Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Future is Now
Our washing machine washes, rinses, spins and dries clothes---all in one. You put the clothes in, push a button, and return two hours later to a load of clean, dry clothes.

Our microwave is also a toaster---you pull off the revolving plate and a grill is underneath. There's a toast button on the front.

Kranti bought the most futuristic cell phone in the world for ¥1. It's a Star Trek tricorder that takes photos and videos, recieves and sends e-mails, browses the Web, and makes excellent wet cappucinos. You can also swipe the phone on the electric sensors at subway turnstiles to ride the train. You can swipe it on many vending machines, which, in Tokyo, contain soda, juices, water, coffee, sandwiches, beer, mixed drinks, cigarettes, cigars, school-girl underpants, et cetera et cetera. There are a growing number of restaurants where you can swipe your phone to pay the bill.

Every day, yoga studios in Tokyo provide fresh wet-wipes to students, with which they wipe down their mats.

Public Bath Blues
I am denied entry to a public bath due to my tattoos; a sign in front of the building features an "x" over an icon of a man covered in dragon tattoos. I try to explain to the employees that I am not yakuza, but to no avail.

Recipe for Coma
1. Wake at 3 a.m. to practice yoga at 4.
2. Stay awake all day.
3. That evening, swallow 1,000mgs of Robaxin (generic name: Methocarbamol).
4. Follow that with two hours in a Japanese bath. "Bath" includes sauna, hot tub, ice dip, and steam room. (Note: "hot" tub more accurately called "core of the fucking sun" tub.)
5. After bath, drink half of one shot-glass-sized hot sake.

Slide off the restaurant booth into a puddle on the floor, unable to move your limbs. Blink "SOS" in Morse code to alert friends that you are in fact a sentient puddle of water, and that you need to be levered into a taxi with your home address pinned to your lapel.

Psilocybin mushrooms were legal in Japan until three years ago; head shops used to sell baggies of them. In contrast, marijuana is very illegal. People are brought up on criminal charges for failing urine tests.

DMT is still legal and available; I have not inquired about ketamine.

The GG Allin Challenge
Consumer culture has reached its apogee in Tokyo. Fashion has been deconstructed down to the molecular level and codified accordingly; fashion is followed with a rigor and zeal that, as William Gibson says in Pattern Recognition, has become an act of worship.

All of which has pushed me to the other and no less extreme end of the spectrum, the GG Allin Challenge, or the Scum Fuck Possession Fast, which involves giving up material possessions and only living with whatever fits in a brown paper bag.

GG Allin, as I'm sure everyone is aware, was a punk-rock car accident, a perpetual man on fire who wrote classic songs like "Drink, Fight and Fuck," and who hurled obscenities, fists, excrement, and other bodily effluvia on audience members. He swore he was going to kill himself on stage, but overdosed and died before he could make good.

GG had a simple philosophy on life. He had the jacket on his back and could fit everything else he owned in a brown paper bag, in case he needed to blow town, which he often did. The brown paper bag also presumably contained a six-pack and a carton of cigs.

Proposal: 10-day fast with only access to the clothing and toiletries that one is wearing and and one can fit in one regulation-sized brown paper shopping bag. No layering of clothes like girls who cheat at spin the bottle, and no department store bags! (Those are considered sacks.)

Things that are not considered "clothing" and "toiletries," and are as such outside of the fast: books, music, comic books.

You can't use your credit card, either. It's all cash-on-hand. So withdraw some money and live on a budget. You think fucking GG Allin, who wrote an album called Live Fast, Die Fast, had a fucking credit card, college boy? Fuck no.

Ten days? Make it a month.

You could do this no problem in India ... Tokyo, however, as with most places in the West: much harder---not least because it's freezing in Japan right now and you'd fill up the bag with just one sweater.

Okay, so we make it a seasonal fast---spring and summer only.

Which lets me off the hook ... for now.