Though, as Lime noted, I look awful in the picture. Those shirts are really comfortable for hiking or whatever, but they look, um, well, they’re not made for the bigger among us. Such as me.
Expect pictures, though none by me from the Con. I just never felt like it. But I will link to those posted by others. And I’ll photograph more when I have a lens that allows me to get enough zoom to get the shots I actually want.
Now, to bed…
… sounds a little more dramatic than, “removed some very dry and hardened pieces of skin that were causing massive blisters, swelling, and pain,” but I swear, it felt like the latter. I have gauze on my foot. It was just this morning. I’m a little afraid to look.The worst thing to be told, while traveling, is “try not to walk too much.” So today is a lazy day, and I’ll just take it easy… lots of breaks and so on. I picked up a few Japanese jazz CDs at an HMV and my goodness one of them is downright amazing. Some young woman (Chihiro Yamanaka) banging the hell out of a piano.
Now I’m copying photos to my little porta-hard-drive from my (horribly full) memory cards for my camera. In this little cafe, you sit on the (padded) floor with shoes off. Someone a couple of booths over is playing a huge and good selection of jazz music. It was Monk a few minutes ago, and right it’s early Miles Davis (though not with Monk). And if my glance was correct, they’re high school kids who are listening to this stuff.
But half the day is gone, and I suppose I should get going. I would like to see Ginza, and I have a few other plans I’ll try to follow through on before the end of the day. Injured or not, how often am I in Tokyo? Exactly.
I personally am obsessed with all kinds of things, and also develop minor obsessions all the time, just long enough to really get into something and research it like crazy so I can write about it. (Like my obsession with Soviet Russia, which is about to commence; I have tons of books waiting now.)
The obsessions that come up time and time again in my writing, as far as I can tell, are these:
- memory, and the kinds of holes and distortions that exist as part of it, as well as the fact that, imperfect as it is, it’s what we have to work with
- the technology-fueled changeability of genome and our phenotype, and the unchangeability of human nature (if we change it enough, we’re no longer human, is all)
- how history could have turned out differently, especially in dramatic and surprising reversals
- the idea of people sometime in the future looking back on us the way we look back on our predecessors — judging, scratching their heads, giggling, feeling rage or amusement, and so on
- relationships across culture — especially love relationships
- exploded forms of religion, where human organizations are shown up for what they are, often by divine agents or beings
- the idea of justice or revenge, and whether/when revenge can be justified or justifiable
- creativity of some kind: I almost never write about writers, but the creative process — especially when applied to areas we don’t usually think of it being applied to — fascinates me, and when new technologies, from musical instruments to whole new interfaces with the world, come into the mix it just gets more interesting
- “foreign things”: it’s been noted I often mention foreign things, or use foreign words or concepts, and not just Korean ones
- life on the periphery, and resistance to the uses of power concentrated away from it
- ghosts are one of the few non-SFnal things I write about a lot
That’s all I can think of. Now my feet have had a break, after TONS of walking in Tokyo, so I think I’ll go soak them. They REALLY hurt. One toe is even a little numb.
My feet are much happier now now that I have some new sandals and took care of my feet a little. It’s kind of hard to find things like a file for your foot when you don’t know where to look, but I got one.
I just spent about 40 minutes tonight standing outside of Ikebukuro Station, listening to a folk brilliant little folk duo — harmonica, tambourines, stuff like that. Bought a couple of their CD-singles. Sweet kids, and they sang their hearts out. I wish we had more street buskers in Seoul.
This evening, just walking around, I saw:
- a throat-singer accompanied by a lute-like thingie (not a shamisen, not anything I’ve ever seen before, I seriously have no idea what it was…)
- a bunch of guys banging on African drums
- some skaters in a skate park; they sucked, but who am I to judge?
- a quartet of tap dancers who were trading fours, and seemingly improvising rhythms that made my head spin — not because I couldn’t track them, but because I’d never seen someone who wasn’t a trained musician doing things with rhythm like these four young people were… and they had style to boot
- a crowd of people just dancing in a park, and I don’t mean standing around in a circle pushing one another in to try a 3-second dance move they saw in a Hyori video, followed by embarrassed hiding of the face and flight out of the circle and back to bending their knees slightly to the beat; this was real dancing, in public, some of it perfectly awful, but most of it quite gleeful
- numberless folk and rock acts singing all over the place, some of them really good, some of them bad, but a good number of them quite tolerable and not one amplified to the point where it hurt my ears to walk past them
I wish I could see things like this in the streets of Seoul. I wouldn’t have time to do it everyday, but it’d be nice if it were possible on a random Sunday evening. The kinds of things I miss from Montreal, bits of a vibrant youth culture and of cultural atmosphere in general that I have seen loads of here without even trying hard, but have to really search to find in Seoul.
Am I just not looking in the right places? And if I am not, where should I be looking? (Outside smoky clubs, I mean.) I know about the Flea/Free Market in Hongdae, but surely there’s more than that?
Ah well, in all, I had a good day.