“Blade Runner” is my favorite movie ever. I even wrote a very short sequel to it once. It is also a popular cult movie in Japan, where the urban landscapes of Osaka and Tokyo have long been compared to the rainy, neon-lit street scenes in Ridley Scott’s film. In fact, the Japanese have produced some of the best high-end and unlicensed “Blade Runner” memorabilia since the film was released in 1982. A shop I really like in Nakano Broadway called Mandarake displays some very nice “Blade Runner” collectibles, and they’re the subject of the following photos. Unfortunately, or fortunately for my personal cash resources, most of Mandarake’s “Blade Runner” display pieces are not for sale.
Deckard’s rather pricey LAPD service pistol.
Two-headed Deckard and a spinner. I love the accuracy of Deckard’s necktie.
Mr. Batty, a blaster, and some unfinished Batty and Deckard chibi figures.
Items you’d not be surprised to find in a blade runner’s coat pocket.
A spinner, as close to flying as it is likely to get.
(Pictures taken at Mandarake Special 5 in Nakano Broadway on September 11th, 2013. Have a better one.)
In April, 2012 I rode into Tokyo by myself for the first time in 24 years. My wife and I made the trip together in 2008; but riding the bus or the train into the sprawling “Blade Runner” landscape of Tokyo is different when you’re alone. When you’re with someone, there are things to see together and discuss between yourselves, often in wonder and awe and distraction. When you travel into and across Tokyo by yourself, it’s just you and the city. And the city is the alive ‘other’. It gives you no visual alternatives and no escape from its immense beauty, miniscule dirty details, and the jealous-lover-like attention it constantly demands of you.
Tokyo generates within me feelings of happiness, intimidation, anxiety, and belonging that I have never felt toward any other city on Earth. Not Paris, not London, not New York City, not even my adopted hometown of San Francisco have ever given and taken from me the affection and energy which Tokyo does.
So I’m going back for a month this September, to continue work I started a long time ago and resumed in 2012. It’s work that takes a close, hard look at some of the aforementioned miniscule dirty details, in the form of the rough, shadowy-underbelly areas of Tokyo and the destitute-yet-tough and generally unfortunate people who live in them.
To that end, this is my long-winded way of saying I created a Kickstarter project to help finance the continuation of my “literary-photojournalism” work in Tokyo. My funding goal is US $3,500, to be used on things like airfare, lodging, public transport, and food. Click on the graphic below and you’ll be taken directly to the Tokyo Panic Stories Kickstarter page, which will show you a video and explain all the details of the project.
I appreciate you taking the time to read through all of this material, and I hope you decide to help out.
Hello, and welcome to Tokyo. My name is Television…
…and I’ll be your host.
It would be my honor to entertain you today. Would you like to start with the news…?
You don’t even need to go outside, because I can show you the weather too…
Tired of the weather? How about a movie?
Or if you like I can show you cartoons to make you happy…
And sometimes, when you’re happy, I can even show you…
(Photos taken in 5-28-1 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo (about five minutes from the Life store) in April, 2012)
Footnote: Believe it or not, Japanese TV saved my sanity when I was very sick in Tokyo for nearly two weeks in April of this year. This is kind of an appreciation of that, and also an acknowledgement that you can start to feel like TV controls your life when you’re cooped up with it for too long. But I’m sure you got that. –DR
On the way from San Francisco, via Narita Airport, to the heart of my Blade Runner youth, I sucked on bad air and Japan’s strange culture by myself for the first time in a long time.
I had my wife with me the last time, four years ago. I miss her presence, but not the pretense of explaining to her things that, at best, I only half understand myself.
The first time I got to Tokyo, I was 23 years old and didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Now I am 48, and have the benefit of some silver hair, which gives the impression I might know what the fuck I am doing.
That impression is wrong.
It’s after 2 a.m. in the city that help create me.
I barely speak the language, which is why the cheap samurai adventure game show on the TV right now is more of a visual treasure than a meaningful experience. Nobuku Kara, whatever in the hell that means.
I want to know, but right now I am too tired to learn. Part of me thinks I am crazy and that I should not be here. Part me me, the part that is right, thinks I have always been here and that I have just not yet regained my proper memories of language, time, and Hello! convenience stores.
Area 01!! And the samurai game show adventure goes to commercial. Sap-poro Ichi-ban!! Ramen is genius.
I need some sleep. Here are some things I saw today, of which I may likely dream…
Ambulance, Nakano Station
On Wednesday, before the rains, the sun crept in through a window in a way I have never seen before.
And, basically, I just liked the light, and the message on the box which reminds me that I still do bad things to myself…
“The river of the world is wide, but its waters are boiling away” kept going through my mind as I sat next to her bed in the hospice, waiting for her to end. It was a quote from a movie I took her to see in San Francisco. The movie was about the Off-world colonies and the death of Earth.
We’d had a year together, making her five. Now cancer was eating her bones like candy. Unnaturally aggressive. The unlicensed oncologist said maybe it was a flaw in her genetic design. Who knows? Tyrell never said anything about human diseases. I loved her. She was almost gone. And once again, all I could do was just watch someone die.
At least a bullet in the back wouldn’t take her life.
I wrote this story specifically for Zouch Magazine’s Lit Bits Fiction Contest. The only contest rule, as far as I can tell, is submissions must be 140 words or less. I have been a fervent Blade Runner fan since the film was first released in 1982, but this particular sequel idea has only been floating around in my head for about two years. My original plan was to turn this story about Rachel’s fate into a lengthy short story or novella, and that may still happen. I’m quite pleased with this very short story, but what becomes of it depends strongly upon the reaction of my close friends in the Blade Runner fan community.
Anyway, in the short term I hope two things for this story: That you enjoy it; and that Zouch decides it is good enough to publish it and gives me some prizes for it. (By the way, if you like the graphic, click on it for a larger version, which you can use as desktop wallpaper for your computer.)
10/10/11 Update: I just got the contest results announcement in my email box. When I clicked on the link to the winner’s list, I was not on it. I am scandalized, disheartened, disgraced. I will never write another word again.
Not really. But my inner asshole child is throwing a bit of a tantrum, writhing on the floor in agony like Pris after Deckard’s bullet vacated her guts.
Not really. But I am disappointed.