Today I’ve done nothing of note. Now, you may be wondering why am I posting up something if that’s the case. Lets just say it’s all about the wind down, the final stage, the end of the story. Folks, I’m coming home soon and well, I’m really, really tired.
I’ve been watching a lot of Japanese television in my hotel room as I eat my Kombini meals and drinking vending machine beer. I’ve walked the streets late at night watching homeless people set up their carbaord boxes at the train station and bored kids lpay their guitar and drums, just for the hell of it. I’ve heard motorbikes race through the streets, only to be followed by the wail of the police siren, or is that an ambulance? People shop to find meaning, and find meaning in their shopping. Large department stores sit snuggly next to bright, neon lit pachinko parlours. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples struggle for space. Back alley ramen shops and yatai street vendors vie for my attention. A Buddhist monk, begging for alms stands opposite a temporary national lottery booth. People put money with both, a bet each way. The days are getting hotter, the sun burning the roadway, scorching the hastily placed porn advertisments spruking services up to 30,000yen for 120 minutes. And all the while, people move on.
There are apartment blocks, parking towers, office blocks, hotels, parks, shops, bars and izakayas. McDonalds, Starbucks, Coke Cola, Pepsi, Nike, Toyota, Nestle and Sony. And lots of people. Everywhere.
Everyone has a role, and a place. Office Ladies, the 18-25 young things, often working for less money than their male conterparts are easily identified by their homogeneous unforms. Groups of clones walk about at the illusive lunch time break deciding what to buy at which department store. Middle age salarymen falling asleep over their dinner, not wanting to go home. School kids speeding off from one after school class to another. And all of them doing something with their mobile phones. Sometimes even making a call, but more often playing games or sending email.
In the slow downhill slide to obsesity, and one does not easily notice the gradual change. With Japan, nobody is watching the scales of opulence to determine, when and if Materialism Watchers need to be called in.