©Translated by Isabelle Esser Godalming Surrey Oktober 2010
HERE I SAT, on Tokyo’s tongue, in the city’s saliva, licking it, while a young girl sat down beside me – two young girls, in fact. I breathed in their youth. And smelled the stench of my age, tasted both, as they blended together into one awful odour. Shadows under the eyes, birds of prey, preying on words, the vultures, the language vultures (vultures = authors, king vultures = publishers). A melting pot of peo-ple, outside, in front of the window, on the other side of the pane. And a melting pot of words where I come from; a boiler of words, yes … the Austrian boiler of fat sausage words. On the other side of the street – Gaien Higashi Dori – a silver box of a building (Motown House Tokyo 2, small, filfthy, blind windows, nervously rotating billboards: grid square 4F, Spicy Café, Garlic Restaurant). Oh, the lechery of old age; when it first starts rubbing between your thighs, I thought as I sat there on the stool behind the pane. The two girls had gone. Another, not so young woman appeared. She stole a glance at me. Just a quick glance, im-mediately lowering her gaze to the floor. I too, momentarily looked away. What was I doing here? Why had I come here in the first place? To this city, to this giant human hothouse? What for? Why on earth? Because of my mediocre writing? Ah …yes … (oh, no). I should never have written anything. Not a sin-gle line, I should never have pandered to the persistent nagging in that brain of mine, I should never have listened to the screaming inside my skull. I should have sat myself down and waited, waited for the calm, waited until it had passed, I thought as I sat there on my stool behind the window pane. I should have sat down and waited – and waited. And yet, had I waited, I would still have ended up where I should never have ventured in the first place. I had switched sides from the musical-note-assembly team – God only knows what took me there – to the language-writing-down/pen-to-paper word writing community; from the audience-hungry instrument operators to the publicity-hungry, face-washing, word-churning team, desperate for a faithful flock of readers and face-washing because of their insa-tiable appetite for attention. I had substituted the unbearable existence of a musician for the unbearable existence of an accumulator of words. Life has always had a way of washing me onto the shores I should never have been stranded on, of pushing me to the edges of the unbearable; but then I thought, given that I am the kind of man people find difficult to bear, and because I present myself to the world as an unbearable human being, my unbearable character and I are naturally attracted to other unbearable characters – and being an author generally means that you have an unbearable character. Life laughs at you, like it laughs at all these self-important people, these miserable, puffed up, self-important people, this bunch of writers and publishers, yes, life thrashes the mediocrity, the moderateness out of their bod-ies, their heads, their genitals, only to rub their noses in all that it has squeezed out of them, I thought sitting there on my stool. Puppets, linguistically bloated puppets, the lot of them and a repulsive, linguistically puffed up puppet am I. I sat there and the street tapped me over the head, the city pushed its lights over me, I rolled around in its hand. Doko e?, doko kara? doko de? doko no? Kono hito wa dare desu ka? Kore wa dare nohon desu ka? Doshite sore o shimasu ka?
The woman next to me, she was probably about thirty, elegantly dressed in a designer suit, had finished her cappuccino, she had slid down from the stool and had left. I watched her as she walked away; swinging her hips from side to side. Then she was lost in the grey river of people. Hika ni nani ka? Ikura desuka? Itte mo ii desu ka?