Sunday, February 11, 2007

Backsides of unturned stones

I am now in the westernmost town of the Honshu Island, Shimonoseki. I have come here to deliver a series of lectures.

This town is an unforgettable place in the modern history of Japan, as it served as one of the gateways to the external world. The connotations and contexts subdue with the passage of time, but memory remains, deep down in the psyche, transforming our everyday life as we know it.

Japan is a heavily centralized nation in terms of media network. Almost all the keystations of television are based in Tokyo, with a few exceptions in Osaka. There are certain tendencies and mannerisms that arise from this aerial asymmetry between Tokyo and the local towns, which I don't particularly like. I don't want to be thrown into this context of geopolitical asymmetry which many people actually take for granted.

When I visit towns new to my soul, I try to identify, beyond all the superficial appearances, an immobile structure withstanding the change of time, something beyond linear imagination, those which cannot be communicated or transported easily and therefore stand unnoticed for casual passers-by.

I try to picture in mind how life will be if I lived in the remote town. How I would develop my career, meet friends, weather an early morning rain, nurture and dream. I smell the scent of the long-forgottens, backsides of unturned stones, and the little fishes beneath the ever running water of life.

I try to tear the screens covering my inner eyes away so that I can see the world around me afresh.

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