Akihabara is where one goes to find the latest in high-tech gadgets. I was there in 2008, about exactly 48 hours before the multiple-fatality stabbing spree that darkened the doorstep of this lively consumer district.
If you’re wondering about the girls in the French maid costumes, they weren’t kinky prostitutes. They were giving out free tissue packets with advertising on them. Why wear such costumes? I have no idea– except that I imagine they sell a lot of what they’re selling to sarariman.
I took the picture above one Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2008 at Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan. For those of you who aren’t familiar, there’s a bridge between the Harajuku rail station and the Meiji shrine where crowds gather on Sunday afternoons to –for inexplicable reasons– dress up in costumes. It’s a festive environment with a mix of cos-players, travelers taking photos and reveling in the weirdness, and conservatively dressed visitors heading to the nearby shrine.
I digress. As I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, this moment popped into my head. I was thinking about how a good resolution involves going to a place that scares you. That’s how one grows. When I thought about the place that scared me, FREE HUGS leapt to mind.
What if random strangers start hugging you?
What if they don’t?
And I wouldn’t even have to worry about a third issue that the two comely lasses in the photo did (i.e. What if some creepy jerk lingers, reeking of impure thoughts and Old Spice aftershave?)
Does one have to give up one’s clean-cut, god-fearing, Midwestern, conservative club card in favor of a granola-munching, dreadlocked, ganja-smoking hacky-sack club card?
This will sound insane to many because everybody’s scary place is different. I should note that I was in Japan for martial arts training. Having my body subjected to all manner of beatings –I must say– was not nearly as intimidating.