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1# Thing about Japan.

I was spending some time on Stumbleupon yesterday, as is the intent of the site, and  I found myself watching a short documentary on the  Aokigahara Suicide Forest at the base of Mt Fuiji, not far from Tokyo. The story goes that this place was mentioned in a famous book as a good place to end it all and ever since has been a hot spot with those considering an early exit.

When I lived in Tokyo I remember being told about the caves at Mt Fuiji that are used as a suicide venue due to the toxic gases released by the volcanic mountain, but the forest was new to me.

Click on the link to check out the video, it’s from Vice magazine and is only 20 minutes long.

2# Thing about Japan.

Lake Sagami is an artificial lake not far from Tokyo. Sagamiko is the town that used to sit on the shores of Lake Sagamiko before it was merged with Tsukui in 2006 to form Sagamihara. During my memorable sojourn in Japan I had the good fortune to take a trip to its shores for a day. My friend at the time, Tokyo Steve, had managed to get his hands on a car and had some contacts in the area so off we went in the drizzling rain.

First stop was a friend’s old country house that had a silk farm in the roof. Well, when I say silk farm I don’t mean the whole kit and kaboodle but he did have several thousand spindles of raw silk pods stored in his attic ready for unravelling.

As it turned out he wasn’t in at the time but his weird house guest entertained us with some tea and a few polite words before giving us the bums rush. The funny thing is that later on in the year I had to make a hasty exit at Narita airport one day, never to return, and as a consequence all my personal belongings from Tokyo Steve’s miniature Koenjii flat were driven out there and stored. Never to be seen again.

After we checked out the silk farm attic it was off to the hills to visit another old friend of Steve’s. I can’t recall his name or his background but I can tell you that he was crazy and belonged to that special group of Japanese eccentrics who live in the woods and are seldom visited.

We were slowly approaching his small hut on the side of a mist shrouded mountain(not uncommon in Japan) walking past household rubbish, dead appliances, gardening relics and other such stuff all strewn willy nilly about the place when it became obvious that something was amiss. In the distance through the bamboo I could make out a small hut, all grey and wet. The door was open.

As we got closer I could hear sounds. Familiar sounds, but not the common or garden variety, more like the privvy type.  A few more feet and it was obvious what was going on. As we rounded a large bamboo infestation we were afforded the most unforgettable vista of the old man on the mountain wiping his arse, pulling up his shabby drawers and turning around to enter his shed. He then closed the door to his al fresco toilet.

We stood in disbelief, our cigarettes hanging from our damp lips, well I did anyway as I think Steve was already au fait with shenanigans such as these. Before you ask – yes we did get closer and see the fruits of his labours on his door step, no, we didn’t wipe our feet.

A brief conversation ensued after knocking on his door. He was busy that day and wasn’t entertaining guests as we had arrived unannounced.

We left the freshly baked pile of shit on his door step and wandered off back down the hill to the car. I think we went for lunch or a joint or both.

3# Thing about Japan.

Last night I watched something truly amazing. Last night I had crazy dreams. Last night I watched Enter The Void.

If you have an open mind, like trippy visuals and are curious about the after life,         The Tibetan Book of The Dead and Tokyo’s seedy ex-pat life style then give it a go.

The Director, Gaspar Noe, is greatly influenced by Stanley Kubrick and his opus, 2001: A space odyssey.

I watched Enter The Void on my lap top, I would love to see it on a big screen with cinema sound. It will become incredibly obvious to you within minutes that seeing this on the big screen is the only way to watch this film.

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