Things I learned today

It took me to 52 and a half years of age to learn that there are people who customise their Lamborghinis. I’m not talking about adding tinted windows or roof racks, or maybe even lowering the car.

I’m talking about people who take cars that start at USD$200,000 and stick crystals on them. Like this one, covered with 2 million Swarovski crystals.

Japanese Standing bar restaurants and cafes are just as lovely, if not more so, than Italian ones where all we eat is a sweet with our tiny coffee. But there is a Japanese standing restaurant that has penis motifs everywhere. Lovely, refined Tokyo dwellers go to this restaurant and stand, surrounded by crystal dicks, glass dicks, rubber dicks, pink dicks, black dicks, all.of.the.dicks, while eating noodles.

There is an old woman in Tokyo, she calls herself Sumirock, she’s like 100, and she learned to be a DJ just recently, and she DJs at events all over the city. Does she play smooth jazz, you know, Bouble? She does not. Sumirock plays hard house and techno. She claims that “using the CDJs is like frying on the stove at home”. She said that. I think I know someone in the audience.

This is something, says one of the talking heads on this very curious show I’ve jumped into on Netflix, that offers up some form of escapism to help stressed people rediscover their sense of adventure.

In episode two, there’s a woman who has a fried chicken cafe in South Korea, and she thanks every piece of chicken as she serves it. She says this without irony. She sees this as her purpose in life, to fry chicken, so she can meet lots of new people every day. She doesn’t want or need to go on holiday because paradise is in the laneway in Seoul where she has her chicken stand. There is nowhere else she would rather be.

These cities, this TV show – Midnight Asia: Eat. Dance. Dream. – is like being at the Colosseum, albeit in my home, alone, and without the blood. It’s the opium for the masses. I’m intoxicated.

I know you want to see it.

I also learned today that there is the need for a private street running club in Seoul. It’s real. I don’t know why this surprises me, but it truly does.

And there is a band, by the name Leenachi, who plays music that borrows from Pansori, “a traditional Korean music that’s a form of storytelling”. Some of what they do sounds like 70s New Wave. Like Korean folk pop Talking Heads with a side of Shonen Knife, if you’re into comparisons and labels. It goes way, way beyond K-Pop. Way, way beyond it.

This is Leenachi. Their videos get millions of views. Go on, be one of those millions.

What this series teaches me is that I’m amazed by people who choose a creative path or pursuit, knowing it’s unlikely to make us famous or rich, but do it anyway, even if it’s at great cost. Often, it won’t even bring us joy, but we do it anyway.

PS. I want to go to Seoul Korea. I want to discover “Newtro” – that’s “New Retro”.

There’s a whole world that has happened, is happening, even during the pandemic, that I didn’t know was happening, because I’m here, at home.

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