Sunday, May 27, 2012

Street Hiking

By Ted Taylor

On the day Ben-chan came to town, I had to go to Osaka to get my visa to India. Since I had hours to kill before his flight, I thought I'd pass the day on foot. I ducked into a small cafe offering cheap 200 yen coffee. The cafe was called, "Days," the name referring to what was taken off my life due to all the tobacco smoke. Escaped quickly, to the fresh air sidewalks of Osaka. Walking unfixed, turning right angles at random in emulation of that Windows screensaver. I relished this feeling, of winter sun on my face and new delights before my eyes. I've spent way too much time online this year, and was happy that I'd recently begun to "boot the computer." I really miss this aimlessness, time passing by the rhythm of my footfalls rather than on second-hand ticks; chasing the spectre of that amblin' prophet, Aaron Cometbus. I used to pass whole days this way, thumbing thru second hand book shops, people watching in parks, searching for dollar Burritos and good cheap coffee in those days before Starbucks. Walk, eat , read, write. These days, I seem to do this only while abroad, hearing the slap of my boots on the pavement take on foreign sounds. I want to reclaim that feeling of seeing the famiiar made fresh every day.
And I walked on, ducking in and out of shops to chat up their young owners, stopping often to snap a photo or jot my thoughts down in my moleskin. One common denominator throughout south Osaka is the music. For a region that takes pride in being at the forefront of alternative youth culture (and Shibuya is the same way), the theme songs are certainly commercial. It takes the monicker, "R&B," label that seems to be reapplied every decade or so, replaced by posthumous labels like "soul" or "funk." But replace that "B" with "P", throw in a "C" and an "A" and you get closer to the truth.

After two lunchs and too much caffeine, clock time kicked in once again, telling me I needed to head to the airport and pick up my friend. Feet, we should do this more often.

First appeared in Notes from the 'Nog, December 2006. 

Published with permission.