I’m alone. There is not anyone here. To feel really alone is a high. Human beings, by their nature, are social animals. My needs are basically food, and something to read. Other than that, I have very little interest in anything else. By habit, I like to wander around Tokyo, but usually I don’t give a thought to where I’’m going or what direction. I walk out the door of my family home here, and I go either left or right. I never have regrets if I make the wrong decision. Or give it special meaning if something fantastic happened on that trip. My life is simply an act of reflecting and then moving on as fast as I can.
As I mentioned, I have been out of work for the past two years. When I worked, I was a good worker, in fact, my fellow co-workers were satisfied with me. But then I decided to change. There was no reason why I did so. I just woke up and chose not to go to work. I needed the money (still do by the way), but I said to myself “Nah, I’m not going to work.” It was just an odd moment, because there was nothing in my past, or present that would make me follow such a crazy impulse. I only did something like that once before, when after a sound night’s sleep I woke up and then sold my car and never drove since then. Why? Because I needed to leap into the unknown, but I never studied my impulses. I’m a creature of habit, but at times and unexpectedly, I can make the change into a habit as well.
So here I’m in Tokyo, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m going to do in the future -meaning next year, next month, next week, and tomorrow, … if I can throw that in as well. I won’t let myself be swallowed by self-doubt, because I go with the wind.
Around 25 years ago, I went to a movie theater in Tokyo that had a tatami mat, which means all customers had to take their shoes off before entering the theater. There were giant steps in front of the film screen, so everyone just sat on the tatami mat, or if they wanted to, they could easily lay down and look up at the screen. The film they were showing was such a remarkable work, and to this day, I don’t know the title of this film. All I can tell you that it starred Hitoshi Ueki and his band Crazy Cats. What is interesting about him and them is that they were musicians first, and then became successful comic actors as well. Watching the film, it reminded me of Frank Tashlin's work with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The beauty of the film is the fact that it looked like a comic strip taking place in front of my eyes. The location where the film is set is in Shinbashi, traditionally the playground for the salaryman.
I think back at that film presentation, because now I’m totally obsessed in capturing the moment when Ueki walks down the street in Shinbashi, not having a care in the world. He just left his job, or what one thinks may have been his job. For all I know he may just come into the office to have a free cup of coffee or green tea. By the expressions of the fellow co-workers, they may have never seen him before. Therefore he takes up the character of a salaryman, as one takes an identity out of one’s closet.
He was that type of character in all of the Crazy Cat films. The illusion of music being played in a small traditional Japanese bar, that may fit five or six people, all of sudden turns into a big budgeted Broadway musical. Time and place are expanded just by whatever hits Ueki's mood. Therefore when I walk on the streets of Shinbashi, I too will live in Hitoshi Ueki’s shadow.