Friday, March 13

The Homeless Writer

Several forgettable months ago I was approached by a homeless man outside of Yoyogi park. Normally I don`t stop to talk. This is a habit from back home where homelessness is rare but the few poor souls stuck on the streets are typically drug-addled and clinically insane. This is not the heartless dismissal it may seem, the city did shut down a mental hospital half a mile from my school with no real plan for the patients. A police officer responding to a disturbence call commented casually on the past proximity of two crack houses near my residence. Just across the street in fact. All of this in a city with a lower population than Shibuya on a Sunday.

But for some reason I stopped to talk with this man. Perhaps it was because he spoke excelent English and I was a little less jaded about the city in general. He turned out to be quite a character, telling me stories of his trials and tribulations. He was kicked out of a capsule hotel and accused of stealing a TV, almost arrested by the police for slashing another homeless man`s bags over a territory dispute in the rain, he was from North Korea. But most of his end of the conversation was anger directed at the Japanese people as a whole. To him, the entire island was full of spiteful snakes that smile in your face while they poison your tea. (His words, not mine)

Worst among them were the young women. I had recently broken up with a Japanese girl so I was willing to follow this thread and see where it went. It went to Crazy Town, of course. Suffice it to say, his anger seemed directed mostly at women. I did not think to ask what woman had wronged him in the past, but I assume it was a rather heavy blow.

What is the point of this? Nothing much, I bought some of his books (which I`ve yet to finish reading, wasn`t great stuff) and went on my way for him to accost another passing English speaker perhaps.

As I think back on this encounter I ask myself "where did his anger get him"? It is pretty clear that the answer is not far. I try to never get angry any more. I get frustrated constantly but almost never angry. Except for recently. This year in particular. Whatever the reason, I need to reign it in.

Thursday, March 12

A return

It's been over a year since I touched fingers to keys on this blog. So long I almost forgot how to access it. What has changed since then?

Gained weight, lost a dear friend (moved away from this crazy land, not death), lost two Uncles (The Reaper this time), gained money and tax problems. Two or three relationships came and went, the time between stretching far beyond the time within, combined. Club nights and near bar fights, alcohol fuels destruction. Came close to a nervous breakdown but decided it was not worth the trouble.

Spent money, earned money, worried about my job. On balance the spending was worth more.
Drama here, drama there. Lately more friends have turned to me for repairs as I turned in tears to others for some outlet for my fears and problems.

Went snowboarding.

But what have I learned? Not much, I feel as though I've lost a lot of good things about my life and yet have gained a few in other areas. On balance...undecided.

Things that once seemed a daily confusion or excitement have changed to ease and boredom. I know nothing more about my life than I did when I first stepped off the plane. Yet, I want to feel optimistic, I strive to be of a positive mind. My friend tells me this every time we speak, at some point or another, and yet, it is not easy. Nothing in this life is.

Except teaching English.

I do not wish to sound like I have no hope, far from it. I know that all of my "problems" are insignificant and could be fixed by a simple movement, just enough to engage the inertia of my life towards a more positive direction and things will be fine from there. I'm just waiting for the right push, whatever form it may take.

My last thought of the night (or the year as the case may be) is of cats.

It snowed the other day. A thick curtain of white powder flowing from the sky only to vanish on a ground too warm to maintain any decent dusting. During this cold onslaught I could still hear the stray cats (my neighborhood is lousy with them) mating in some out of sight spot. I'm no expert but judging from the sounds and some crude knowledge that I "read somewhere" I know this must be an incredibly painful experience for both cats.

Yet they have continued in the same way for thousands of years. This makes me think of the human animal. While true, the cat's pain is a physical one I believe the only reason the species has not died off is because they've not developed higher emotional reactions and social processes.

Back to the humans. I would argue that in many (and I'm willing to admit my viewpoint is limited and slanted towards the bitter end of the spectrum) but not all cases of human mating, it is also intensely painful to the parties involved. Though we have evolved past most physical pain involvement (unless that is your personal taste) we have shifted this burden to our emotions. It may take longer for the pain to sink in but typically, except in the case of absolute eternal true love (should one believe in that sort of thing), the result of human mating is pain on some level. Sadness, regret, anger, fear, and many others are all common side effects. The question I ask is,

"Why do we care?"

The cats in the alley underneath my balcony don't care, rain, sleet, or snow. It is simply a biological imperative. For us it is not that simple. I'm sure if there were no downsides to the act the human race wouldn't get anything done, ever. Perhaps it is a good thing we care so much. I think, however, that these concerns; even if we do not want to admit to them, for good or for ill take up too much of our time. And should you disagree, look deeper into your troubles and see how fast sex comes up.

I am out of cigarettes and solid ideas so I will have to leave this thought for another time.