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If You Meet the Buddha, Give Him Some Tissues: Modern Koans

Public transportation you can set your watch to. Blazingly fast fiber optic Internet. A culture that fosters hard work and attention to detail. Toilet seats that warm your cheeks and wash your anus. Androgyny advanced to a level where you might believe that the populace has evolved past petty sexual differentiation. Neon everywhere. To many visitors, Tokyo seems like a city of the future. Looking out over the city from one of its many skyscrapers on a rainy night, one can’t help but think of Blade Runner made real.

Spend a few years living in this marvel of human engineering, however, and you’ll start noticing some disturbing inconsistencies. Transactions are still recorded in paper and ink and notarized with a stamp. Internet Explorer 6 and fax machines are standard issue for many businesses. Spill boiling hot oil on your hand on a Friday night during a drunken cooking accident? Sorry bud, hospitals are closed on the weekends. Where was that attention to detail when you came across your umpteenth “No Smorking” sign? It’s enough to make you wonder if that African fellow in sunglasses and a trench coat slipped a red pill into your gin and tonic last week at Ageha. Continue reading