Almost exactly one month ago, I wrote about the positive effects of drinking a hell of a lot of water.

This week I have discovered the mental equivalent.  For the last five days, I have read at least 200 pages of literature a day (French counts double).

My god, the dreams I am having – they haven’t been this vivid or active since circus school.  Writing is easier.  Reading is easier.  It hasn’t even been a week but I feel like I’ll need to increase my daily intake to 300 pages a day.

I am even starting to find some common ground with the writer I love to hate, Umberto Eco, a genius who uses reason and analysis to squeeze the life out of books.  He ossifies literature and uses brute-force methodology as creative process, but I am starting to realize that he has a point: read enough classic literature back-to-back and you will find thematic threads that connect it all.

I still think that this suggests more about the psychology and soul of the reader than about the landscape of a unified canon of literature, but Umberto probably reads a thousand pages a day.

He mentally pisses his ideas out as a ceaseless, colorless stream – in three languages, no less.

Mental incontinence; what a state to aspire to!

Tiny Fury Things

Yesterday I was so mad I couldn’t even write.  I got word that Taiwan Productions only asked for $6,500 Canadian for my work over the last year.  That fee would represent my entire annual income for 2007.  Since December I had been working solely on getting the team to Japan, and since March, I redoubled my efforts after getting positive feedback on the 20,000CAD price quote that I submitted.  They didn’t even propose that amount to the client.  Look, maybe I misunderstood and the $6,500 was for only either the show or the festival, but even so, that is 30% less than what I asked.  Why wasn’t I informed that my submitted fee was not accepted?

Fucking shit.  Fucking shit.  That wouldn’t even get me out of debt for the last year.  It’s less than I would get teaching English in Tokyo for two months.  Fuck this shit fuck it and fuck it.  I am done with this stupid fucking business after December.  You can’t trust anyone, and no one appreciates a goddamn thing you do.  You get screwed and fucked over.  I am going to fight like a motherfucker to get my money.  I worked for them for a goddamn year for free those fucking bastards.  It was an insult!  I was so furious that I couldn’t even see.

The Political Scientist did a good job calming me down; it’s good to have friends: “I know you won’t leave it like that and I wish you strength and luck and everything.  You’ll be OK wherever you will be going after that….I’m writing this cause I really think so, not because I want to make you feel better.  After you start feeling better, of course.  It will be fine, don’t be so down, though.  Head up, nothing is as bad as it might seem, you will get what you deserve”

I just spent the whole night lying awake; like the night a few weeks ago when I realized that I had no money left.

Not a fun time.

Things are critical, money wise, and shit got even worse today.

My computer is really about to die.  Imagine getting less than $4,000 for all the work I have put in for the last year.  Makes me laugh.  Makes me sad.

But look, every problem in life has an ideal solution; the trick is to stay calm enough to find it.  I need to wait, first of all, The Rocker says that Taiwan Productions are working so hard to increase the fee for the production team through the Canadian Trade Office.  Maybe they are fucking me, but I should wait to see what the final offer is.  If I can get more, then there is no problem.  If not, and they don’t get me a place to live and a per diem, then life is tough and I may need to say fuck off.  If they really want me to stay on, they will find a way to make it work, you know?  If not, maybe I need to find another way to make a living in art.  Maybe Japan Productions will want to invest in my services.  Maybe I take the offer in Taiwan, but explain to them that I need to apply to cabarets in Europe to make ends meet, and if there is a conflict, well they need to pay me more to make it worth my while.  The Rocker says that at a certain point, I am allowed to negotiate.  I don’t know what that will mean.

Money takes the stress out of living life the way I want to live it.  Not having that money just puts everything into a clearer focus.  Shit is a test sometimes.  Maybe I do have to be smart to do art after all.

I just did my calculations and can say for sure that if I scrounge really hard, I can stretch my funds out to the end of July here in Japan, at which point I will quite literally hit bottom with $0 in my bank account (and no way home!).

I wrote The Rocker to see if there is any way that I could at least be reimbursed for the work and expenses that I have accumulated to date, like the hours spent on video editing and page layout and the material costs of printing and producing these promotional videos.

Project  Hours Worked ($15 per hour)
Video 1                  40
Video 2                   45
Show Proposal      20
Festival Proposal  20
Butoh Proposal     8
Misc                        8
Total                    141X$15=$2,115.00
Date                        Item                        Reason                   Rate in USD
2/24/2006             Post                        DVD                        $7.74
2/28/2006             Post                        DVD                        $7.74
3/10/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $4.34
3/5/2006               Namecards            Meetings               $151.11

3/8/2006               Printing                  Color Brochures   $15.37
3/8/2006               Folders                   For Brochures       $14.45
3/14/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $3.00
3/16/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $1.05
3/16/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $11.82
3/16/2006             Folders                   For Brochures       $2.46
3/16/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $10.50
3/21/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $11.64
3/22/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $6.20
4/3/2006               Computer Fee       Festival Schedule $8.00
5/2/2006               Printing                  Color Brochures   $5.72
5/13/2006             Printing                  Color Brochures   $2.71
5/26/2006             Name Cards          Meetings               $85.83

5/27/2006             Computer Fee       Rendering Video   $9.72
5/27/2006             Computer Fee       Rendering Video   $11.44
Total:                  $370.84

Getting refunded this $2,500 would give me a little breathing room in case of an emergency.

So one weird benefit from the fuck-up is that I’ll be staying in Japan through the summer term, teaching to the end of July and earning more per month that the festival pays me.  Of course things are crazy; I am juggling about 5 projects right now, and I thought they were all about to blow up on me earlier this week.  After about 48 hours of no sleep, things are going better now.  I hope that it will work out the best for all of us in the end.  I am giving July 19th to people as my last day in Japan, but any further delays would mean that I’ll have no apartment to stay in starting in August, but one crisis at a time.

An Abysmally Bad Day

One of those days when you feel like life just punched you in the testicles hard.  Waking up tomorrow is going to be a chore.  This job pushes me closer to indulging in orgies of self-destructive behavior than anything since – high school.

I need to breathe deeply over the next couple of days while waiting to see how much the news I received today will be attenuated by my response.  Then I will decide if I take my Mom’s advice to come back home, live with her, and get a nice stable job working at McDonald’s.


My job takes the form of travelling all over Tokyo and training.  I am probably a commuting- or training- induced trance for about six hours a day.  Combined with morning dreams, the drifting hours before sleep and solitary evenings before my roommate comes home, I have a lot of time for interior dialogues.

As regular home internet access is a luxury that I can ill-afford, I spend a lot more time thinking about things to write on this blog than actually writing in it.  Here are some topics that I would be writing if I had regular internet at home:

  • The nature of interior dialogues
  • The conflict between the solitary and social facets of a physical artist
  • My grandparents and their experiences as second generation Japanese-Americans
  • The desert project
  • Saturday’s all-night party in Yoyogi Koen
  • The strange mental sensation of reading 200+ pages every day without fail.

I don’t mean to give excuses.  This is my to-do list.  It will be done.

Missed Calls (8)

I’ve been missing calls from The Activist all week!  The Political Scientist and I were on a trip back to Nagoya to celebrate her last week in Japan, and I left my cell phone in Tokyo to leave work behind. When I called her back, she had just returned to Nagoya herself.  Bad timing, especially since after that she’ll be off to San Francisco to fulfill her dreams of following the trail of her grandfather and I’ll be off to Taiwan at long last.  If I can I’ll try to get back to Nagoya sometime next month to have a last coffee together if possible.  I want to hear about her dreams and expectations of California.

Never one to let an opportunity go, she reminded me of the list of names and theater information that we got from the National Theater, I am still interested in meeting with them in the next couple of weeks and she’s advising me on the best way to get in contact with them might be.  It has been a long ride since December, and The Activist’s help has been what carried me through the whole way.  Happily, it seems as though the seeds we planted way back then are starting to sprout, just like she assured me they would.  I hope that the winds that carry us in opposite directions will one day bring us back together as well.

Back to Business

Back to business.  The internet connection at my house is down again, like during January.  It makes it hard to do business which is a pain because I had to change the company profiles of The Rocker and the Taiwanese production company a lot to make it fit the format of a Japanese company profile.  I am writing from an internet cafe and the smoke smells terrible; like I can taste it and it is disgusting.

My brain is already starting to live in Taiwan now that The Political Scientist is gone.  Here’s what’s new:

  • I have to write my first-ever proposal for an artistic residency at the Taipei artist village where I’ll be staying starting in August. They need me to send my resume and talk about my interest in collaborating with international artists against the backdrop of Taiwan’s vibrant artistic community.  Since coaching and working in unusual mixes of artistic media (acrobatics/dance/multimedia/graphic arts/design/music/writing) in an international environment is what interests me most, I’ll focus on my six months at the World Expo in Japan where I met with artists from all over the world, exchanging ideas for inspiration and advancing the work of all involved.
  • The Rocker handed my name card to one of the most well-known choreographers in China, Willy Tsao, director of The Beijing Modern Dance Company, Guangdong Modern Dance Company and the City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong, who was in town. They were talking about a possible mix of dance and our acrobats for the Beijing Olympics. I am really crossing my fingers for something there especially since Tokyo Productions knows the company that is serving as consultant along with Steven Spielberg.
  • In the meantime, the Taiwan Productions have already sold our concept for a site-specific creation for a huge new museum in some other city in Taiwan.
  • Still no news at all about when I will be able to relocate to Taiwan, but The Rocker said that he now knows how much salary we are all getting as a base and that there is a possibility of getting more if grants and residencies come through. I’m still hoping that I will be receiving at least what I had proposed in March…my fingers are crossed for that too!
  • I am thinking about where all this is going – about writing a huge proposal for my first big-budget project through the connections I am making right now. Maybe revisiting 62 Days in The Desert.  This type of reflection may be coming from the emails I’m getting from The Clown whose Cirque du Soleil Beatles show opened in Las Vegas last week – he says that he’s already wondering what’s coming after!

Disposal Strategy

Haven’t had the chance to write The Political Scientist because The Model and I share a computer now and the internet was down until The Model got home last night.  The apartment is so empty now.  I have seen The Model for exactly 44 minutes since The Political Scientist left and that was just to throw away everything in the apartment without our names or address on it.  Why without identification?  Because our neighbor had a lot of traceable garbage returned to him by the Japanazis when he tried to throw away too much all at once.  In denial, he just left it outside for the crows and cats to fuck up.  The Model cleaned it up days later (of course).

The Model and I are both practically ready to leave, I think.  She was stopped by the police recently which freaked her out.  The Author is the next to leave, the beginning of July, then The Politician, then The Model.  I actually prefer to be the last one there, I think.  It is like being the last one at the party.

It was crazy, Tokyo was a ghost town last night.  Everyone was asleep at 10 to wake up at 4 and see the match versus Brazil.  Had a migraine last night but it did get better; I was lucky that most of it happened at night, but it was very unpleasant waking up, opening my eyes, and being blind in the morning.  Today I had only one English class, so in a way, I really had the last three days off.  I am taking advantage by doing all the stupid stuff that seems stupid to take care of when you’re enjoying a last month in Japan with The Political Scientist.  Suffice to say there was a lot.

I will be spending the rest of the day doing laundry, writing sakubun, ripping dvd’s, organizing artist materials, and writing emails to people to thank them for making the Adco presentation such a success.  I will see The Author and The Politician tomorrow, and that will be good for me, I think.

If The Model and I are able to successfully thrown away all of our big garbage with addresses and names on them them in the next week it will be a big win.