Between Brisbane and Japan, some whimsy and Dan (All contents © Dan Ryan, unless noted)

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In Golden Gai

I once tripped through these lands like a god,

like the pure embodiment of all the liquor

the Allies ever drank in Tokyo.

It is quiet here now,

and the Americans are gone,

but I know these streets.

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They are masters and servants to me.

In the daytime, the vampires are hiding,

(well, most of them)

even though I know where they lay.

At night they will be back here,

disguised as young salarymen,

and high school girls in vocational school,

and tourists from Russia and France.

I will know their minds and their innocent evils,

and I will keep watching until the sun and the train schedules

drive them from the streets back to their lairs.

(Picture taken in Golden Gai in Shinjuku, Tokyo in September, 2013)

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Heated talk and hot air

They spoke heatedly, passionately, and didn’t seem to care who heard them.  Overall she didn’t seem happy with him and he seemed frustrated by whatever she said. But it really didn’t matter, because it was a steamy-hot September day in Shinjuku, which made all of Tokyo cranky, so nobody passing nearby paid them any attention anyway…

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(Pictures taken in Golden Gai in Shinjuku, Tokyo in September, 2013)

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Shinjuku bivouac

It was a sweltering day in Shinjuku, the sort of day where the hot, heavy air doesn’t much want to move out of your way, and seems to resent it when you push it aside to pass by. Days like this in Tokyo can suck the energy out of you, and the man obviously needed a rest.

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The people passing by didn’t bother him just as he wasn’t bothering them, for the sidewalk was wide. There was an equilibrium in this, and a kindness which it is sometimes surprising that Tokyo is willing to provide…

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(Pictures taken near Shinjuku Central Park in September, 2013. Here’s a site for the park in Japanese)

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Smoke the Prince

In passing, quiet moments, when tobacco takes you its lover….

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…maybe you think about all the furrows in fields you’ve never sown, all the gorgeous richness you’ll never see…

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…and you puff on a tube of leaf, it is good Tokyo leaf and came at great cost…

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…but it jackhammers into you that it won’t fill your belly, and maybe that’s okay because it is hard to care anyway.

(Pictures taken in Golden Gai, Shinjuku, Tokyo in September, 2013)

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Salaryboy

The kid was young, like “Why aren’t you in school?” young. Twenty years ago I would have assumed he was, with his modest black suit and schoolboy backpack, just out of university and starting a salaryman career path with a good company. That isn’t a safe assumption in Japan anymore. Maybe that’s why the kid looks so uptight.

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(Picture taken in front of Trattoria Il Fornello, Nakano-ku, Tokyo in September, 2013)

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