Some of the Japanese work

Enjo-Kosai children (Tokyo)

There are heavy sinful nights
     on Tokyo’s flashy streets
          what Gaijin call the true Bladerunner dark
               where wheezing suits of Yakuza
                    suck ramen noodles hotly
                         over gritty golden teeth

where a million black umbrellas
     hide a thousand white gloved cabs
          and seven story Telebis
               soothe masses with their love

where rain drives furtive couples
     into five star love hotels
          into stations black with rain,
               black with ashes from the side walk smokers puff

turning streets of grey to black again … Here teenage girls
     chase sex and style
          like miniskirted lemmings
               take their big thighs off
                    to rave in Shibuya, and off again,
                         getting older compensators off ……

what a wet and fish white lark
     but it pays on cold stoned nights
          for designer clothes, and toys
               and happiness on faces bright

and of course if it is happy here
     (happy for the outside press to see)
          there is no problem known aloud
               in Tokyo town near Tokyo Wan

the great ho-mo-ge-ne-ity
     has spawned de-nile everlasting
          sucking teeth cry out Yaa-Daaa,
               and oooohhh Banana Yoshimoto

strolls the crowd in rain and blackened pavement for the love of suicides.

Enjo-Kosai, 援助交際or 援交 means compensated dating. It refers to the practice of Japanese girls, usually 13 to 16, selling themselves for the price of designer accessories. Young girls at that age often have fat legs, made to look stylish and larger with loose socks, a teenage fashion accessory.
Gaijin [外人] means foreigner.
Yakuza [やくざ] are the Japanese Mafia and street criminals.
Yaa-Daa is just a noisy expression, like Huh, or Oh Wow.
Banana Yoshimoto is a Japanese writer. If you needed this footnote, you need to read her.
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About dragonpoet

But sometimes what you write is neither polished nor useful. Then it arrives here. With lots of sentence fragments and beginning ideas. If you wish, please comment on what you find. If you don't like the politics, don't comment. Here, we deal with the writing.
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3 Responses to Some of the Japanese work

  1. duverne says:

    notable blog! eastsaintjohnsbury.bvermont.com

  2. clartedubois says:

    Reading Banana and loving every bit of it,
    Hearing Kitano explaining a couple of things
    In the making off from Dolls…
    Having even the movie still in my memory,
    I bet I am in the right mood
    To fully appreciate Enjo-koshai children
    Even if mine are coming from the stars…
    Different world have to live
    My children would suffer from too much parents
    Banana’s are orphans..

    A favourite one for me!
    I like many of the Japanese culture’ sides…
    But not all, no.

  3. Hi,

    thanks for the link. I’ve followed it back at least a couple of times and read this through four or five. I find it very, very interesting. Firstly, if ok, i had a few questions: are you using a specific concrete structure of some kind-or did the slanting form just seem to suggest itself. If the latter. I ask because there are moments in it where the rhythym is just so clever, eg:

    suck ramen noodles hotly
    over gritty golden teeth

    where a million black umbrellas
    hide a thousand white gloved cabs

    In each of these couplets there are the same or virtually the same number of syllables and that coupled with the fantastic imagery is so seductive, reading and listening to my voice as i read aloud is like being lulled into a beautiful dream. I guess i wondered why you decided to depart from that 7/7 structure in the rest of the poem-and left me wondering what it would be like to do another version where that beat was carried through. Having said that, you may well be working to a specific structure already-and i just been too cloth earred to pick it up. I think it would really help me to hear you read it. I know some people who’ve started to do audio recordings on their blogs-maybe this would be a possiblity? It’s certainly something I think I’d like to start doing-if i can just master the tech side!

    Anyway, i know it was the ending you said you wanted opinions on, like you i’m not sure. It’s so hard to give crit on other people’s work-so please take whatever i say as just some hesitant fumblings in the dark. I guess I wondered about whether the final line might just be a little too long? and also disinbodied from the rest of the piece-perhaps because of it. One of the things i liked most about the poem was the way you so evocatively painted the different sides of Tokyo-and some of the images really intrigued me and pressed buttons-as i’ve outlined above in my quoting. If there’s someway you could strengthen the impact some of the strongest images have by elaborating them clearly-and maybe linking them together i think that would also help strengten the piece. For instance-moving from the cabs to the girls by having one get out of a cab-or get into one. The idea of round thighed 16 year old girls, using their bodies to raise money for clothes is such a shocking one it would then be good i think to try and bring it more into the poem: it’d be great if the elaboration you included in your note could be brought into the piece here. These are of course just my thoughts, would appreciate feedback on them too!

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