Akihabara books / database animals

by ~nomdyl-barhex, published on


Plans made while eating Cookie Crisp on the balcony, looking out on the elevated highway. Contemplating my buckets of yuzu, approaching their second winter. Listening to the white noise of traffic. The chimes of garbage trucks. To go to Jinbocho. Or to take her there. A✲✲✲✲. Looking through second-hand bookstores. Late lunch at a place where they serve curry with wooden cutlery. Packed in beside art students. Looking up a matinée on a whim. Or more likely, planning to see a matinée and proposing it as if a whim.

It is a romantic notion. But I know it's unnecessary. I took her to ✲✲✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲✲ instead. On the edge of Akihabara. Because A✲✲✲✲ had shared with me her plans to conduct an experiment in reading novels. The experiment was about empathy. Although I didn't understand, I wanted to hold her to it.

She wandered for a while. I stayed by her side. She picked up Takase Junko's May You Have Delicious Meals. She trusts the belt across the cover, announcing that it has won the Akutagawa Prize. I drifted away. Three young French women brushed by. In arrow formation. Narrating their trip through the bookstore. The one in the lead had a tiny square camera held up to her chest. Someday I will be captured in her vlog, unshaven, in a second-hand overcoat, looking up from an Agatha Christie collection to make eye contact with the lens of her camera. I am not the subject. I am superfluous to her trip. To the story she is telling, whatever that may be.

When the French girls were safely away, I took the escalator up. Apart from the manga and the small selection of fiction, ✲✲✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲✲ is taken up mostly with technical material on topics that capture database animals. Trains. Military equipment. Computer games. Like A✲✲✲✲, most customers do not read novels. You can buy surplus subway equipment on one floor. There are timetables from foreign railways. Bath towels with JR Hokkaido lines.

The top floor is devoted to gravure. This is something that has made ✲✲✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲ ✲✲✲✲✲. Gravure. Launches. Autograph sessions. Softcore pornography. While pornographers in the West have given up on beauty in favor of visceral digital vérité, the Japanese maintain luscious coffee table books of half-undressed women photographed and edited according to conventions that make their subjects look the dewy surfaces of cheesecakes in coffee shop displays. There is a floor for real women. I have never seen it busy. Everything pink. The covers of their manga feature heroines being aggressively manhandled by men with flowing hair. This is the mirror image of the manga pornography on the men's floor. Submissive girls and women coerced into sex. The other fantasy is mothers, it seems. There is no way to make these two sides meet. Their fantasies may align. But there is still too much distance.

Went back down. Wandered out into Akihabara and east toward the other river.