Tokyo Noise (2002) - full transcript

Hearing is very important.

The city looked like the poster of the human
body in kindergarten's biology classroom.

It was an image of the body
in the shape of a city.

Groceries were raw materials
The lungs were power plants-

the digestive system was
agencies and shops-

the breathing pipes were power lines,
the veins were streets-

the inhabitants were cells, the mouth was a
harbor and the tongue a glaring red runway.

Kiku went up the
cream colored overpass.

Tokyo was foggy, the line of sight
filled with square concrete.

13 skyscrapers in front of your eyes,
not houses, more like towers.

The window glass covering all of
the facade reflected the sun.

The whole thing looked like a
tower turned into spotlight.

When people or animals are locked up
it creates tension and conflicts-

and they become very irritated.

It can be difficult to talk to people
of other cultures and countries-

but it is also liberating.

So the sickest or worst
thing about Tokyo-

is the feeling of confinement.

In big city life, Japanese people
grow ever more lonely-

and they lead an incredibly
autistic life.

The information they get when sitting in
their rooms in front of their screens-

is the basis of all their
thoughts and values.

If this continues, in the future
everything will be about information-

and the reality you've created
in your mind will come alive.

It's said that we Japanese don't show
our feelings, and that's really true.

When they invite their guests to a
tea ceremony in a half-dark room-

the atmosphere fills with wabi,
a sort of simple elegance.

Connected to wabi is the word
"mystique", a kind of fog-

and deep inside the fog you
try to perceive a steady light...

I guess that's Japanese culture.

For a long time, Japan has been
a populous society-

a society constantly being
forced into tension.

Therefore it's uncommon to lose
your grip or to experience thrills-

I hope you understand what I'm saying.

Without the noise and sirens
it's just not Tokyo.

What fascinates most is probably
the feeling of meaningless slander.

At a certain time you want to have
mountains, nice air and streams-

and move there to live
when you grow old. Wrong!

Only in Tokyo do you get the
feeling of being alive-

floating around, challenging yourself-

going slightly insane by the city's noise-

for me, that's truly living.

A really cool place, filled with impulses,
obstacles and loads of unhealthy stuff.

Those things exists in abundance in Tokyo,
you really feel you're alive there.

Move to a place with clean air
and death comes swiftly!

It was when I was learning buto
That I first came into contact with noise.

When I was doing buto, it was
by touching a metal plate-

that I realized I could accept
the sounds in a buto fashion.

By primarily using electronics-

rather than performing
in the physical sense...

Through electronics and metal...

...I discovered that the absolutely best
thing was a purely mental approach.

Am I incredibly fond of
the electronics I use?

Sure, it's a machine-

but often it feels sick or is angry,
although of course it's happy too.

It's a sterile environment,
without any trace of life...

There I can ponder about
the story in a novel-

and it's easier to meet people there.

I have my home in Yokohama, and
there I mind my private life.

Me and my wife both really dislike
having a lot of visitors there.

Here I do my work, this is the place
for interviews and meetings.

The main character Hiki Komori never
goes outside, not a single step.

He's planning a murder and is brainwashed
by a participant on the Internet.

For the computer nerd, there's naturally
a kind of computer thinking-

because the computer is an incredibly
psychological machine-

and you always have your own world there,
you're always the main character...

...there you can control everything where
you can find that kind of pleasure.

Often when we work together I create
a world of its own for the games.

Even in games, you can
control everything yourself-

I guess that's the strongest attraction.

I make a clear difference
between this side and that side.

There's no risk I would get them
mixed up inside.

With the help of the computer, shy
people can chat with other people.

In the world of Internet, you
also have anonymity.

You don't have to show yourself,
you can be a man or a woman.

It's tempting to be able to say
what you want protected by anonymity.

You're always the main character and
can say everything you want to say.

After a while you get used to
computer thinking-

you demand fast conclusions, that everything
can be seen clearly in black and white.

There are absolutely
young people like that.

Cyberspace belonged to the mysterious
other side until not so long ago.

Now it's commonplace, when games are everywhere
and the city is drenched in images.

It's not even exciting.

It feels like simple reality.
It already exists.

The murky white city is melting.
It seems to call for me.

The memory of the empty streets
on the abandoned mining island...

...lies on top of the morning hot Tokyo
on the other side of the window.

Tokyo calls for Kiku.

Kiku heard the voice.
"Destroy me! Put everything in ruins!"

Kiku looks down from the window.
Dots of humans, and cars in motion.

She felt like a pole vaulter
right before the run.

She saw a moments image of herself.

Of her burning down and
turning Tokyo into ruins-

shouting as she kills all humans
and destroy every building.

The city is covered in beautiful ashes.

Bloody children walks among insects,
birds and stray dogs.

The image liberated Kiku.

When I happened to write in a book about
how to take photos of Mount Fuji-

I became famous throughout the country,
and many people contacted me.

For a while there were about 90 of us.
And after two devisions-

we now only consists of a
group of like-minded friends.

We have three rules.
Don't brag about your own pictures.

Don't speak ill of others.
Learn from other people's pictures.

If you accept this, you can be
a member of the Fuji-Photographers-

and take nice pictures together.

Here in Studio Euforii Tokyo you can get
the most beautiful views of Mount Fuji.

It is a meeting place
for happy friends.

Let us take a look.

The picture with the Persimmon tree...
...that shows the season.

And then one in between... That one, yes.

There are probably not many people
that have seen these two pictures.

Shall we let this one
become the next star?

This one is also fantastic.
As an autumn picture it is formally...

If you have 40, 50, 60 years of experience
and cuts a landscape-

it can only result in a true picture.

With todays fully automatic cameras
it might result in similar pictures.

But that's not really the case
because your own feeling appears.

My own favorite! A picture of the moment
when night turns into morning.

Here you imagine the passing of time.

Thin clouds pass by, the city lights
faintly shows it's face.

An at that moment there is a golden shimmer
along the mountain crest.

Here my strive is to in one picture
like this one-

capture the course of times in what is past,
what is present and what will become

and that's why I hunt the Mount Fuji
that makes me euphoric.

Originally the Japanese lived
high up in the mountains.

They were a mountain people.
70% of Japan consists of mountains.

Only 30% of the land
can be used for agriculture.

Therefore, formerly you usually lived
among the mountains-

and lived mainly of nuts and berries.

Only once in a while
you came down from the mountains.

That is also why they
and their ancestors- the ancestors' invisible
ghosts turned into gods-

that lived amongst the people in the mountains.
That is why the mountains are worth all respect.

When the mountains spit fire it is because
the gods of the ancestors are angry of-

the people devastating the mountains.

To calm the gods
you pray to a kind goddess-

the water spirit Sakuyahime.
And you also pray to the mountains-

because it is in the mountains your ancestors,
that is, the gods, live.

I always thank Mount Fuji before i
begin the shooting of the day.

It is often that I don't even
take out the camera.

I don't know what is perfect.

I like to see that Mount Fuji is for instance
covered in snow, the light is fully flowing-

and that the sky is full of nice
clouds so that the light varies-

and also that the course of time is everywhere.
I always look for that picture of Mount Fuji.

In my style, the euphoric Mount Fuji,
I assume-

that the best scene for my dream picture
absolutely have to be somewhere.

I'm always studying when and where
that scene will appear-

but in a different way, not by
living at Mount Fuji but in Tokyo.

I see the disadvantage of not being able
to see Mt Fuji as an advantage.

I study the weather, the positioning
of the sun, wind speeds and so on-

and when everything is right with
my picture I approach it.

It then sometimes happens that the
conditions exceed my expectations.

It's never perfect, though...
I'm always hoping to take that picture tomorrow.

Sushi pizza!
Wonderful? Beautiful? Yummy!

In many different areas,
thanks to the skill of the Japanese-

a variety of products have
seen the light of day.

And if you know when it comes to sushi,
by applying these skills-

in areas where the work has so far been
performed with pure craftsmanship-

can do the work with machines instead-

the whole process will of course change-

and crying about that is silly.
It's something to be happy about, of course.

A distinctive trait of the Japanese is-

that the distance between
man and machine-

strictly mentally speaking is very small.

Here are two microphones and
two more inside for the transfer.

Two mobile cameras.

The head can be turned forward,
back and sideways.

We don't have any arms yet. Research
is now focused on the upper body.

If there's a distance
between man and machine-

then for many Japanese, the distance
to the machine is only half.

Robot researchers over the age of 40
grew up with Tetsuwan Atomu-

a very famous cartoon character.

So for that generation a robot is a
friend, a good companion.

In Japan, there aren't many cartoons
where robots are evil.

In the first cartoons, robots were
friends, good companions.

The Japanese feel a natural friendship
or affinity to machines.

Instead of using and perceiving
the machine-

as a simple tool
you see it as a buddy...

...or a smart friend. The tendency to
quickly assume such a position is strong.

At first we tried doing robots
with silicon faces and bodies-

that looked just like people.

What message did that send?
That robot is a copy of man-

and that we were trying
to do a human copy.

But for the robot to
be truly accepted-

it shouldn't copy us but be
a new tool, a new existence.

In our current project, about ten people
are talking simultaneously at a party-

Our new robot shall be able to tell
who's talking and from which direction-

and at the same time analyze
and understand what everyone's saying.

The hearing research is very important
while most people focus on sight research.

But for robots used practically
hearing ability is essential-

Suppose you decide to open your
country to outside ideas...

The foreign culture
will flood in with great force.

Naturally, you would have to introduce
something from the new culture.

Therefore, you are forced
to leave some of the old behind-

because if you don't get rid of it
there won't be room for what's new.

I have the feeling that it's gone
a little too quickly in today's society-

today, the identity of japan
is being neglected.

Bringing together the good sides of Japan-

and the European societies'
highly developed cultures-

could be difficult right now-

Maybe it's that very issue the
Japanese are the most irresolute about.

The introduction of modern technology
has been far too intense-

and it feels as if we somehow have
forgotten our natural Japanese morals.

We are going to look at a very interesting
Japanese phenomenon, LoveHotel.

The love hotels probably
exist only in Japan.

They are no ordinary hotels,
where you go to have sex.

There's not just a bed in the room
but a multitude of sex toys-

Regular architect magazines
never write a word about this-

but what it's about
is a fantastic street design-

which I'm now documenting
before it completely disappears.

There are a number of interesting
Love Hotels in Tokyo-

and now I'll show you Hotel In Arupaa,
a few minutes from Komagome Station.

We have now arrived at Hotel In Arupaa.
Come in and have a look, it's really fun.

This is, though most people
don't want to admit it-

a typical example of the love hotels
very Japanese and extraordinary design.

In the love hotels there's
a catalogue or a vending machine.

In those there are several sex toys
which you can order from the concierge.

It says shopping catalogue.

Waterproof dildo.

There are all kinds of sex toys...

A bed shaped like a circle which
also is designed like an air balloon

They are almost totally gone, but as
you can see you can lie any way you want.

These carousel beds
are very popular...

Here's a see-through window-

so when the girl is bathing, the guy
can drink beer while checking her out.

An interior filled with the feeling of service.

The bed spins and the lights flash.

A bed with balloon-chairs under.

And by the pillow there's
a gauge for the light and music-

a control panel with different buttons.

What a cool 70's design!

The roof is dressed with a mohair rug.

Here in the bed the couple can have fun.

The chairs offers some
unusual activities.

Of course you come to the
love hotel to have sex.

Compared to todays chic, simple style
the traditional love hotels-

are from another dimension-

with an energetic design
that inspires to have fun

For me, S&M was to tie somebody up in a
porn movie or making a torture movie.

When you are tied up in a movie like that-

something psychological enter you
and fills you with different feelings.

You can't move-

because you're tided up with ropes
and your joints are really hurting-

but by discovering what feelings you then have
you discover allot of things.

In Ankoku Buto there is an expresion
to cast in a mold-

that is, when you are forced
into a certain mold-

different kinds of feeling appear
that needs to be well taken care of.

It's the same with noise.

We have high volumes because we want
to try to distort the hearing sense.

I like Tobas Secret Museum.

It's closed and might be torn down.

But it has to stay because
it's such an amazing piece of art.

It's so creative!

Japanese are really prejudic in
relation to the word Secret Museum.

They think "Ah, porn!" and immediately
make fun of it.

They closed because
there were no visitors.

According to the prophecy of Nostradamus
the world is comming to an end in 1999.

Spaceship 14108
seizes and destroys the earth.

General Hitley is commander
of the space soldiers.

The few remaining humans are brutally
hunted down by the soldiers.

The space ship announces...

The invaders create a new human.
The brain is replaced.

Here the new species is born.

They are fed with space food; in three years
the infants grow to 17-year-olds.

Here the failed specimens are stored.

And the tragedy for the
future new human begins.

Don't be afraid.

Someone as pure and brave as you is
the only hope for the rotten Japan.

A true image of Woman.

A prostitute.

Another word for wife in Japanese
is mountain goddess.

And greatest of the mountain gods
is of course the goddess of Mount Fuji.

But at the same time she is a whore.

O, Mount Fuji, holiest of mountains!

In Japan there are always two sides...

If a woman in Japan says flat out,
"I want to do this"-

it provokes enormous resistance.

Instead of saying flatly what
you want to do-

you are forced to manipulate and
express yourself kindly and cutely-

because if you don't speak softly to a man
you rarely get what you want.

A few years ago it became trendy among high
school girls to prostitute themselves.

The girls asked themselves what
they had to sell on the market-

and so they sold it and bought
designer clothes for the money.

Trying to find something to sell to
buy designer clothing isn't new.

Now it wasn't companies, but young girls,
who conquered the market themselves.

All over the world it's trendy to
sell your organs or your privacy.

"Kill! Destroy!" the voice boomed-

over the city of concrete, the dots
of people and the coughing cars.

"Ruin! Kill! Destroy everything!"

"Will you be a hard doll who spews
red soup? Put the city to ruins!"

I breathe boring time
and am filled with disgust.

My boring time covers all of the
Earth and is heated by the sun.

Sachiko! To neutralize the disgust you
do like the pole-fishing old man-

and enjoy boring songs
without realizing it.

My disgust is burned away by the sun,
rising high and turning into clouds.

At any time the clouds
may drop heavy rain.

I leave Tokyo in the middle of the night,
it takes two and a half hours.

At the same time I imagine how it will
be tomorrow right then and right there-

and how I will stand as
high up as possible.

Most often it's only a punch in the air.

Over ninety percent of all attempts to find the
dream picture only turn out as punches in the air.

But by leaving time after time and
cleaning away everything unnecessary-

sometimes a world eventually emerges
that surpasses your dream picture.

I see that as a reward.

Each of these pictures that I've kept
I call Euphoric Fuji.

They show a Fuji that
nobody else has seen.

I put these pictures away
one by one-

and I intend to make it
99 Fuji pictures in my life.

Right now... 33 are done.

But I imagine-

that when I have more experience
and a higher chance-

and think I've successfully
taken the new, 34th picture-

I'll want to throw away
all the previous pictures.

And because of that there may
not be many more pictures.

But what about those 99 pictures
in an entire life?

Historic material perhaps...
I want to give the world my Fuji.

I wish that everyone hopes
Rocky Tanaka will do his best-

to succeed in taking his
34th and 35th picture.

How will I repay everyone who's
helped and supported me?

Hardly with things...

I'm often asked:
"Why 99 pictures and not 100?"

Because I want to save number 100.

I think it's very hard to see
Fuji as a piece of art.

Even though Japanese are easily
captured by this pure mountain-

there aren't many Fuji paintings.

The more famous artists are,
the less they want to paint Fuji.

Instead they paint incredibly
abstract mountains-

but concerning Fuji's beauty
there's also a different feeling.

Reflected in Fuji's beautiful form-

is faithfulness, sincerity,
zen and beauty.

That's what you try to find in Fuji.

You don't just admire the
shape of the mountain-

but you try to see these things
in the mountain.

Life, given to us by our parents,
is important. Think once more-

in peace and quiet about your parents, your siblings
and your children. Don't sit by yourself and worry

but consult with someone.
Fuji police anti-suicide unit
There, the forest is at its thickest

and the compass doesn't work,
so you lose sense of direction.

There is no water or valleys.

And right there...

...deep in the dark, the trees
aren't clearly visible-

it's a completely supernatural world.

The further in you go, the more you feel
as if the forest will swallow you.

All trees resemble living beings
that turn and face you.

It's like something's staring at you
from the dusk-

and in a way you become enchanted.
Once there, it feels that way.

It's different with a whole group
that walks around while talking.

When alone, you get a feeling of...
"Here I want to stay forever".

It's like you get swept into something,
wrapped in something big.

And there, you're no longer
as conscious about death.

But of course there's people who
willingly go there to die.

Once there, they can't come out again,
and nobody comes looking for them.

It's said an animal doesn't want
its dead body discovered-

and instinctively does
all it can to hide.

Perhaps there's something similar
with people.

You become one with nature there, because you
want to go to rest at the base of Fuji.

If you're already going to die, that's where
you can perceive Fuji's enigmatic beauty.

That's probably what most people
are mainly captivated by.

They say I'm very enthusiastic
but I'm actually calm and cool-

but since my wife died, I look at
heaven in a different way.

It changes in different ways, so I take
a lot of pictures of just the sky.

It's like she's reflected in heaven,
like she's there on the other side.

And I experience a kind of moment

when I look at the sky through
the screen, in the picture.

But it doesn't work when I look
at the sky without the camera.

When I have the camera, it feels
like I'm stepping into the screen.

And there inside she is! That feeling
comes and goes very strongly-

and that's why I'm so committed
to taking picture of the sky.


something very important is
that also people in Tokyo-

or also Japanese-

that when people in Europe
or America speak about Japanese-

they have a certain view of them.

Usually people with a bag and a camera
and a hat and glasses-

and in extreme cases with protruding
teeth, walking in packs.

I think that even today there's that
view of Japanese as walking in packs.

Style is yooshi'ki' in Japanese.
Style takes a lot of something.

What's really hard to discover
isn't style, but exceptions.

Good! Come on!

My style is not to create a style.

The people and things I
meet and experience...

...doing something together with them,
spending time with them, that's the feeling.

I don't create a certain frame
inside of which I put this style.

So the style is in the counterpart,
the motive, and I follow it.

I bring out myself...

...together with the motive.

My personality isn't multiple,
but I have many different sides.

I'm everything from elegant to vulgar-

yes, there are many things,
good and bad.

There's simply good things and bad things.
I want to bring out what's good-

and also what's bad, even though
people hide their bad sides.

I have to take pictures in many different ways
and use many different cameras.

I use small ones, this one... Today only one
but most of the time five or six ones.

I use them all mixed up and get
many forms of expression.

It's both refined pictures
and common amateur photos.

The black and white pictures I paint.

I have to have this mix in order
for all of me to come out.

I don't like to show just one part,
I don't hide anything.

I have an unusual habit,
I like to expose flaws.

When I'm done the picture is
definitely fun.

I don't look at the picture,
I don't look at the screen.

I put myself in another viewfinder,
and peer through it

and I'm there participating
and experiencing the photo.

I don't care much for truth,
reality and fiction.

I take pictures based on feeling.

When I feel "time to enter",
I jump right into the picture.

I get that feeling that I have to
take part in scenes

that lack the kind of ecstasy it
takes to make a picture.

Then I appear in the picture, completely
lost in ecstasy... I'm just having fun.

I shoot!

Still, I guess it's only as Japanese
people can live in this country.

I'm convinced that's
the only alternative.

What we ourselves have considered
issues for Japanese-

that's things like the
food tasting good-

that the taiko drum sounds nice
and that the shinto temples are beautiful.

You have transformed
your own views-

into Western views
and put your origin behind-

which I think is the biggest problem
for Japanese culture so far.

So now young people themselves
have to reconquer-

the common and human that's
been part of our views.


The best thing about Tokyo is noise.

Never outshining nature,
and never knowing-

whether there's any people there when
you silently disappear into nature.

That's been the true lifestyle of
the Japanese for a very long time.

Humans are by no means
sole masters of Earth.

Humans are just like grass and
insects a part of nature.

According to this view, humans should
not bring themselves out too much.

They should be like something concealed,
hiding behind what is directly visible.

For example what's behind the
soul of a straw of grass-

what's behind the environment
in which an insect is born.

In other words, Japanese are really trying
to perceive the invisible world of souls.

And that's what's expressed
in Japanese art.

In don't think there's a
perfect beauty.

Just like we're all different, beauty
is personal for each of us.

But if Japanese should consider
perfect beauty to exist-

the most common one is probably
not something with clear edges-

but something misty, something that
hints at whatever's inside-

that's probably perfect beauty.

My idea is to bring out the entire
scene from where I'm standing.

A wide angle lens is best for that.

As a professional, I want my pictures
to be condensed into every corner-

and I'd like the passing of time
to be reflected in the picture.

That's how it feels when I shoot... although
it doesn't really feel like I'm shooting.

They tell you to flush out all
sentimental private emotions-

and do something blurry and diffuse
for it to be "art"-

but that's not the kind of artist
I want to become.

When they say an artist
can't be sentimental-

then I just ignore them.

Because when you want to go so far as
to can the most important feelings-

like sadness and sentimentality-

well, then it's not the kind of
"art" I want to be doing.

Beauty to me - in music, film,
literature and art alike-

is something that makes me react.

And when you look at or listen to it
time loses its meaning completely-

and you reach ecstasy
as if you were drugged.

At first you don't know if it's beauty
because there are grotesque things as well.

But it feels good and you
want to look some more.

It's such an incredibly strong
and perfect thing.

At first it doesn't feel right at all.

But as you get used to it, it feels better and
better; you want to be overwhelmed.

Rocky Tanaka. Here I am.

My favorite picture-

is the next one...
The one I'll take tomorrow.