Not So Deep Thoughts from Nihon

It's hard to write about Japan because there is such a battery of stimulus. For instance urban planning, or lack thereof, the 3D chaos of paper shacks abutting luxury glass skyscrapers, everything wallpapered with insistent signage and threaded with a spider's web of utility cables. Or bathrooms and their etiquette- each toilet has it's own set of corresponding slippers so your feet are properly shod while sitting at toilet seats with controls like airplane cockpits. Or the transit infrastructure. High-rise shopping-mall train stations with a hundred entrances, Shinkansen bullet trains coming and going every few minutes on different floors and in different directions. The scarcity of right angles and parallel lines is common to all of asia, what's odd about Japan is that since the 1950's they've had the resources and social cohesion necessary to build on such a massive scale. Perhaps the only thing Spain and Japan have in common is a negative birthrate. Capitalism is just a giant ponzi scheme, it always needs new humans entering at the bottom of the pyramid.� Spain's avoids collapse with immigration. Japan has yet to play it's hand. If they stick with their policy of racial homogeny (& don't start breeding more) it could be amazing place to visit in 20 years. Imagine Tokyo with 70% occupancy, the less desirable residential towers left empty, taken over by birds and feral cats. About abandoned cities.... I was finally on my way to Gunkanjima (Hashima Island), but after years of failed attempts I've failed again. Gunkanjima is a tiny urban island, an ex-coal mine company-town. In fact it was the most densely populated spot on earth, now just a miniature ghost city. By good fate they just opened the first public tours last week, so I immediately booked train tickets to nearby Nagasaki, only to discover that the tour boats are full, no chance. Japan must have many descendants of Gunkanjima families, or the simply curious, who have waited 60 years to visit.� Anyways, a visit would be anti-climactic, what I really want is a residency or a performance there. While I'm fantasizing- I'd like to park a container-ship floating autonomous republic there for a season.