Kabukicho Brothels

At morning Kabukicho is a ghost city, godforsaken.

Only restless spirits roam about it, mostly kids staggering out of love hotels and brothels. They wear discreet and refined clothing such as white boots, black trousers, leopard jackets and a low-necked t-shirt, hair that not even the Guns’n Roses. Or studded black wedges, handbag, alien fur jacket. When I go directly to my breakfast, they look at me like a dog looks at the meatball.* Woof!
Kabukicho is the red-light part of Shinjuku, a sort of oasis of mainstream transgression where I do not know whether or not I regret having found a cheap accommodation. If you do not want to get drunk or go to prostitutes who go there alone?! I’m not like Kabukicho myself, I just drink something good and laugh about it with a friend. I do not say at the level “Glass of wine with a sandwich”, but I think I made the idea: I had nothing to do there.

But the curiosity…

American Bar in Kawaguchiko
American Bar in Kawaguchiko, on the door of place shaped as Kremlin, so we don’ miss anything.

Yesterday I met a young couple arrived straight from Silicon Valley, she works for Google and he works for Amazon (they gain 80k per year to share the house with other 3(!) persones.Puah!). They were friendly and approachable, already had a good ethyl level and we chatted chatted and drank a bit – Oh Japanese whiskey! – we went to Oslo Batting Center there around, told load of baloneys and soon we told hello each others. They left to get some ramen before heading to the hairport, and I wanted a night cap Chpok (beer and vodka shot) because I was in full jetlag and didn’t have marijuana gums like they did.

i was looking for a pub, something simple so not a disco or an equivocal place (note: there are officially around 200 clubs there around where woman of every kind entertain men with big pockets). I wander around and at a crossing it stops me the umpteenth nigerian guy – is a rare human race too meet in corner of the world, they usually get out at night – “Hello my friend, how are you?” and so on. It was at least the 10th in two nights, and I was finally curious enough, I wanted to know.
“Came, I’ll bring you…”
“Nope, just tell me how it works.”
“Yes but come my friend, I’ll show you where it is so you’ll know where it is”
“Please understand is simply not the right day, up until now I just wanna know…”

Then I heard laughing at my back: it was the Silicon Valley couple.

“What are you two discussing about? Oh on, nailed! Enjoy it! Enjoy!”
The black guy do not lose a sec “Yes yes, your friend is gonna enjoy tonight. He’s doing well.” “Treat him good then, make him enjoy!” and so on. “Sure! Sure! He will enjoy like never before”.
I was there, in the middle like a [that!]. I was waiting for my mom, the parson and all my ex gf in lane to pass there.
Other jokes between them, I laugh and give up about saying anything, the californians goes to their damn ramen, the nigerian turns “You see? even your friends told the same! Came with me, only to see where the place is, let me offer you a beer!“ F*ck Schwarzenegger and the Silicon Valley!

“Ok so, but I’m not gonna stop, got it? Show me the place and I’ll return next days” (sure, wait for me!)
“Yes, sure you’ll be back next days, let me offer you a beer and keep this.” He hands me a business card with the tariffs (!). Damn my curiosity. They told me that to ask for an indication in Japan brings committing answers…

We walked just few steps… [continue]

Shibuya - Tokyo - November 8-2017
*Later, I found out that the most of them are singers, dancers and seducers. They are the stars of the local night clubs, where Japanese girls pay good to watch their performances and pay much more for the privilege of being seduced by these VIPs.By my Gaijin standards they are virile like a rag doll, but as romans used to say: De gustibus non est disputandum

Shibuya and Milla Jovovich

Shibuya crossing in Tokyo is like in the movies: huge, crowded, psychedelic.

In the same way of the trains and Shinjuku station – with the highest passengers traffic in the world – it makes you understand why is in this places that sci-fi movies starts zombies epidemies.

These places are overcrowded, people is close each others. Never dare to yawn in public or cross your legs when sit but you can freely sneeze in other’s people face making enough noise to be heard in Korea. The Japanese are predisposed. To zombism, I mean.

Simone Puddu Shibuya Tokio
Shibuia crossing in tokyo, where Milla Jovovich smashes zombies like watermelons.

And so, limping for an injury, I dragged myself to Shibuya’s cross just like the Resident Evil zombies, maybe less pale. But no sign of Milla Jovovich as far I hoped. Too bad, it would have been a beautiful death.

In an small pub hidden in a side street, two local girls smoke and laugh, occasionally glance at this strange gaijin with green hair, who drinks and writes, which they will not approach.

Perhaps, I may introduce myself whit an “Eeeeeeeh…”…
Forse potrei esordire con un “Eeeeeeehh…”…

Shibuya - Tokyo - November 8-2017

The mystery of Shinjuku’s benches

So finally I found where to sit down.

It is a sort of side-isle in the sidewalk, furnished with coloured cubes and banister – wooden one – to separate it from the lane. An unmistakable declares: Shinjuku Street Seat. Claps for the achievement.
Just think if in the map of your town you could see an indicator and “13: The benches, here you can have a seat”.

Simone Puddu Shinjuku Tokyo
At the famous Shinjuku benches – Tokyo

These are the first benches I see in hours and is clear that people is not used to it, they do not sit there! The pass by, shoot a perplexed look. They eyes seems to say “But hey, there is not a single uniform checking? Aren’t they paying to have a seat?” and if you don’t pay, maybe you are stealing.

You don’t believe me? I add something: I am western, I have beard – and here it stands – got green hair(!) and no one had a glance at me in the last 28 hours, I’m anonymous again. Right now, sit in the benches of Shinjuku, they look at me like a freakshow.

Is not by chance that with me there is a guy maybe Ceylonese, and an old couple with printed in the face “From countryside and exhausted!”.

Well… welcome with me in Tokyo, Japan, in the alternative and enjoyment focused district of Shinjuku. As start is intense and nice even if I should admit I arrived here without enthusiasm. At least the curiosity is starting to kick in. Being expert of Japan I would get many things, but My focus was on China and my smattering of local culture leaves me with more questions than anything else.
Like, where the heck are all the trash bins? I can’t find one in the street, but streets are anyway clean. I have an empty notthe with me, but I don’t know where to throw it!
Or else: why some simple benches beside the sidewalk are a social experiment, and I find myself in the guinea pig’s clothes?

I’ll tell you that being here, now, if I ever got any passion for mangas and anime it vanished, PUFF! But I’m happy, really. This materialistic mess, here around, must have something good and I’m going to find it out!

Shinjuku - Tokyo - November 7-2017

We get what we deserve

Why do we make our life worse than necessary?

Why do we make our life worse than necessary?

From same angles, Stockholm seems a Sci-Fi setting, with glooming trams in the surface, bold building, bridges between roofs, people getting out from a subway that pass under the sea as that’s something obvious. Lights in the dark.

You expect to see Farrell or Schwarzenegger running away like in Total Recall.

then you stroll in the city center and get the feeling to be in a Grimm’s tale, with impeccable medieval buildings, coloured, the cobbled pavement under your shoes.

You go to the city suburbs and it seems the advertising for a farmhouse: houses well spaced, lawns… you miss the purple cow of milka advertising that rings you the bell. Nont a ruined plaster, a stripped window, a paper strolling in the meadowland. Everything seems brand new.

That’s annoying, I need to be sincere. However, it is amazing too: you get out of Mediterranean area, you leave his mediocrity and doing so you realize that it is created by the people attitude.

Hellasgarden a Stoccolma Svezia
Hellasgarden in Stockholm Sweden

In Malta i constantly see people throwing away the empty pockets ot the cigarettes, can and papers out of the windows of the car – and can’t play the card “are tourists!” because the bumpkin music and the courses are almost ever full-maltese.

In Spain the people don’t care about singing in the street at 5am, with the adolescent selfishness for which the only important thing is that this moment is mine and fu*k the others, the as*holes can sleep during the day. And in the morning you find the same singing one sleeping on threshold of your door.

In Italy… let’s jump this as you likely already know the level. If you are italian don’t play the card “The gypsies!!” please, it would be humiliating.

In Greece two riders without helmet stops on the stop sign to smoke a cigarette with the policeman. Without helmet as well. France let’s not speak, and I don’t even include them in the the “Mediterranean Sphere” – even if all the colonized areas would not say the same.

Yes, it depends on personal perception, but Stockholm can disturb a bit if you give yourself the time to think. Why their streets are clean and our dirty? Why in the train the fire extinguishers and the red hammers are showing shining and easily reachable, and no one stole them?

At Hellasgarden there is a rough open gym, loads of people around and not only the closets in the public toilets are still there, but even the doors are intact and the walls are not smudgy.
Yes they are insanely rich, have top services, clean water and hair, but even forgetting that these things they have built and maintained – nothing arrived from heaven and our climate offers more resources than their one, since ever! – the things I have listed are anyway not given from nature and climate. Sad but true, these things are given by singles behaviour, by their social education.

So the parallel distorsions on our cities comes from the same reasons: our streets and life qualities reflect a lot of our behavior.

Quite a lot.

Sweden is not the paradise. Sweden doesn’t’ miss a good dose of problems and swedish are not more saints than other europeans – even if they love to hear so. The fact is that the careless thoward your neighbor and whatever is public is not accepted there.

Everytime we behave as “latin” as*holes we are guilty of making the life quality around us a bit worst. Our street are dirty because we make them dirty; our houses are flooded in winter because we accepted/looked-for an escape from the lawas or a total abusivism; at 3 AM a wooden head wakes us up with singing or with the loud music because we do the same or we don’t sot our friend/son who feel like doing so. From these things we arrive to accept in our streets abominations like the mafia.

Sweden is not a paradise, but if in small things they can live better than in our cities we are the only guilty, admitting it or not.

Now please, someone start with “Yes but the Sun we have…” “Yes but our food…” “Uh, but Trevi fountain…”.

Mederna Museet Stoccolma
In Stockholm there are amazing museums. I strongly recommend Mederna Museet… when they don’t let it go too much guesting crap of doubt artistic value like the above. The other exhibitions were simply great.

Doris Salcedo’s Palimpsest

I’m not a journalist  and I don’t knowhow to write about such kind of things. Furthermore, I’m not even passionate about these thematics, where journalists tries to show being intellectual, so making boring something that often is already superfluous.

I don’t know the way to talk about it but I wanna do it, because I got out of it distraught and I find it interesting, so I’ll talk like to an old friend.

Today I’ve seen Palimpsest, an installation of Doris Salcedo at Palacio De Cristal in Madrid.

This “palace” has glass walls in second 19th century style, so from outside you can peep in. I could see it completely empty, but the people queuing outside so, out of curiosity, I queued as well. I wanted to know what felt to get in a big greenhous with the house and without the green, because at the end that’s what a “crystal palace” is – or maybe an expensive aviary.

Palimpsest Doris Salcedo
Pamphlet di Palimpsest,Doris Salcedo

Everyone weared some shoe covers, got in, walked meditatively, often got out quite serious and stop. No laughs, just thoughtful steps and silently out of the greenhouse. What the heck?

In thirty minutes I go my shoe covers and got in.

the first feeling  has been confusion, i admit it: an empty pavement with names on the pavement. “Sure, we needed Doris Salcedo from Columbia to get another pavement with names on. Get a walk in Hollywood and you will get even the feets and hand prints.” But soon I have seen one disappearing, of those names, and It gave me the creeps. Something inside me gave a painful scream, I can swear it! I can’t tell you why but it suddenly hurted.

I’ve seen other names appearing from the void, expand on the pavements and disappear again in few minutes.

Doris names are made of water, they shape in the floor, let to be red, understood, let you portray the person that with that name has born and being named, and then relentlessly disappears and stop being. Someone around me went from the perplexed to the gloomy, I did too.

Only then I opened the pamphlet they gave me. The names are those of the countless victims of the sea, those souls we are now insensible to, lost trying to reach Europe. What I was watching at was much more than an exhibition: was teath and burying, the extreme action of giving back the dignity to people simply disappeared, one day, like the water that composed their names evaporated in the pavement.

Names are persons, to see them shaping and fading with the same silence can maybe remember us that those disappeared in the sea are more than numbers  on a newspaper. think at how many words, art, monuments and squares are in our cities to those sons dead in the big wars we have a name about, how many to the people simply vanished, how many to the people was impossible to return a  name. they were ours, we couldn’t accept that simply, one day, they could fade like they never existed. and may the key is exactly there: they we ours. These poor devils here, instead, evaporates and disappears, like never existed.

the Palacio di Cristal is inside Parque Del Retiro, in the center of Madrid, and will guest Palimpsest until April 2018. If you are have Beer and Tapas there around in the weekend, have a stroll in the beautiful park and seize the day to stare at a stupid empty wet floor, is for free.

People were wearing shoe covers, was entering, walking around thoughtful, usually was getting out more human.