Monday, August 09, 2010

Straight To Hell

Yes, I'm going to Hell. Literally: I'm trekking northward towards Osorezan, traditionally regarded as the Japanese gates of Hell. Here's how famed hiker Alan Booth assessed the place:
Osorezan is the most disquieting place I have ever visited. Of course the temple and the lanterns and the eyeless figures were shaped and placed here for a human purpose. We know their dates and the names of the priests who built them, and we know the uses to which they are put. Still, this easy knowledge is belied by their power to intimidate and to awe. Like the yellow stream and the Pond of Blood and the silent trees on the road over the mountain, they are awesome because there is an old god in them - a dusty, crouching, terrible god who does not often reveal himself in the world.
There are places infinitely more disquieting that Booth hadn't visited, say Liberia or the Aral Sea. But coming from a man who put one of the planet's most geographically diverse countries underfoot, such superlatives wouldn't come unearned. In fact, Booth's three-page description of Osorezan's ashen solitude was the primary inspiration for my trip. Whether you're gothy pseudo-nihilist or post-New Age Ouroborosian, any place styled as the underworld's welcome mat sounds damned intriguing. And the Pond of Blood? Talk about awesome! Sounds like a Cannibal Corpse song title. My morbidly-curious inner adolescent is already throwing devil horns in the air.

But it's a damned long train ride up to Aomori from Tokyo. I've already got my reading material sorted (cheers, Ben & Michael!) and have patched together a playlist that complements the rhythmic thrum of the rails, as well as the foggy sense of expectation when having a wander. Hopefully, this will make up for the conspicuous silence of the next two weeks. Enjoy, and click on the mix title to download.

Bulldozer Market

1. Circle - "Andexelt"
2. Serena Maneesh - "I Just Want To See Your Face"
3. Suicide - "Girl"
4. Wirtschaftswunder - "Patre Del Mondo"
5. Moebius & Beerbohm - "Subito"
6. Mayyors - "Ghost Punch"
7. Sonic Youth - "Tremens"
8. Mort Garson - "The Unexplained"
9. Fantastikoi Hxoi - "Na Exeis Ta Panta"
10. Boredoms - "San"
11. Laddio Bolocko - "As If By Remote"
12. Electric Sandwich - "China"
13. Scorpio Tube - "Yellow Listen"
14. Polvo - "City Birds"
15. My Bloody Valentine - "Bilinda Song"
16. The Oscillation - "Respond In Silence"
17. The Stranglers - "Meninblack"
18. The Fall - "Fantastic Life" (Live)
19. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Origin of Love"

Tangential Postscript: Desperate for more of my acerbic bon môts while I'm away? I've got a new article (about an old complaint) up on the Mute Magazine website, filed vaguely inappropriately in the "news & analysis" section.

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