Thursday, July 09, 2015
Points and Lines
I walk the streets of the city, amidst the wreckage of another weekend night. A crow plucks noodles out of an abandoned box in front of a convenience store. Across the street, I spy Michael Jackson, flanked by three admirers. As I drew near, I see that it was simply a scrawny Japanese guy who has adopted Michael’s hat and locks and questionable skin tone. Drunk out of his mind, he is being led down the street by three of his friends. He suddenly stops and points his finger back up the road, striking a classic MJ pose, then pulls out of his friends’ grasp, and moves in the direction of a 24-hour internet cafe.
There are very few others moving out here, mainly a handful of delivery men peddling their bicycles away from the Nihonkai Shinbun tower, whose rounded sides of bright reflected glass reminds me of the Ewing offices in Dallas. I carry on past the newspaper men up Kanazawa’s high street, over a bridge girded by steel, and move away from the rising sun, the hour not yet five a.m..
I’d never seen this part of the city before, but it is as attractive as the rest. On the river’s far shore I find myself flanked by one of the old geisha quarters and the village of temples nearby. The floating world and the Buddhists had always had a close relationship, and I ponder how often had these low earthen walls been rebuilt, worn down over time by the robes of monks who’d climbed over them at night. It seems like a fair metaphor for enlightenment somehow.
I move off the main road at a place called Izumi. But the only spring I see was that of my step, which drives forward my shadow, now lengthening a fair distance down the narrow lane. This would be repeated for the next couple of hours, as I trace the narrow roads which usher me from busy street to busy street. And all along this zigzag the city gradually falls away, as does the charm of my surroundings, until I am affixed firmly into suburb, moving against the flow of traffic that races along arteries to feed the pulse of what I have left behind.
On the turntable: "The Rough Guide to Jamaica"
On the nighttable: Trevor Corson, "The Story of Sushi"