not agitated, meaning humble, smiling, “Thank you.”
Thank you Japan.