I arrived in Tokyo late last night, mostly due to the bus trip to the Meguro Hotel than the flight itself. The Narita Airport is about one and a half hours away from Tokyo, so the additional travel time is the thing that really knocks you out. It's bad enough to be in a plane for ten hours, but then having to take a bus for more travel time is the point where one says to themselves "I had enough." Nevertheless I am here because I wanted to surprise my friend Dennis Cooper on his birthday. Him and a friend of his are in Japan for the next two weeks, and I thought "wouldn't it be a good surprise if I just showed up in Japan to see him for his birthday."
From Meguro where I normally stay, I went to a coffee shop in Shibuya, where I heard that he goes to every morning at exactly 10:15. He's been to Tokyo /Japan once, and is a well disciplined figure with respect to scheduling. As a creature of habit he always shows up at this particular coffee shop every morning he's in Tokyo.
My plan was to wait around the cafe as a lurking Rasputin, maybe behind an over sized potted plant. And once he gets in line for his coffee I would just appear behind him in that line, and bingo, tell him happy birthday.
But odd enough, while I was waiting at the Doutor Coffee shop, he doesn't show up. First of all many of the customers here was looking at my way and wondering why I was hiding behind the potted plant for a half n' hour or so. I was so puzzled, because I know Dennis spent time in Hawaii, and Doutor Coffee has a plantation on that island just for the purpose of supplying coffee to this shop and its chain in Japan. A change of plans made me purchase a cup of coffee and I found a vacant seat by the water sculpture, which is one of my favorite spots to sit and drink coffee. As I have mentioned I am not a big fan or 'real' nature, but I greatly admire 'fake' nature. This sculpture represents nature to me, without being really nature and I love that.
At this time it seemed obvious that he won't appear, so after drinking my coffee I walked down to Tower Records, which is only a block away from the coffee shop. I went on the third floor, where they have American music, and I thought I should buy Dennis a CD. For whatever reason I thought it should either be a Johnnie Ray or Max Roach CD. For the life of me, I couldn't really analyze the reason why I would focus on those two artists for Dennis. I don't think he even likes that type of music. But I'm known in the free world as the worst gift giver ever. God knows that most people return my gifts, and usually I am pretty happy about that, because my gifts are normally what I would want as gifts.
I bought a compilation of Ray's recordings called "Cry" which is put out by Bear Family, a great label out of Germany, and Max Roach's "We Insist," which is normally a very hard album/CD to find. I can only hope he'll like it, if not, he will just return it back to me. Which is perfectly OK because I don't have either album in my collection.