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Tokyo scenes

Tokyo time, meaning a bit fast.  Arrived, settled into cheapo New Koyo “hotel”, cheapest in city.  A room just big enough to roll out futon, 3 showers for 75 rooms, but kept clean, quiet, and beats paying twice the price for not much more.  If going to Tokyo, if you don’t mind roughing it a bit and being a bit on edge of town near Minowa, check it out.  Then it was on to two days of workshop, 18 participants, a handful of whom had past experience, the rest from nothing to something.   Came out very well for the brief time available, and they made some very nice things.  I was very happy about it.   Happier making still was that the person who’d invited me seems to have liked what he saw, and tomorrow we talk about a possible job here – a bit of teaching, and overseeing a large project of making a kind of big portrait of Tokyo.   If it works out I’d get some time to live here, which I’d like – Tokyo is very interesting.  It just costs a little fortune to be here, so an income is a requisite for a longer stay.  Find out tomorrow.

For the last decades Japan has been in a “malaise” – its economy supposedly limping along, cramped by economic factors which I suppose may be so, but looking at Tokyo it is difficult to sense.  Despite crippling earthquakes, the tsunami and nuclear meltdown not far to the north of the city, to all appearances it is a very wealthy place, and kept in meticulous cleanliness, everything precise and, well, Japanese.  A design sense seems a DNA implant in everyone, whether seen in their clothes – I saw a young hip-hop kid decked out in his “dude” best, and while the pants drooped to halfway between his ass and knees, they were held up with yet another layer, and each element in the ensemble suggested a conscious choice of Jap-ghetto style (except in our sense there aren’t any ghettos here) – in how tidy and neat everything is, however mundane, or even in the only hint of the “malaise” to be seen, little clusters of homeless encampments, kept tidy and orderly by their inhabitants.

Japanese workman’s paint job

Most culture’s I have been in would just slop the paint on with no masking; here the guy is being meticulous – it’s a little wall/fence of a public park, just the most ordinary thing, and look at the care taken.  That’s Japan.  Of course not everything is like that, but most things visible to the public are.

Meantime back in America, it becomes more obvious with each passing day, for those who didn’t already know, that our press is totally in the pockets of corporate powers, and is doing all it can to censor and suppress information about the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, which have now spread to numerous other cities.  That the American press eagerly reported from Tahrir Square, from Libya and Syria, but has done the opposite with this protest reveals all too much about it’s real nature, and that it is utterly subservient now to the forces of Wall Street and the corporations which Wall Street symbolizes.   And, seemingly, like the clumsy behind-the-curve behaviors of the middle-eastern governments, our system likewise – despite having just reported on exactly the same thing – seem to discount the effects of the internet as a means to do an end-run around media censorship and repression.  And stranger still, they don’t seem to realize that in their repressive actions they reveal their true nature and imagine this will not, as it did in the middle-east, rebound against them.

As the mass media in America is doing its best to ignore, distort, suppress and censor the Occupy Wall Street events, as well as those now occurring in other cities, I encourage readers here to spread the word.  See here for more on a national scale.   And for a grim look at the nastier reality of what is being confronted see this, from a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan and editor of the Wall Street Journal.  Not your usual hippie long hair ranter and raver.   What he writes is terrifying precisely because it is so true, and while I suppose most Americans would deny what he states, that is what is so awful about it.

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