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Monday, February 12, 2007

Returning to the Metropolis

I'm not entirely sure what I did do under that tree halfway down the piste, but whatever it was, my back didn't appreciate it all that much. I'm pretty sure that when I did fall over backwards I did fall onto a stone. I remember swearing a bit. Thing is, at the time the rest of my body was hurting so much I didn't really appreciate just how hard the impact had been. However, now that the neck strain has worn off (caused by a couple of falls that saw my head hit the compacted snow with such force that I wondered how people die so quickly when hanged, yet don't tend to die when given such a violent jolt on a piste), my full attention is on the pain in my spine. I think playing aeroplanes with my sister-in-law's son yesterday morning was a bit of a mistake (I was the propulsion you understand); by last night I could barely move. A night spent bolted to the futon seems to have helped though, provided I don't move, my back doesn't hurt. If things carry on like this for a week I'll go see the doc.

Anyway, lar di dah, it was a great trip. Really enjoyed it. Lovely folks too.

Meanwhile, back in 'reality', I am pleased to announce that the TGW Web Gallery has gone all interactive, and is now database driven. No more static HTML pages for me, oh no. You can comment on photos, rate them, watch them in a slideshow, and if I were to let you you could even upload your own ...but I don't really want the kind of filth that you have on your hard drive on TGW. You can also choose your own language, and your own theme - if you don't like the blue, why not try "Fruity"?

Started my part-time job last week. It went well, and was only moderately scary.

I'm now working on another website, which is a practice for yet another website that we'll be launching later in the year. The only thing is, this means I have to learn PHP coding ...coding scares me. It takes up so much time. Still, I shall attempt to embrace the challenge.

Trailwalker is coming along. As you can now see from our website the team page is nearly complete; I'm yet to meet the final two members. We're allegedly meeting up tonight but I've been unable to get in touch.

Off to see the Philharmonic Ensemble Orchestra at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space after lunch, having been given some free tickets. I've always wanted to go to a classical concert - I think this is my first ever (apart from that one last week in which I played the invisible violin). I love classical music.

Coming back into Tokyo on Friday night was almost a spiritual experience. I love the journey back into the Metropolis at night, especially by bus: this time I was coming in from the North, way up on the top of the three-story motorway, passing by the blacked-out 6th floor windows of neighbouring love hotels. In order to lose myself completely in the surreal landscape that stretched out into the mists beyond I located The Lovers by Amorphous Androgynous on my iPod... and I was off.

streaming headlights, as seen from the bus

Being so high up you are not distracted by the complexity of electrical wires which line the streets below. Initially, when passing through the outskirts, you won't see anything above 15 storeys. Just a sea of roofs, street-lights emitting a faint glow through the drizzle. As the bus continues towards the centre, so the average height increases. Red blinking lights appear, seemingly communicating hidden messages to other skyscrapers across the metropolis.
"How was your day?"
"Good, good, but my 3rd elevator shaft was shut down by a faulty door for a few hours".
"Ah, I hate it when that happens. At least you didn't have your air-conditioning turned off. DoCoMO Building tells me that he was wheezing all day after one of the ants accidentally dropped a bottle of talcum powder by one of his extraction fans."
And then BANG! You're in the middle of it all. You've hit one of the main business sectors. The towers shoot up to 50 floors in height. Packed tightly together, these vast glass structures reflect one another's interior lighting. It's 9pm on a Friday, but looking through the windows from my elevated highway, I can still see the little worker ants manning the photocopiers, shuffling their papers, looking busy until the boss has gone home. Your highway splits, merges, and all of this way above the streets below. A monorail suddenly appears, its three-carriage driverless train winding effortlessly between the towers.

It doesn't get more futuristic that this - perhaps this is all a dream? Is this bus one of those with plasma screens that have taken the place of windows?

Perhaps it is.

It's only when we arrive back at the Subaru building in Shinjuku, and I step off the bus into the rain, that I know that this is reality. I say my goodbyes, and run for the East ticket gates where *Twinkle* is waiting having just finished work. The dream is over, but the memory lingers.


I can't get those talking skyscrapers out of my head.

The mist.

The flashing red lights.

The sheer vastness of the place I call home.

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