gaijinassbannerAs I walk past The hotel Original a young woman who is maybe a hooker comes out the exit and we bump into each other.  Her skin is white, she’s wearing large sunglasses and her dyed dirty blond hair is put up in a chaotic bun on the top of her head.

When we bump into each other she drops her cigarettes.  I watch her bend down and pick them up and I stare at her for a moment and she just stands there in her bright orange top and tight lime green mini-skirt and looks up at me and doesn’t move.  Then, I reach out slowly, put my right hand on her upper arm and lightly push her out of my way and continue toward Ikebukuro station.

It’s only seven in the morning but it’s ninety degrees out and the sun is raining down on everything. The scumbags and other remnants from the night before are staggering around, squinting and sweating in this barbaric sunlight which feels  like it has snuck up on everyone somehow.

I pass by a convenience store with another hooker (maybe), a homeless guy and some Pakistani man wearing khakis and a black wind breaker, all standing out front by a green pay phone.  The night worker and the Paki are both smoking like chimneys and sweating.

I walk by two more love hotels and I reach my sweaty hand into the pocket of my cargo shorts and turn the volume on my mp3 player all the way and Cello suite No.1 rattles my entire brain and then I take in the path ahead of me as Misha Maisky bends and manipulates the strings; the sheep gut cores humming and moaning deeply to great melancholic effect.

CNN this morning was a carnival  of death and celebrity-obsession so depraved and useless I nearly lit my computer on fire.  So, I did two hundred quick pushups, took an ice cold shower and drank a cup of ludicrously strong coffee and all this somehow fortified me for the walk to the station.

At the intersection I have to cross in order to pass two more convenience stores there are innumerable  hung over young women who already are breaking down under the abuse their lives offer and dozens of deeply tanned men with rabidly shifting eyes and few options loitering around mumbling at each other and trying to stand in the shade. I look down and there is a massive pile of garbage.  It’s massive and spilling half way into the street.  Various white plastic bags packed full of disposable lunch boxes, cup noodle containers, beer cans, sake boxes, a package for tampons and a several copies of pornographic manga are laying on top of each other and there are massive, jet black crows sifting through all of this.

The crows are huge and one hops right next to my sandaled foot, ignoring me, in order to go to the opposite end of the pile and rip open another bag.

One of the grows, the size of a Christmas turkey, jumps up into the air and perches on the white guard rail on the corner of the intersection and screams loudly.  A moment later another crow  further away screams back.  Then the fat black bird hops down and continues digging in the trash.

I wonder then if they had crows like this back in Leipzig, Germany back in the day and if so, what was Johann’s take on them?  To me they are utterly disgusting yet oddly intriguing and hard not to notice and examine.

Just then I notice that the light at the cross walk is green and sweaty people are passing by me, some of them looking quickly over their shoulders at me standing there in the burning sun looking and these shitty crows digging in the garbage and I notice I have sweat streaming down my forehead, face and neck.  I’m also grinding my teeth.

The air conditioning on the Yamanote line is blasting and cool and everyone tries not to look at anybody else  and we all pretend we are somehow civilized.  I try not to wonder how long the subterfuge will last.

 

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