October 25, 2014
I was wandering around Iidabashi in Tokyo when I came upon a small movie theater. They were showing “La Roue, ” which is a French silent film made in 1923. It appears that they only show silent films in this theater, and the auditorium fits only six or seven people. I was the sole customer there. You can hear the projector behind you, and as for sound, the projectionist actually hums various melodies through an ancient sound system in the theater. The film is very long. I lost count, but I think it lasted over nine hours, and I went there in the afternoon, and came out in the very late evening. Yet, I couldn’t remove myself from my seat. I was struck by how odd it was to see this film here in Iidabashi, off a popular street, Kagurazaka-dori, that seems to lead to a Shinto shrine.
As I sat there, and losing track of time (and space) I was amazed with myself in that I could make a narrative out of this picture. The titles were all in French, a language that I don’t speak or read, and even that was odd since I was in Tokyo. I was drawn here, due that it started to rain, and I wasn’t wearing proper clothing. So for about ¥1000, I thought it was worth it, just to avoid the weather. What appeared in front of my eyes changed my life forever.
It wasn’t the film itself, but more of my mental state, which to be honest, is not so good. I’m on a track that is losing ground quickly. In fact, I even considered suicide. But I haven’t the foggiest idea how one does that. That point when you want to do it, yet I lack the proper skills in completing such a drastic act. I even wrote a suicide note, and after finished writing it, I re-read it, and it made me laugh hysterically. So, even that, I don’t really have the talent for the ‘death’ angle. Iidabashi is a great neighborhood to wander, due to the shops and restaurants. So many happy people here, maybe due that it’s Halloween and some are dressed in their favorite manga character. My costume and role is someone in misery, but no one could tell my outfit whatsoever. So yes, going into a movie theater with only that in my thoughts, send me to a world not of my making, but almost like Buster Keaton in “Sherlock Junior” I’m finding myself in the oddest landscapes, here in Tokyo.
After exiting the movie theater, I needed some food. But no place was open. It was around 3 in the morning. The subways and the JR train was closed down, so I walked towards the canal that runs through the area. It is as at that point I thought I could throw myself into the water. I don’t swim, so I thought the combination of my lack of skills and nature itself will be perfectly compatible with each other. Of course, I walked among the canal by practically falling down the hill to get there. My initial thought, do I need stones to fill my pockets so I would be dragged down to the bottom of the canal? I took my shoes off, and dipped my big toe in the water. It was cold! Then I had the thought in my head of having my clothes wet, and how uncomfortable that would be as I’m drowning in the canal. So I took my clothes off, and since I was in Tokyo, I decided to fold the clothing up very neatly. There were no rocks around, just pavement. Nevertheless I walked up to the canal and dived in. When I did that, I hit my head on the bottom, and immediately got up on my feet. The water was just three feet. It was cold as … I was about say hell, but that doesn’t seem appropriate for this sentence. I got out, and put my clothes back on, and began to walk back to the movie theater.
The funny thing is I couldn’t find the theater. It was gone! Then I started wondering if I somehow made this up in my sick mind. More likely I couldn’t find it due to the combination of my despair and the winding streets of Iidabashi. The amusing thing, at that very moment, I felt my life as being complete, and it didn’t matter if I killed myself or not. What mattered to me is to find the film “La Roue” and somehow enter that world again. But one can never go back home or their dream state. We live only once, and the art of living is capturing that moment for one to come back to. I did that, and now I can go on.