Some time last year in the month of July, I gave the TMG website a facelift and in the process, I lost an archive of content. For a minute I’ve been procrastinating on reposting old features. “The Hostile Apostle, featuring artist, Peter Adamyan,” “One-Legged Pedestal,” “Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus,” “Fun Facts: The Federal Government Shut-Down of October 2013,” and the “Madame Tutli-Putli” film review were dug out of an old hard drive. I’ll be posting more of TMG’s past, along with journal pages, poems, short stories, and selections from I Think Therefore I Am, and other material.
Right now I’m working on a few pieces for Tokyo Weekender. I got a short story that’s almost done. Another is finished and looking for a home. I need to make a video for Year 5 since my daughter, Kantra’s birthday just passed. I can’t believe she’s half a decade old. Watch Year 1-4 here.
Kantra and I made a movie about making friends, here. Every time I look at her, I’m in disbelief. Seriously, I can’t believe we made you. Daddy is so proud of you.
I forgot that I wrote A First Time Father. I reposted it last year since it was one of the casualties of TMG getting a new website, but its still a surprise to rediscover it. The happiest times are when I look at my wife, Haruki, and remember the forgotten fights and arguments. Then we piled a child on top of all that and the walls that separated us from the language of nature collapsed like a curtain.
Kantra’s growth within my wife was like watching a locomotive from miles away, pumping smoke signals, feverishly snaking around mountains and through valleys, speeding towards us. Haruki and I stood on the train tracks waiting for something to envelope us. Kantra was going to be as present as she was before birth, speaking to things in ways that were closed to my adult mind. Self-doubt and the lengthening tail of my history had disconnected wonder from the humility of my ego. Kantra’s constantly trying to reattach my severed channels to that which is as omnipresent as I am a cognitive being. Despite my lost of innocence I still search for an opening.
I grew up in a house where Pops berated and beat my mother. I didn’t really think of moms spanking me as abuse and although I still don’t, I’m trying to raise my child differently. Going against what’s been embedded in me has heightened my self-awareness to a level that feels out-of-body. Its especially strange when I realize that my daughter is exactly like I was as a child. She don’t give a fuck about me saying no.
She’s all over the place, strong willed, curious, funny, and she’s clever about doing things that she knows are bad. She wants to see daddy breakdown, make the robot malfunction. How’s he gonna take this?
My parents had my older brothers to safe guard them away from my attention seeking tactics. My brothers would just beat me up. It was a different time. Plus I have a daughter, but for black families, ass whippings is common. Its a disciplinary hack that our ancestors picked up from slavery.
I got the belt, shoe, paddle, comb, and switch (several of my Caribbean friends got the whip). But I don’t beat my child. At first I did try spanking, but the guilt and worry of messing up my child far outweighed an immediate solution that would exasperate a temporary problem. To not raise my voice and stay calm was foreign to my upbringing. Everyday, I hug my daughter and tell her that I love her. If she does something bad I combat it with taking away a privilege. Staying consistent with that, can be difficult.
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing white people shit, like I’m suppose to be talking in a soft voice, enticing her with snacks and toys. My parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles just didn’t put up with the things that I try to handle alternatively. Corporal punishment isn’t an option. Still, even getting upset with her can have me asking my wife, Haruki if I’m insane?
Haruki usually talks me out of the torture chamber that’s located in the dungeon of my mansion. Like a real estate agent trying to sell a house, she shows me around my own home of which I forget is mine. “Yo, this shit is ridiculous, who lives here?” I ask her. She tries to gage my memory, showing me the many light filled rooms that keep my eyes from opening. The practice of living in the dark becomes unconscious. I pry my eyelids wide, fighting against their wanting to close. They adjust. “Oh,” I say to her. “What was I tripping about?” “Its ok,” she says followed by her laughing and wrapping her arms around me. I love you, baby.
This weekend I took the training wheels off of Kantra’s bike. She can ride, but as soon as the law of inertia hits, she gets excited, forgetting to steer and peddle. Japanese people in the park stop to look at this excited black guy running along side a child yelling, “Peddle! Peddle!” I wish my eyes were cameras.
I also interviewed one of my favorite Tokyo-based photographers, Deandre Scott. You’ll hear about that in the coming months. He’s a super talented brother. Thank you for spending the day with me. I enjoyed it.
Not too long ago I also interviewed rapper and producer, Crazy-T. He’s from Kansas City, Missouri, but he’s lived in Yamanashi, Japan for years. As a white American rapper in Japan, he’s made a name for himself. I appreciate him talking to me. The interview wasn’t for anything particular. Since he is a notable voice here, I just wanted his perspective on hip-hop in Japan. I regret that I didn’t ask him about Japanese rappers using the word “nigger.” Yes, apparently that’s a thing here.
Crazy-T’s latest album The Felt Presence of Direct Experience is out now.
They sound like vampires. Jake Adelstein’s Japan Needs ‘Foreigner Blood’ Like Naomi Osaka’s is an in-depth look at racism and xenophobia in the land of the rising sun. If a person is either multi-racial or other, no matter how long he or she lives here or even if the person speaks “perfect Japanese,” that individual is forever trapped in a anorexic space between insider or outsider. Fortunately for Osaka, she don’t even live here, but Ariana Miyamoto does.
Writer Baye McNeil was recently featured on TBS giving a presentation about blackface in Japan. In his latest “Black Eye” column for Japan Times, he digs into a Japanese theater company using blackface for their Othello production. To black up or not to black up for ‘Othello,’ that is the question.
Botham Jean was chilling in his crib when a cop murdered him. The officer was so tired that she thought it was her apartment and that Jean was an intruder. So she shot and killed him. They found pot in Jean’s house and issued a warrant for his arrest after the cop murdered him. This case is like getting stuck in a glitch in The Matrix. Did you see that press conference? Fucking maddening.
R.I.P. rapper and producer Mac Miller. It doesn’t matter if people think that he was a predicted goat (greatest of all time) or a foul running wannabe rapper. The kid died. He was of the culture and it wasn’t his time to go. If you’re in Japan and have mental health issues or a problem with addiction, please call TELL, 03-5774-0992. There’s no shame.
I started reading Martin Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought. Here’s a passage that reminded me of Japan.
Concealment as refusal is not simply and only the limit of knowledge in any given circumstance, but the beginning of the clearing of what is lighted. But concealment, though of another sort, to be sure, at the same time also occurs within what is lighted. One places itself in front of another being, the one helps to hide the other, the former obscures the latter, a few obstruct many, one denies all. Here concealment is not simple refusal. Rather, a being appears, but it presents itself as other than it is.
See you at Speakeasy on October 7. The great legendary Mr. Magic Marley Marl is guest DJing. Again, Marley Marl in Tokyo, spinning at Brooklyn Terry’s Speakeasy on October 7. I’ll be there in all my uncomfortable glory.