The Raglan Road of Tokyo

On Gaien Higashi Dori

Life from the Raglan Road of Tokyo

Thursday, November 6

Normal Service to Resume Shortly

On Gaien Higashi Dori's hiatus this week has been brought on by an infestation of work toads. Until they have been deported, here is a piece by a friend of the editor on a different kind of journey. All events described in this piece are of course purely fictional.

Flights of Fantasy by RW

Neither life nor death, as we mundanely experience them, constitute a final statement about reality or existence as a whole. So I decided to go on a
chemically induced journey to see if I couldn’t find some answers to life’s ultimate questions.

I soon forgot what the question was. It could have even been a rhetorical question for all I knew. This was an express ride to the bowels of some dark
place with strangers and even stranger thoughts in my head. Like a boy in short pants I stepped into the women’s lingerie section and promptly lost my shorts, figuratively speaking that is.

It’s more fun to travel with someone and likewise this journey began with a fellow explorer. Like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, we put life under the microscope and found that the damn thing was out of focus. We both left the highway of normality and skidded down into some freaky little valley.

Social interaction became fairly irrelevant as my mind started to bend like one of Beckham’s free kicks. I became lost in my own private pleasure palace, and chamber of horrors all under the one roof.

It’s funny how two people in the same space can be in two different worlds, joined only by a mutual desire to get ripped. We were two space cadets lost
in the jungle of life with smiles for miles.

My fellow passenger was soon off with the fairies. He was reaching out to the flowers or something, while I was hanging on to my barstool wondering why the music had suddenly become louder and my heartbeat had become a drumbeat.

I remember shouting something. Not that anyone could hear. But probably similar futile words uttered by passengers in the final seconds of a fatal plane crash. My ship was about to take off and I hadn’t fastened my seat belt.

I thought that perhaps some fresh air would help? So I headed for the exit blindly shuffling along the wall like a pack of cards. Of course I couldn’t find the exit. Where were those little green lights when you needed them? But persistence paid off and I stepped through a wall and saw a beam of light above.

It was my saviour and I walked towards it like a goldfish at feeding time. I was to be disappointed though as the promise of salvation was just a shopping mall. Maybe some people would call it salvation.

Perhaps it was something like a near death experience, because I knew this journey wasn’t over. Maybe death had more than one door and I had opened the wrong one. There was unfinished business back in the darkness. I couldn’t leave my fellow passenger in there, or out there, wherever he was. Besides I was busting for a pee.

I returned to find my fellow passenger not wearing his seat belt and removing his shirt on the dance floor and generally doing his best to appear like a wasted space cadet with no idea where he was or what he was doing. It was a nice impersonation of an epileptic in a candy shop.

It looked like a sure way to clear the dance floor. I thought about joining him. Perhaps together we could evacuate the premises, but there was enough
dancing in my head already. The call of nature, god bless her, removed me from this hideous scene.

It was some time around then that the demons started eating away at my thoughts and Mr Paranoia took a visit. Like an unwanted nagging mother-law,
he came to stay for longer than necessary.

I managed to get lost somewhere in the wilderness of my mind. What I can recall is mainly conversations with Mr Paranoia and a few scattered conversations with other lost souls in the darkness, tangled in nets of despair and loneliness, but smiling, always smiling.

We were all searching for something. Maybe we were all searching for the same thing – the exit. I looked for some solace from my fellow passenger,
now sitting back at the bar. His light was on but sunken gormless eyes suggested nobody was home. He was listening to a different tune.

Then a bizarre thought entered my head. Maybe death was like this, a dark dance floor where souls gathered, waiting to be found and reborn into a new
life. Or was it just a twisted, warped version of reality running through my veins?

And then in the shadows I saw Mr Paranoia. He was like an apparition at first, rising up from the shadows like the ashes of death. Then he started to look a lot like my fellow passenger, in fact it was. Gee I really was losing the plot.

My fellow aliens had all turned against me. In the darkness their eyes were searching for me. Had I breached some inter-galactic regulation? What planet had I just landed on? My pathetic smile seems to communicate something bad.

They say the unexamined life is not worth living. But I felt as if I had examined enough of the dark recesses of my mind on this occasion and
mundanity suddenly seemed fairly appealing. Exit stage right, or was it left? It was time to hit the eject button.

Unfortunately Mr Paranoia didn’t pack his bags for quite awhile, and when he did his mate depression knocked on my door. I thought I heard a few other
unwanted guests knocking on my door too, but I was too busy hiding in the cupboard.

So is there a lesson in all of this? The Buddhists are always telling us to let go. They didn’t say anything about a safety net though. In any case, I now understand the question. But I certainly don’t have any answers.

Like all journeys we leave something behind. I think I left a few brain cells behind. But I also gained something that can’t be bought or sold or
experienced in our mundane lives. It was an insight into the workings of my mind. I explored another corner of my mind in the search for who I am.

posted by setsunai 10:59 AM Comments
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Gaien Higashi Dori means Outer Gardens (of the Meiji Shrine) Ave. East. It is one of the beautiful big leafy avenues that winds through the center of Tokyo.

Raglan Road is a poem and song about love and loss by one of the finest Irish poets of the twentieth century, Patrick Kavanagh.