Friday, August 27, 2004

strange old stories: osaka

junior year of high school, my friend pia and i took a flight to osaka, japan, with a pair of nissei community college gals we met randomly at the mall (the daughters of a way cool kendo master.) it was impulsive: we decided to go at one of those haughty fast food stands independent from the food court. a strange decision, and i never really understood why we made it. in fact, i didn't tell most of my high school friends about it. i wasn't trying to keep it a secret, i just wasn't sure if they would believe me... and the opportunity to talk about it never causually opened during our conversations ("oh, have you seen High Fidelity? good movie. and, hey, i partied with some girls i met at the glendale galleria over the weekend. where at? in osaka, japan... it was cool... oh, and i was on television too.") i was a quiet high school kid, headphones and sketchbook routine, and i wasn't big on storytelling, so i let this one dissapear into my desk drawers as polaroids that i never really looked at after i shook them.

the story is a blur of half-conversations, communal showers, jive talking under blue street lights, coffee and cigarettes vending machines, war memorials, lucky trees, deer poo, toilet squats, long bus rides, and fish every meal of the day.

i carried a sketchbook and i went drawing with a blind high school girl i just met. i traced a mandala on a piece of paper with the blunt edge of a pen and pulled her finger to the page and guided her hand along these tiny circular canyons. draw yourself in the center circle, i asked her, and where you hope to be in the outer ones.

15 miliseconds of fame came when we were kicking it during a tour of a major television station. we were a big group - us and some japanese high school students on summer break. i was staring at a domu-kun poster on a wall when i overhead one of my new japanese friends hustling(?) a television producer. he convinved him that we were an international singing troupe for peace. i guess the producer was short of an act for his variety show so he pushed us backstage and told us that we'd be filmed in a few minutes. the only song that we all knew was lionel ritchie and michael jackson's legendary hit, "we are the world." a few minutes later we were directed on stage, in front of a studio audience. we smirked and just belted the chorus at the top of our lungs... WE ARE THE WORLD WE ARE THE CHILDREN WE ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE A BRIGHTER DAY SO LET'S START GIIIVVIIIIING.

apparently they played us during the variety show's end credits.

sometimes i think about going back, and looking for those few friends i made during that chance weekend in osaka. we were delirious kids and we stuck together well.