Day 5: The Demon Awakes (The Demon Awakes)

On account of being cut off from the virtual world in my homely, cockroaches` playground of an apartment, this will be the last day to post my self-styled nonsense. After trawling through the dark recesses of my mind, my Murakami collection and the leftovers in my fridge that are trying to start a new world order, I still have yet to reach any satisfactory conclusions about my identity here. Since I`m viewed/perceived externally in so many different ways here (everything from a carefree but lovable monkey, to a `bikkuri shita!` inspiring figure of fear to the guy that every drunk guy at an enkai wants to talk to – and molest slightly), the end result after 2 years is a slightly distorted way of how I see myself. Of course everyone is multiple, legion even, with various sides to our personalities for use or display in various situations since we have learned well from our respective societies how to be chameleon-like. So, by thinking about what threatens identity (gaijin or otherwise) and still unable to rid my thoughts of those happy, smiling turds in that kids book in kindergarten, I turn to the theories of Julia Kristeva. Well, what would anyone else do?

I`m guessing that this book serves some purpose, either to open up the anatomy of disgust and initiate learning about what is allegedly acceptable or unacceptable in society OR.. just to entertain (hell, who doesn`t get a kick out a giant yellow poo reminding the confused child in the illustration to flush every time? I do!). Yer one, Kristeva, talks about something called the abject. Sounds dramatic. The abject refers to the human reaction (horror, vomit) to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other. The primary example for what causes such a reaction is the corpse (which traumatically reminds us of our own materiality); however, other items can elicit the same reaction: the open wound, shit, sewage, even the skin that forms on the surface of warm milk. Yes warm milk and mortality don`t tend to allign together in the same thought process but it`s the sense of something disgusting, something out there, a something-that-is-not-me which is at the heart of what`s she`s getting at. Personally, watching my first live squid at an enkai look back at me as if to say; `You`re not like these other bastards.. help me.. kill me...` provoked thoughts of death, sliminess and wanting McDonalds for the first time in my life, but again seeing something like that often reflects inwards and leads us to the abject, which as Kristeva explains, “draws me toward the place where meaning collapses.” It is neither object nor subject; the abject is situated, rather, at a place before we enter into the symbolic order. A load of symbollicks? Perhaps not but this is getting rather psychoanalytic now. Go ask Freud and Jaques Lacan, they have a pay-per minute phone line.

Ok last bit. The abject has to do with “what disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules” and so effectively `allows` murder, anti-social acts and Hanson to make music. Or are they corpses too now? Basically, we need to demarcate what is different from ourselves in order to reaffirm who we are, I think. Society has always functioned by drawing boundaries – in them olden days it was to differentiate ourselves from animals & animalism, now it seems to work along much more overtly political, `us or them` lines. But it still comes down to what`s threatening or not. Hence an unstable world, full of unstable people. I don`t want to admit I`m one of them, but then that`s human vanity (and part of another chunk of my psyche) getting in the way again. Leaving Japan is going to be more than just leaving a county or even a period of my life behind, it`s going to be leaving behind a Tim (that`s Irish Tim, by the way..) that only exists in Japan and nowhere else. Until the mild schizophrenia wears off, maybe we`ll send each other postcards. Regardless, though, maybe we never really stop finding out who we are and so armed with a half bottle of sake, a Doraemon doll and one of those sticks with a bundle of clothes tied to the end, I set out into new worlds. Straight on for the days ahead, I wish everyone well in their choices, journeys and dress-sense. T