10.16.01 reading rainbow

a gaggle of japanese journalists turned up at my house maybe twelve years ago to interview emperor ed. they were with a lifestyle magazine that wanted a piece on an american who drove a hot japanese car (a nissan 300ZX, so this is debatable: the electronic woman who lived in the dashboard malfunctioned and announced that the door was open often enough to make me cry several times). they snapped pictures at the office (dad and a fleet of lawyers), at home (me on a scooter, mom on an exercycle), on the road (not him, not his car). they gave me a plastic car that turned into a disturbing pile of school supplies. i remember looking at the toilet in our downstairs bathroom: wow, guys from japan used this.

the article we received was dubious, as it went journalists > translator > dad > translator > journalists > editors > another translator > us. dad became The U.S. Salaryman with a majestic moustache, an hypnotic voice and a devastating effect on women. i looked chumpy in the pictures, princess di was on the cover of the magazine, this is what i remember.

this, more than the wind-up bird chronicle or the elephant vanishes or what have you, is what i liken to murakami's underground. murakami admittedly had a weird thing to do when he collected the survivors' interviews, but the whole thing goes praise/typification of interviewee, random personal details, repeat. i'm only halfway in, but i kind of get a foreigners + toilet / terrorism is weird vibe that will be hard to shake. imagine douglas coupland interviewing new yorkers about september 11, then pretend that you're icelandic. that's close.

that said, it's interesting to see murakami the interviewer slide into murakami The Artist. he visits a girl from the marinouchi line whose exposure to the gas left her in a semi-vegetative state:
As I talked to Shizuko I tried to look into her eyes now and then. Just what did she see? What lit up those eyes? If she ever gets well enough to speak unhindered, that's something I'd want to ask: "That day I came to visit, what did you see?"
ah, the humanity as The Artist gropes for a role in The Event. is he on business, or is he hoping for a picture of himself next to something big?

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