Struggling up icy trails in sneakers, dog walkers in the snow.
For the past four or five years, Noda Sankichi had secluded himself at a Tokyo high-rise hotel for the evening of New Year’s Day, until the morning of the third. Although the hotel had an imposing name, Sankichi’s name for it was the Dream Hotel.
“Father has gone to the dream Hotel,” his son or his daughter would say to New Year’s visitors who came to the house. The visitors would take it as a joke meant to conceal Sankichi’s whereabouts.
“That’s a nice place. He must be having a good New Year’s there.” Some of them even said this.
However, not even Sankichi’s family knew that Sankichi actually did have dreams at the Dream Hotel.
The room was the same every year. It was called the Snow Room. Again, only Sankichi knew that he always called whatever room it was the Snow Room.
Images from the North Shore Mountains.
Text from Snow, by Yasunari Kawabata (1964).
At the bus stop, his guitar precariously stowed in a chipboard case held together by a bungee cord, he was watched by two shirtless boys on a stoop, drinking sodas. Their young, dark torsos emerged out of the enormous dungarees like shoots sprouting.
“Yo,” one of them called. “Let me see that.”
Black Elvis stayed where he was, but tightened his grip on the case. The boys stood and walked over to him. The sun hung low in the sky, turning the fronts of the row houses golden red.
“Are you a Muslim, Brother?” asked the smaller of the two. His hair was cornrowed, and one eye peered unnaturally to the side.
Black Elvis shook his head. He wondered how hot it still was.
Eighty, at least.
“He’s a preacher,” said the other one. “Look at him.” This boy, though larger, gave the impression of being less sure of himself. His sneakers were untied and looked expensive and new.
Images taken on Main Street, Vancouver.
Text from Black Elvis by Geoffrey Becker (1999).
‘He came to the corner now and turned left onto the street. He could see the parking meters that the city had put in and he frowned. For twenty years, he thought, people shopping on the street could park wherever they could find a place, and now the city told them they had to pay. It was not that he resented the money they had to put into the meters; he himself did not own a car. He had had one once, just after the war, but it was too expensive to keep up. He had told his brother, who seemed very glad to see him get one. “What do I need it? I should keep it to say I got a car? Where do I go, Ben? To the park? To the movies? If I should have it, I should need it to drive to business it would be a different story. But two blocks? What do I need it?”’
Some images taken around my neighbourhood, Mount Pleasant.
Text from Stanley Elkin’s A Sound of Distant Thunder, 1957