All posts by Jonah

About Jonah

personal|professional musings ...of potential (obscure) scientific interest: sporadic first-person account of dreams either entering low-earth orbit or heading Mach7.3 into bridge pylon... i will do my bestbest to keep it interesting ;o> cheers!

hey look!’s me!..ha ha!…well, it’s least.

My pointless and self-serving observations have a new home! I am superrrr-excited to be a part of Metroblogging Tokyo :BOUNCE!: BOUNCE!: :BOUNCE!:

There are lots of interesting and/or impressive people involved in this little project, so I hope you will check it out. Also, let’s be 110% honest, it’s hard enough for me to post updates to one blog with any kind of regularity…so I will “Do My Best™” but the majority of my thought-cycles concerning Nihon will probably be directed to that site. Also, if anyone has anything interesting (and preferably tokyo-related but that is not an absolute criteria) they want me to post, please feel free to contact me: my handle is denshi and my post-@, pre-dotcom signifier is the mail of the ‘g’…:)

Metroblogging Tokyo


If you want a gmail invite email me (they keep refilling my pot, so most people “must” have them by now :)).

If for some bizarre, inscrutable reason you read this junk and don’t actually know how to get in touch with me, comment the post, it goes to my inbox, and I’ll hook you up just the same…

Here’s the annoyingly complicated Japanese word for “mail”. I hate it when a four-letter English word becomes a 47-stroke compound Kanji :P…

futsuyubin = mail (post)


Manhattan has been compelled to expand skyward because of the absence of any other direction in which to grow. This, more than any other thing, is responsible for its physical majesty. It is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village-the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying that the way is up. The summer traveler swings in … and as [his car] glides above the pigeon lofts and back yards of Queens looks southwest to where the morning light first strikes the steel peaks of midtown, and he sees its upward thrust unmistakable: the great wall sand towers rising, the smoke rising, the heat not yet rising, the hopes and ferments of so many awakening millions rising-this vigorous spear that presses heaven hard.

The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger that a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimidation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.

All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer who might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.

It used to be that the Statue of Liberty was the signpost that proclaimed New York and translated it for all the world. Today Liberty shares the role with Death. Along the East River, from the razed slaughterhouses of Turtle Bay, as though in a race with the spectral flight of planes, men are carving out the permanent headquarters of the United Nations-the greatest housing project of them all. In its stride, New York takes on one more interior city, to shelter, this time, all governments, and to clear the slum called war. New York is not a capital city-it is not a national capital or a stage capital. But it is by way of becoming the capital of the world. … Once again the city will absorb, almost without showing any sign of it, a congress of visitors. It has already shown itself capable of stashing away the United Nations-a great many of the delegates have been around town during the past couple of years, and the citizenry has hardly caught a glimpse of their coattails and their black Homburgs.

This race-this race between the destroying planes and the struggling Parliament of Man-it sticks in all our heads. The city at last perfectly illustrates both the universal dilemma and the general solution, this riddle in steel and stone is at once the perfect target and the perfect demonstration of nonviolence, of racial brotherhood, this lofty target scraping the skies and meeting the destroying planes halfway, home of all people and all nations, capital of everything, housing the deliberations by which the planes are to be stayed and their errand forestalled.

A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay there is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long-suffering and much-climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun. Whenever I look at it nowadays, and feel the cold shadow of the planes, I thing: “This must be saved, this particular thing, this very tree.” If it were to go, all would go-the city, this mischievous and marvelous monument which not to look upon would be like death.

E. B. White, “Here is New York” (1949)


I think it’s time to pause this frantic search

Woman standing outside a cafe in Ginza.

To put the who, why, and what for first

The train station in Shinjuku.

I grab an answer I’m in such a rush

Tokyo schoolgirls.

And for a while the thrill’s enough

Hot Rod

But fantasy, the speeding blur, a world of ice

Bridge to the Kinikuniya bookstore in Shinjuku.

Sublimes in the friction of intimate life

Kid with bubbles.

The coffee, the chipped cups, two-by-two up the stairs


Yet I’m completely seduced by the moments they share

The sky in Shinjuku.

Any moment, any subject, as long as they’re paired

Japanese couple.

From a parkbench, on a weeknight, as I idly stare


Thru a hazy white window at a couple’s serene

Colorful playground in Roppongi.

System for keeping their clothing clean

Girls in a Naeba stream.

In a one-room apartment that conveniently holds

Spiral hair.

Their dreams their socks their bodies their souls

The sky in Naeba.

An instant so common, they will never remark

Love baby, love.

On the tiniest act that stunned me in the park

Two women walking.

A woman hanging wet laundry, a man standing behind


As sine-waves of insects and nightstars mark time…

Phosphorous burning.


gaps gaps gaps….gomennasai. I have photos from Fuji Rock that I wanted to post…arrrgh where does the time go? Tonight bore witness to my debut on Japanese television. My total screen time was maybe 1.5 seconds spread over three or four shots. In most of them I am in profile…damn, I am one pale gaijin…even after almost three months of serious roasting in the Nihon summer sun I still look like a ghost on TV…sigh. Apparently a record of the exciting event was made, so I will be able to share with you what passes for comedy over here (don’t worry, it’s in English).

Not much to report at the moment other than that, studying Japanese is fun, teaching English is not. I am happy…..ish. So little to do and so much time to do it in. :bounce!: