Apr 262002
 

Had a chance to mellow out today. First things first, note to self: Read Lonely Planet FIRST and check map before finding destination. Yes folks, I took the long way getting somewhere today, and walked for about an hour to get to the Sky Garden Observation Tower, rather than take the shorter, underground pedestrian tunnel.

Oh, postcards are away. I sent all but one today, and I now have the final address (you won’t know who you are, so don’t worry), so it’ll probably be about 10 days I think before they arrive. That of course is a complete guess based on postal mail I used to receive from someone in Germany about 15 years ago. Maybe it’s a bit quicker now.

Anyway, once I got to the top of the Sky Garden Observation Deck thingy, it was pretty good. Today was really clear, except for the polution, as is to be expected. One of the information pamphlets put out by JNTO comments about how much of Osaka has been rebuilt recently. It neglected to say because it had been bombed flat by the Americans during WWII. Being that high, with a view over everything gives one the sensation of the imporantance of it all. A sort of spiritual connection between you and everything around you. A concept of being a hovering spirit over the land. With all the Temples and Shrines I’ve been visiting, a new perspective on things religious is starting to pop into my little head. Oddly enough.

Over here when you pay for something, they usually give you the change on a small plate, usually plastic. In the cafe in the Sky Garden Observation Deck (about 150M above splat level) the dish they had for returning the money was this odd metal one. Upon closer inspection it had the words “Give us this day our daily bread” with a bread motif in the middle.

Am about 1/2 way through Hi Fidelity. Except that it’s in London, I think the movie version of this was pretty close to the original. I should of course put in some witty comments about the nature of the book and my own personal state in life, some deep reflection on how similar and different it is, and of course a complete breakdown TOP 5 list of my most painful breakups. But I won’t. (Not that I couldn’t think of 5 painful breakups, I’m sure I’ve had at least 5 relationships. Maybe. Definitely.) Maybe I’ll do a TOP 5 list soon of something. Maybe. Definitely.

But I did go into a disgustingly huge bookshop today called Kinokuniya. So big that the English book section was more than a paltry few shelves of books but complete sections. They even had other non-Japanese books as well. Harry Potter in German anyone? Anyway, I bought “The Prodestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” Now you may ask yourself (not to quote an old Talking Heads song, but I am reading Hi Fidelity,) why they hell would I buy a book like that, when I hate working so much. That’s a very good question. Because I’ve been looking at the Japanese structure of work, that nature of why people work in relation to the needs and demands placed on them and I have no idea why we or they do it. Yes, we need money to pay the bills and have all the nice things that we really, really (don’t) need. But the Japanese don’t have a Proddy bone in them, they’re all Shinto or Buddhist, or nothing really. But they have this approach to work, which I think is exemplified by the security guards who stand outside parking lots, with a red lightsaber type of torch (they are actually, really cool looking, the torch that is,) and direct cars coming in, direct them going out and do it with a level of professionalism, including a formal bow on the way out that makes Australians look like a complete set of slobs. I’ve seen it with teams of people who put petrol in cars. One person to direct the car into the filling area. One to put the pertrol in, and another to guide it out, and let the car know when it’s safe to enter the traffic flow. Now the guy who put the petrol in, is giving a formal bow to the car as it leaves. This is really, really … well really something. When the younger generation of Japanese grow up, with the infusion of American values and ideas, this society is going to crumble because these ideals and values may seem to become outdated. The entire Japanese formality system will crumble.

Anyway, will be visiting Kyoto and Nara again next week to see the things I missed. And also the Osama Tezuka Manga museum is very, very high on my agenda. I’m sure after that, you’ll hear about it, constantly.

Must eat.