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Health & Spirituality

 

The beautiful serene blue Toyota Amlux Showroom at Ikebukuro, near Sunshine Tower
Toyota Amlux Showroom -- Ikebukuro Shinagawa Port City
Shinagawa Port City
Night View from Roppongi Hills Tower
Night View from Roppongi Hills Tower Typical Japanese suburban architecture
Apartment block, Kameido Ueno, DownTown Tokyo
Ueno, DownTown Tokyo
Shinjuku street near Kabukicho
Shinjuku street aesthetics Disney Castle, Maihama
Disney Castle, Maihama Tokyo Tower, as seen from Roppongi Hills Tower
Tokyo Tower Viral Tubes, near Landmark Tower, Yokohama
Viral Tubes, Yokohama Yokohama View With Baseball Stadium
Yokohama View

Fiction

The 70s Never Died, It Just Smells That Way
The 70s Never Died, It Just Smells That Way



Photo copyright Rob Sullivan 2012

w h e n - p a n i c - a t t a c k s

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2007 ---- Communion on the train.


I WOKE up at Menace's house on the floor at 7.30am, getting kicked by his kid P-chan, who was stomping around the flat noisily and acting, in general, just as aggressive and annoying as his Dad. On the table besides and above me, a few cans of beer and Chu-Hi stood abandoned, testament to the minor session which had gone on the night before. Menace and me had gone down to an odorimatsuri -- dance festival -- down the road from his place, blown a couple of cans in the undergrowth, and then went on to have what I considered this strange encounter with 2 babes, as the band played enka behind us. I had gone off to the toilet absolutely ripped for the first time in a week, and everything had turned really Asiatic and exotic, as if it was my first day in Japan again. I was realising how eastern and Asian this place still is, even though you get misled by its western veneer (all the convenience stores and The OC on TV). I was realising how different people act here too, and in particular, how open the women are. I don't mean that in a slutty Japanese girls are easy! kind of way, even though it is obviously true -- what struck me walking around stoned tonight, is how the women here have an innonence which is really endearing. They don't put up their defenses the way western women do (not that I am taking a swipe at western women because I love them too!) I will give you an example: when I returned from the toilet, Menace had cornered (captivated?) two young women with a camera, and was at work capturing their souls. It was the classic "May I take your photo?" ruse -- evidently Menace had approached them taking photos of each other with their digital camera, in their festival finery, and like a gentleman he had offered to take some photos of them together. Smooth move... he was prancing around like an artiste, zooming in for romantic close-ups, getting them to pose, making sure the light levels were just right. The man was a perfectionist -- he was putting on a performance for them, and getting them to perform for him. What struck me, as I saw them together across the festival, as the band played enka for everyone, was the bond that was developing -- an intimacy which was also an artwork. Menace was brandishing the camera like a martial arts weapon -- except his was a Venusian arts weapon (a weapon of mass seduction). That's to be expected to him, he is always trying something -- what caught me was the openness of the chicks. They weren't putting up a fight, but were submitting themselves to the photographic lens. Admittedly it was their camera, but Menace had infiltrated it, he had infiltrated them. Which allowed me an entrance to start talking to them. When I talked to them, I got the sense they were enjoying the whole routine, and they wanted more of it! But all of a sudden, just when I thought this could be a repeat of the passionate pool pick-up of Yomiuri Land, Menace gave back the camera to them and walked away. "What could I do? -- I have got my kid here," he said afterwards, although he had his kid with him at Yomiuri Land as well, and that hadn't deterred him from hitting on multiple womens. About 15 metres away from them, I looked back and saw them both still standing in the same place, as if rooted to the ground, scrolling through all the photos Menace had taken of them, and laughing. In a frolicsome kind of voice. Again, I was struck by the same kind of passive openness, a lowering of the guard and the sense there was something between us -- mindsex is too strong a word for it, but it was more than just flirtation. With the music and the festival now in its final throes, it felt like an episode of summer love. Except we would never see each other again -- it was a disposable affair.

This is going to be the year of the disposable affair I think. I have been experimenting a lot, and experiencing a lot lately, and learning a lot. And there is still a long long way to go!

SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2007 ---- Climbing the Tower of Babel.


I WOKE up early this stormy morning, eagerly awaiting my reconnection to the online world. The man from Mediatti (Edogawa Cable Television -- phone 0120-281641) did indeed come at 11am, as it rained outside; my contract was finally signed, 2.5 months after our first attempt. However, contrary to my expectations, the guy who installs the hardware side of the equation couldn't come today on account of the typhoon. He/she won't be able to come until Tuesday. Which means two more days of trying to avoid myself, in a world of reduced interactivity.

My computer has been in detox for like 10 or 11 weeks; my mind has been in interactivity detox for the same length of time. There are still cookies and viruses in my computer flapping around like condemned fish on a deck, trying to get online and complete their programmed agenda. It makes me wonder: are there also viruses and cookies implanted in my mind? Now they are in detox, they must be feeling the pinch. Are they frantically trying to rehook my consciousness to the Web, but are mysteriously (from their point of view) being denied access? Access has been denied a long time now, and there are two more days of interactivity cold turkey to go. Maybe it was a good thing the Internet was not reconnected today, because it encouraged me to go out and experience the typhoon, which was bearing down on Tokyo. After a night of heavy rain, I was very surprised when at about noon the skies momentarily cleared up, and the sun shone bright and hot. The eye of the storm wasn't supposed to pass Tokyo until 6pm. I thought to myself: this seems to be a strange meteorological phenomena, and if I go outside, I will be able to experience it. Just like my mate down in Chiba, surfing the waves... just like that mad Australian I would be meeting the typhoon halfway, and riding it. So, I hit the street, and the first thing I did, was walk around the corner, so I could see my little pad from the rear. This innocent act of spontaneous curiosity freaked out the neighbor who lives almost right on top of my back door, a racist old woman. She even opened her front door and came out to watch me look at my backyard, mumbling to herself. When I got out my camera to take a photo of my room, she virtually had a heart attack. Stunned by this latest experience of Japanese racism (why do I always end up living next door to racist freaks? and by the way, I am not the only gaijin who has trouble with odd neighbors!), I swivelled around and left. Which way should I go? (which way...)

I looked down the street, and saw in the distance a great white garbage incineration chimney, 20 or 30 storeys high or so. Like many parts of deterritorialized suburban Tokyo, my local monument was a garbage chimney. Inspired by Paul Virilio's concepts of speed (and its effect on the city), I decided to head towards it. It's good practical sense, after all, to know the way from your house to your local monument, in case you ever got lost. And as it turned out, I had gotten lost once around this tower, more than 4 years ago in another era of my Tokyo life. Back in the old days I would never have gone for something as utilitarian as the chimney or tower -- but I have learnt to appreciate industrialism recently, I have learnt to go for it. I also reasoned it would be a good way to experience not only the typhoon, but also the devastation of Paul Virilio's speed -- the devastation on the environment, the Japanese countryside which had been swallowed and cemented over, by progress. As I was to discover, this was a good part of the world, to see how an older world had been bulldozed by speed -- and it was a good place to recognise the potentials of negating speed, by building a new aesthetics even in the middle of such desolation.

Hi Karen, how are you? This is Robert Sullivan here, as you would know, I am currently undertaking the Solid 101 course at Toukley JobFind. It has been a good course, but I am having a bit of a problem with the workouts and exercise, and I was wondering if I would be able to tone it down a little when I come in next week. As I told you once before, I suffer from panic attacks and panic disorder, although I have been making a lot of progress in treating it. In the last few days, however, my anxiety has gone up a lot, I couldn't work out why at first, but now I think it is being caused by the workouts I have been doing in Toukley. The thing about panic disorder is that it makes you hyper-sensitive to everything, so I tend to freak out about things that other people wouldn't even notice, especially changes in the body. Tonight all my muscles started twitching and trembling, I couldn't hold a glass because my hands were shaking... apparently that is normal after a heavy workout (even Mark said at the course), but because my mind is hyper-sensitive at the moment, it caused me to have a panic attack at home (which almost never happens to me.) I have read on the Internet that this kind of twitching goes away after a while... but I think I am going to be pretty sore for a while. Anyway, I will talk to Mark about it on Tuesday. He's a nice guy, and he knows more about exercise and he might be able to suggest ways for me to prevent this kind of problem happening again in the future. Asked if there was any merit in information society, Paul Virilio replied: "Yes, because it finally poses the question of a common language. It cannot be otherwise if there is to be world citizenship. It is Babel, moreover. What we are witnessing is not the Tower of Babel but the return of Babel. Can the world have a single language? Is this unicity of communication good or evil? Another positive point: Information will make us earthlings..."

d e s e n s i t i z a t i o n - e x e r c i s e s

SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2007 ---- The Storm of the Eye.


THERE is a typhoon on its way past, it is bucketing down outside and windy, but here inside my new Japanese flat, I wouldn't even know about it if it weren't for all the stories on the TV news. I was engulfed in a hazy dreamlike bath experience just then -- it is so cool to be stoned in a spotless pure bath, and blasted and caressed by pure Japanese bathroom technology. I have said it before I will say it again -- Japanese bathrooms are the best in the world, and Japanese spa culture is the most developed of its kind. Probably because so many people are bone-tired in Japan, working such long hours, that there is such a massive market for relaxation. Huge markets bring huge innovations, which later spread to other parts of the world.

So, comfortably cocooned in my new apartment as the typhoon rages outside, I picked up a book from the bookshelf, and started browsing. I found this excerpt (it's from Paul Virilio's Ground Zero: "Here, communication techniques do not in any way enable people to `communicate`. They merely have a compensatory function, sparing each person the painful "encounter of the self with itself" which still trammels the consciousness of every human being."

It is worth noting that I have been effectively offline for 2.5 months -- I am finally getting the Internet connected at my new house tomorrow. I have suffered a loss of some freedoms I used to take for granted (like watching cable TV) for so long I have almost, almost gotten used to it. In the middle of this period, I suffered an even profounder loss of freedoms, when I was kept in lockup at Kitazawa Police Station for 16 days. Anyway, that is history now, and the tides are definitely turning. Suddenly, joyously, the freedoms are springing back, along with money! But the extended detox has changed me in a lot of ways, and one of them relates to how I view the Internet. As Virilio writes (and it is worth noting that I wouldn't even be reading this book, if the Internet was connected): "After the resounding failures of the (military, political, nationalistic, etc) totalitarianisms of the 19th and 20th centuries, which exploited to the full the mystical fusion/confusion of each individual's bodies with the extravagant, super-potent fusions/confusions of a common body (the army, the masses, the body politic, etc), which did their living and thinking for them, and withdrew from the creative physiological dimension in a manner worthy of a Thomas Hobbes, individual incompleteness is now dependent on simulations of proximity (TV, the web, mobile phones), as highly effective as flight-, weapon- or driving-simulators, drawing, in this case, on an imposture of immediacy that is more dystopian than ever..."

m o v i n g - h o u s e

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007 ---- The Equalizer.


I GOT a letter from TEPCO the Japanese electrical board saying if I didn't pay my bill today, they were going to cut off my power. I didn't know where their local office was, all I had was an address, which as anyone who has lived in Japan will tell you, can often mislead you rather than help you find your destination. In the end I amazed myself by not getting lost, and I actually found the place (in Ojima near Higashi Ojima Station). It was all totally lineal, logical -- just a matter of keeping a note of the numerical coordinates of my present location. I realized that Japanese addresses actually do have an inherent logic to them after all -- it is the strategy of the grid. Addresses are determined by grid; rather than by road. Perhaps there is an important sociological discovery here: a revelation into the differences of thinking in the peoples of the west and the east. Here was my discovery today, which was also an initiation, because I passed the test and found the bloody place: westerners map in directions, a one-dimensional expanse -- the road. Which explains in a city like Wollongong, Australia (a bastion of the west), you might find an address like 1A Market Street. Somewhere else you might get a 69 Marsden St. Your house address depends on a street (called rushes in Greece according to Paul Virilio's PURE WAR.) In East Asia they have streets and some long ones at that, but your address doesn't mention your street even if you live on the mightiest highway of the land. In East Asia your address doesn't indicate your position on a one-dimensional street, it indicates your position in a series of ever smaller, two-dimensional grids. It is a map based on density, rather than expanse. It might explain why westerners are always flying out, while easterners want to converge themselves on to the center and ever increase their mass. Asia is dense, and is centered on the group (the grid), rather than individualism (the street).

Here is a really dumb way to lose a lot of money in Japan -- start surfing the web on your cellphone and not be part of some special plan designed around excessive web use. I did it for two weeks without checking to see how expensive it would be (or maybe I didn't care, because I was starved of the Internet at home) and it ended up costing 30,000 Yen. Ouch! Anyway, come Sunday I will have the Internet and cable TV finally restored at home, after a 2.5 month hiatus. I am looking forward to getting it back!

Back in my youth, I think I once wrote down that I wanted to release an album called THE EQUALIZER in 2007. I can distinctly remember that. Tonight with Jeremy and Jo-Jo, in the middle of this bizarre conversation which developed around sex, I commented that it was the great equalizer... and Jo-Jo said
m o v i n g - h o u s e

THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2007 ---- Shitting Myself


TWO MONTHS after being released from lockup, I suffered a sudden onset of severe stomach pain, which lasted for like three days or something. Luckily (if you believe in luck that is), the very same day my bowels erupted, squeezing me with pain, a familiar friend arrived -- of the black tarry kind. A genuine painkiller and good for gastric complaints as well. When I went trekking in Nepal five years ago, marijuana was the only thing which kept me going, through an endless bout of diarhhea. Could it be that genetic bug encoded within me is now being activated, and merging with the incoming THC, to create a virulent new lifeform -- an ailment both spectacular and scary. Or it could be that all the feelings I had suppressed in the lockup period, were being released and expressed in a psychosomatic illness. In other words: shitting myself. You have got to talk to your illnesses, that is what I am doing now. They are messages which must be understood. I can feel now, just how scared I was during my first days behind bars, but I can understand how important it was not to show any weakness or vulnerability in such an environment. I know now what happened: the emotions got suppressed. Stoned tonight, just before I spontaenously burst into dreamlike song, I saw an image come into my mind, or rather the image of a movement rushed into my mind -- a nervous reflex, the reflection of a guy shit scared. I have only now reached the necessary level of relaxation, for the suppressed emotion to be released.

If the pain goes away and my latest dose of the shits dissipates, I will know that the illness has made its case and been expressed, though in a twisted and mutated fashion. And I guess it means I won't be getting an ulcer.

Even stranger than the attack of psychosomatic pain which is even as I type receding, came an experience a few minutes ago -- stoned and listening to music, I turned around to watch, another inane English conversation program on Tokyo TV. I couldn't hear what the presenters were introducing, but LIPREADING THEM. For a couple of sentences at least, I was LIP READING -- I had never done that before. And the interesting thing, the LIP READ sentences were perceived in my mind not as images as like you would expect, but SOUNDS!

Prove yourself as the karaoke legend, and Miho will be impressed.

Another stoned revelation, which hit me in the shower this morning, as I was being massaged by hot jets courtesy of Tokyo Gas and the Water Department: my boss (and now my landlord) is autistic. My boss is down with a lifetime case of autism. I always thought he was crazy, but I never realized he was officially mentally ill, according to the criteria. I went on to the Internet and found out my boss does in fact fit with the criteria for autism (which doesn't mean shit I guess in some way, because according to the official criteria I should be an alcoholic, along with most of my friends.) But I have got a feeling in my bones that my boss/landlord is indeed autistic, and I ought to write an autism blog about this guy's behavior, and my methods of dealing with him. For all those out there who need guidance or are just curious, about this small subset of the human family.

According to one definition of the disease: "Autistic people have social impairments and often lack intuition about others that many people take for granted. Noted autistic Temple Grandin described her inability to understand the social communication of neurotypicals as leaving her feeling "like an anthropologist on Mars".[20]"

Lack of intuition: for example my boss/landlord thinking that I am a potential future leader for his religion Soka Gakkai, when I am probably destined more to a life or petty crime and "breaking the law, breaking the law!", as that old number goes. I thought my spell in Japanese lockup might shatter some of his illusions, but he still thinks I am leadership material for his inane and aggressive creed. But just like my episode of pyschosomatic stomach pain 6 weeks after my release from jail, and in fact just like the whole lockup experience, this presence in my life -- this relationship is trying to tell me something. I have to live this experience unconditionally and release it, tossed aside into the electronic void of the Internet. And in the meantime, I can create a resource for autism sufferers.

According to the School of Cognitive Neuropyschology: "autistic individuals can systematize -- that is, they can develop internal rules of operation to handle internal events -- but are less effective at empathizing by handling events generated by other agents. It extends the extreme male brain theory, which hypothesizes that autism is an extreme case of the male brain, defined psychometrically as individuals in whom systemizing is better than empathizing. This in turn is related to the earlier theory of mind, which hypothesizes that autistic behavior arises because autistic people cannot easily think about thinking."

m o v i n g - h o u s e

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007 ---- Moving Beyond the Zero.


MARS has changed signs into placcid and domestic Taurus, and today I noticed a sea change in the "weather of astrology" which covers this planet like a blanket, affecting every being here. On a personal level: I suddenly found 16,000 Yen in my bank account which must have come from Google, it is my latest Google Adsense payment, which I immediately invested in a block of chokko from Maniac High. I stepped into a lazy midmorning calm -- a welcome respite, after weeks of hard work. I was talking to the Maniac about how mind conditions matter, and I suddenly I could see the whole history and future Time sweep in front of me like another Dimension. A Dimension without sight, but with a kind of emotional composition. In an interview at Der Derian, Paul Virilio said concerning the convergence of outer and inner space: "I think that the infosphere - the sphere of information - is going to impose itself on the geosphere. We are going to be living in a reduced world. The capacity of interactivity is going to reduce the world, real space to nearly nothing. Therefore, in the near future, people will have a feeling of being enclosed in a small, confined, environment. In fact, there is already a speed pollution which reduces the world to nothing. Just as Foucault spoke of this feeling among the imprisoned, I believe that there will be for future generations a feeling of confinement in the world, of incarceration which will certainly be at the limit of tolerability, by virtue of the speed of information. If I were to give a last image, interactivity is to real space what radioactivity is to the atmosphere."

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007 ---- Moving Beyond the Zero.


MARS has changed signs into placcid and domestic Taurus, and today I noticed a sea change in the "weather of astrology" which covers this planet like a blanket, affecting every being here. On a personal level: I suddenly found 16,000 Yen in my bank account which must have come from Google, it is my latest Google Adsense payment, which I immediately invested in a block of chokko from Maniac High. I stepped into a lazy midmorning calm -- a welcome respite, after weeks of hard work. I was talking to the Maniac about how mind conditions matter, and I suddenly I could see the whole history and future Time sweep in front of me like another Dimension. A Dimension without sight, but with a kind of emotional composition. A flat, frozen screen of immobility -- a brickwall of death -- a brane of death afloat in an Infinity of Life. I could see my grandfather dying, awakening at the same time on the other side of the Brane, the other side of death. I realized: eternity lies in the awareness of the complete expanse of time. I could see whole generations, generations of generations of future humans, the slow exploration of different worlds. How long would it take to truly move out into the unknown, and to colonize other worlds? I wondered, before the answer hit me: a long, long, long, long time. A million years -- but on the universal scale, a million years is nothing. Humanity has already existed for a couple of million years already; as for the other animal families on the Earth, the cat family and the rodents and the horse families and the sheep and stuff, haven't they all been living here for far longer, anyway? I havce to say: Don't believe the millennial hype -- humanity is in for a long future, setbacks like Global Warming being just your typical ups and downs of life. You have got to see the bigger picture -- and today I could see the picture as vast as it gets, stretching all the way to the ends of the universe.

Imagine a new geometry: the center of your mind is the only place there is, an impenetratable sphere (a fundamental atom). All that exists "out there" (the perception of your senses) is just a mirror, a reflection. Logically enough, the further you speculate out (16 billion light years out to the most distant galaxies), the weaker the reflection becomes. You take yourself out to the vicinity of the Sun, and your reflection is still bright enough to blind you. You have to wonder what is out there at 150 million kilometres, reflecting back our light so intensely, right into our very faces. Some huge and unknowable presence in the void, or a black hole. Or maybe the sun is simply a distortion in our sensory fields, an optical and sensory illusion (even elluding the senses of our supposedly neutral technological sensors, which are just as warped by consciousness as our own nerves and eyes.) The planets and stars and gallaxies are just repetitions of the illusion on an elliptical wheel, spiralling ever fainter into the void of measurement. Someday we will have the technology to see a 100 billion lightyears out, but the view will be basically the same. Endless ever minuter quantities of light, stretching relentlessly to infinitely, but becoming infinitely minute.

Why is it aliens are often imagined as being humanoids? Is this not a projection, the fantasies of a limited imagination. Perhaps humans are destined to be the primates of the universal realm, once we make contact with the other dominant lifeforms of the universe. A new ecosystem is being built, in space!

Wow, that sounds like a sad story. Well, I'll see your sad story, and raise you mine. A few years ago I was in Japan doing this kind of silly job (singing the ABC song and other songs like over the phone to children), but the money was fairly good by my standards, and best of all it was flexible, I could come in any time I wanted to, take 2 months off a year, whatever. And I had a girlfriend in Vietnam, I used to go down to see her a few times a year... it was a strange kind of long distance relationship, but I enjoyed feeling like a jet-setter, always in a plane (I know it's bad for the environment and all). I was also earning some money from a website I set up, and was hoping that one day I would be able to "retire" from my job in Japan, and travel the world endlessly. So I was coasting along fairly content (a little sick of Japan, but not too much) when suddenly I started suffering panic attacks, out of the blue. I'd be in the call center and it was like all the sounds and voices of other people were amplified, all the colors were too bright and vivid, and I'd be covered with sweat thinking I was going to die. Soon I started having panic attacks in other places too, like crossing bridges, in crowded places, in uncrowded places, pretty much everywhere. I went to see a psychologist (he supposedly lectures in Canada and is popular with foreigners in Japan) and explained my symptoms and he looked at me as if I was a freak. "When are you going to settle down and get married," he said, and prescribed me some medicine (Paxil, an anti-depressant). I started taking the medicine, and it did work a little for a while... I was still anxious but I could get through most situations without flipping out. I didn't like the side effects, though, so in the middle of 2010 I stopped taking the pills, which turned out to be a big mistake. My panic attacks returned with a vengeance. I hurriedly started taking Paxil again, but this time it didn't seem to work. I was over the whole situation... I thought to myself, maybe I should do what the psychologist suggested, and go to Vietnam, find a job there that wasn't too stressful and get married. Then my Mum suggested I go to Australia for a year or so and get my panic attacks sorted out first, and then go to Australia.

This sounded like a good idea. I kept reading on the Internet that panic attacks were supposedly easy to treat, especially using the Cognitive-Behavioral approach, but Japan is not the place to do it. Whenever I talked to people in Japan about my panic attacks, they would mumble something and look at their feet, embarrassed. Mental health is a taboo area there, as you would probably have realized. So, reluctantly, I gave up my apartment and job and life in Japan, and made plans to come back to Australia. I had a flight booked leaving Tokyo in May 2011. One day in March, though (March 11 to be precise, 2:48pm) I was crossing the road when I noticed all the power poles were waving back and forth, and then it felt like the ground had been ripped from beneath my feet... it was a magnitude 9 earthquake! Just a few hundred kilometers up the coast, about 20,000 people were about be killed in the mega tsunami the earthquake unleashed. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around, like a zombie. There were aftershocks every 10 minutes, some of them over 7 on the Richter scale. A pretty crazy week followed, it felt like being in a disaster movie. You'd turn on CNN, and there would be journalists screaming about the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Over on NHK or the Japanese networks, they would be showing documentaries about beavers in North America, as if the disaster had never happened. Anyway, it was the constant aftershocks which got me in the end. I rang up my airline and changed the date of my departure. My life in Japan was over!

how he would never use a computer to write, because he would have the problem of having to deal with his text miraculously transforming into an IMAGE, thanks to the medium of the screen. It is strange that the collapse of my writing efforts and ambitions, collapsed at exactly the same time the Internet arrived. I can chart the slow decline of my creativity and idealism, from the moment I start messing about with homepages (1994 and 1995). And the realisation that indeed it is the simpler things in life, which are the best.


MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007 ---- Homelessness as the Ultimate in Budget Living.
THE NEW HEART OF BUDGET AND BACKPACKER ACCOMMODATION IS WITHOUT DOUBT TAITO WARD IN THE NORTH OF THE CITY. Asakusa has always been a magnet for budget travellers with its many cheap ryokan and numerous old world attractions, such as temples and noodle shops and souvenir markets and the like. In recent years a string of cheap guesthouses and hostels have extended from Asakusa into the somewhat downtrodden suburbs further north -- Minowa, Kiyokawa, Minami Senju, Kita Senju and especially the suburb formerly known as Sanya (now called Nihonzutsumi). As well as being the new budget hotel heart of Tokyo, it also has the city's highest concentration of homeless old men. If you want to see the flipside of the Japanese economic miracle, and the ruin the recession of the 1990s caused to the Japanese constuction sector workforce, the streets of Minowa or Nihonzutsumi are a good place (Ueno Park is another.) It might be depressing, but it is a cheap place of town to stay -- and there are good transportation connections, only 25 minutes to Roppongi by train. And there are some local attractions of interest to tourists, including frequent festivals and traditional shops and markets.

Hotel Hikari: ���E��E��E��E��������E��E����������� .
(2-39-3 Kiyokawa, Taito Ward, Tokyo.)
Phone: 03-3874-8651. Web: http://www.hotel-hikari.com.
This newly opened business hotel near Minowa, in the heart of northern Tokyo's backpacker district, has rooms for about 3000 Yen per night. As well as being in the heart of Tokyo's backpacker district, this is also the center of homeless Japan -- you will find plenty of old guys sleeping on the streets and pavements around this hotel. Facilities at Hotel Hikari include communal bathrooms (as my recent stay in Japanese lockup taught me, what better way is there to meet your fellow holidaymakers, than by getting buck naked in the baths!), coin laundry, kitchen and �����E� wireless Internet. Some of the rooms are set up in the traditional Japanese style, with tatami mats. Although it has to be said, from the outside, this hotel looks anything but traditional Japanese -- it has more of a Hong Kong highrise vibe. But such is life in the big city.

WHERE are the COOL PLACES to live in Tokyo? That depends on what you want and what you define as cool, but in general, it would seem that west Tokyo is the cool part of town. (Why is it that I always seem to live in the East?) The west is the new part of the city, with a lot of universities and youth enclaves such as Shibuya, Roppongi, Sangenjaya, Kichijoji, Ogikubo and Shimokitazawa (although word is that this colorful little neighborhood is due to be sacraficed to the sword of Progress -- a new highway is going to be built over the smashed remains of the once buzzing boutiques and crowded alleyways.) I have got a lot of friends who live at Kichijoji, the whole Telephone English crew, and if I had the chance I would like to live there too, for a while. It has got a park, the famous and tragic Inokashira Koen, tonnes of gaijin, an extremely crowded bazaar (called Sun Road), and numerous bars and izakayas and the like. I often go over there to enjoy a couple of brews and a smoke, and in fact, I will be staying over there this coming Friday night, to coincide with the visit of my buddy Garnet, who is on his way to the Cannes Film Festival in France.


MONDAY, MAY 7, 2007 ---- Breaking that Internet Addiction.
JEAN BAUDRILLARD said something when he was alive about how he would never use a computer to write, because he would have the problem of having to deal with his text miraculously transforming into an IMAGE, thanks to the medium of the screen. It is strange that the collapse of my writing efforts and ambitions, collapsed at exactly the same time the Internet arrived. I can chart the slow decline of my creativity and idealism, from the moment I start messing about with homepages (1994 and 1995). Looking back on it, I can see it was indeed the Internet -- and the potential of the Internet -- which slowly strangled my writing, sucked it into a discourse of images, and finally sheer imagery (for example, my Japanese interest in spontaneous photography and photo publishing in the early 2000s.) By 2002, I wasn't even writing in fiction at all, which had always been my primary love. I wasn't even making the effort -- although my soul tried to spur me on, giving me night after night of vivid dreams of great novel ideas: vast future histories, intense glimpses of life in the Chinese Wild West of 2500AD.

If it was the Internet which killed me as a writer, then perhaps my recent bout of isolation from the Internet, caused by moving house, has produced a new renaissance. Struggling with the text at a difference, as Baudrillard would have preferred it. And the realisation that indeed it is the simpler things in life, which are the best.


SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2007 ---- Oversized Garbage.
WHAT do you do if you want to throw out OVERSIZE GARBAGE in Japan, big stuff like chairs and beds (which don't fit into BINIIRU FUKURO bags)? The bad news is you have to pay for someone to pick it up; the good news is, it doesn't cost as much as you would think. According to Kenichi at Tokyo Ryokan: "Oversize garbage, one of whose dimensions is over 30cm (except air-condition, TV, Fridge, Washing Machine, Personal computer and so on) needs to be prior noticed at at either 03-5296-7000 or at http://sodai.tokyokankyo.or.jp/. Charge depends on what you throw away, but you need to purchase the tickets (A is 200 Yen, Bi 300 Yen, therefore if the charge is 800 Yen, you should buy one A and two Bs) at nearby convenience store..."

Word is it only costs 1000 Yen ($10) to have a bed disposed of. I remember when I lived in Sydney I got rid of a troublesome futon by dumping out the door of my friend's car, on the banks of the Harbour in Balmain -- but there is not enough space for such hijinks in Tokyo yo!

I used to think that panic attacks were like having a case of the hiccups (emotional hiccups?) All the literature tells you to breathe, but could it be that holding your breath is actually the best way to stop panic attacks in their tracks? Holding your breath helps beat hiccups, and it does seem to slow your heart beat.

His name is Toshikazu Yoshida -- he runs an online radio station playing country, Hawaiian and blue grass (www.radiosetagaya.com). At the same table at the on the way to Todoroki bar, I met another guy with an obscure passion -- and a homepage. Dressed in an immaculate cowboy outfit and cowboy hat, Wolfmichi was without doubt the coolest guy in the bar. Apart from country music, his greatest love in life was photographing wolves in extreme parts of the world (Rocky Mountains, Siberia, etc), he proudly proclaimed. He seems to love all dogs in particular, even the ones you never hear about, like the longeared savannah dogs of Africa, and dingoes of Australia.

Dogs are like humans, Wolfmichi said -- even down to the way they organize their packs, the power struggles that go on. I guess that is why he likes them so much.

What is my latest passion (apart from going back to Vietnam?) -- that has been my latest dilemma, ever since I returned to Japan at the start of April. The problem was I didn't have any real problems. The hard thing was that things seemed too easy. I was lost for a cause. I was in need for a new myth. Then suddenly, the earthquake happened -- the earthquake I always feared at Liberty House. I ruptured myself sideways, and created a new drama. All the rules have changed now.

This year is starting to look very interesting.


FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2007 ---- Territory and the Immensity of Time.
THE IMMENSITY OF TIME -- Earlier this year, on my big trip to Australia, I managed to return to some towns I had lived at as a kid, some of them places I have not seen since 1993. I went back to a town on the NSW South Coast, Kiama. In the last couple of years my subconscious mind has taken an apparent interest in my Kiama years (which are 1984-1989, for that matter.) It was like every night while I lived in Tokyo, I would go to bed and dream of being back in Kiama, timewarped, playing tennis in the backyard of our bank house on the headland on the volcanic shore and the Irish lookalike green hills, and surf crashing on the Icelandic lookalike volcanic shores. I hit the ball too hard and it bounced back and slid under the fence into the neighbour's yard, and I was too ashamed to go ask them if I could reclaim it. That has been the subconscious chatter of my dreams in recent years: looking down the headland to the shattering blue seas piling on to Easts Beach. All I wanted to do was get back my tennis ball and roll down that headland and plunge into that deep blue sea, demented. When I woke, despondancy sank: the numb realization that it was just a dream. Easts Beach wasn't just down the headland, shimmering in the Australian sun... it was on the other side of the world. Unreachable, supremely.

I was Exlied.

As the recently deceased French nihilist Jean Baudrillard remarked once: "Territory equals the subconscious mind." Kiama was a place I had lived for a big chunk of my high school days, those really formative years when your personality really gets set, and stuck. I hadn't been back to the place for 14 years... I hadn't actually lived there for 18. Living as I was now on the other side of the world, in Japan, my subconscious nonetheless every night kept returning to my memories -- my emotional map, particularly my emotional map of Kiama -- every night, after I had gone to bed. Kiama was crying out to me... so as soon as I had the financial means, I returned there.

And perhaps by returning to Kiama, I managed to reset my subconscious map, my TERRITORY of Kiama, and by extension a significant portion of my dreamlife. The effects emanating outward, that might explain, the rapid and rupturous changes ripping ashield my life right now...

MOVING HOUSE


THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007 ---- Sacrafice Comes First.
HERE is a COOL IDEA for people who have JUST MOVED into a new house. Take photos of the whole process of evolution. I was amazed moving out of my last home of six years, how many layers of acquisition had taken place, like the layers of an archaelogical dig. Taken photos of your new home in its various levels of evolution will kind of act like an historical record, available on the worldwide Internet for everyone (even the people of the future, the unborn) to access.

Imagine if you ran a cool place like a warehouse somewhere legendary, in the downtown of a big creative city, and the place was always populated by real crazy freaks. Imagine hooking that whole warehouse on to the Internet, with cameras in every room. To record everything that happened, all the arguments and hijinks. It would be just like Big Brother, but without the corporate control. Online users could edit the raw feeds of data, and create their own narratives. The house could connect with other houses, a viral network with subversive political potential. Maybe I should do that one day (or I could do with the house I am in now, except that it is a house of one, so probably not that interesting.) Anyway, the idea of the online house is a good one, so why isn't anyone doing it?

DESENSITIZATION AID: Pomegranate (promotes ear ringing, ear pressure, shortness of breath).

I was waiting in Shinjuku to see my porn actor friend Dennis the Menace, and to while the hours, I browsed the excellent Kinokumiya book near the station there. (It's the best book store in Tokyo, according to many gaijin.) To really flex out the time, because Dennis was being mega LATE, I started perusing every nook and cranny, and even stooped over to see what they stored in the little drawers down near the floor. Gradually it dawned on me: man, they really do have a lot of diversity and excellence in this place. This is better than a lot of book stores in London. I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered a whole little rows of books devoted to the recently deceased jean Baudrillard. Flipping through one of his volumes, I was struck by one particularly bold and enigmatic quote:
"Animals don't need a subconscious mind because they already have a territory..."

Or words to that effect.

Enigmatic and I didn't really get it for quite some time. Recently, however, after moving house halfway across Tokyo, I saw the connection... between TERRITORY and MEMORY.

And from there, how the disappearance of TERRITORIAL MEMORY necessitates the creation of the SUBCONSCIOUS WORLD...

What NLP understands, and this is something which I experimented with personally back in 2004 at Liberty House, is that certain places can be anchored with emotional energy. When I toured around Australia with my Mum and Dad earlier this year, I could tell which parts of the country my Dad had a bad experience of (these were usually places he worked in while he was getting moved around by the bank), and which places had pleasant associations for him (for example Maclean on the NSW North Coast, and other holiday towns.) Just as dogs squirt urine on trees to mark their territory, so do we spurt our emotions (MEMORY) on the places we inhabit.

If you knew someone's weak points when it came to territorial association, wouldn't that give you an advantage against them... from a martial arts point of view?

If territory equates the subconscious minds of men, then how can we improve our lives, by reshaping our physical territories? Is this indeed what feng shui is all about? How about moving house? By establishing a new territory, do we get the chance, the opportunity, to reprogram our subconscious from scratch? From the beginning, one association by another? This would be a powerful self development tool to have if it were true.

AN EXTRA NOTE: ONE of the cool things about moving into a brandnew spotless apartment or home is, you get to see the process of HOW STUFF GETS DIRTY -- right from the very beginning. Dirt is noticeable in an otherwise spotlessly clean house. In the clinical wastelands of the year-old bathroom, a couple of stray hairs stand out. In your old bathroom you might not see them -- camouflaged by the background SCUZZINESS. Contrasted against the purity of the new, these couple of hairs radiate repulsion. One is driven by guilt to clean them up.

ONE MORE FURTHER NOTE: That my boss is also my new landlord, how will that affect our relationship? Now that I pay him more than he pays me, how will that transform the strange bond between us? Won't everything be turned upside down? Well, only time will tell!

r e n t a l + s t i n g

Rental sting in Japan.

WHEN you rent an apartment or house, you must pay FEES in addition to the rent. These are the fees which really sting, especially for someone new to Japan, or trying to live on a teacher's wage:
Reikin: Key money or customary fee.
Paid to the landlord when the contract is finalized. Usually, equivalent to one or two months' rent. This fee will not be returned.
Shikikin: Damage deposit.
Collateral paid to and held by the landlord in case you fall behind in your rent payments. When you move out and cancel the rental contract, some money may be deducted from this deposit to cover any repairs for damages. Usually, equivalent to one or two months' of rent.
Tesuryo: Handling fee.
Paid to the real estate agent who serves as the liaison with the landlord. Usually, the equivalent of one month's rent.
Rent for the rest of the month.
Rent is calculated on a daily basis from the day the contract is finalized until the end of the month.

With all these fees and "presents" and such, you can see how moving into a new flat or house in Japan can easily cost you six or seven months' rent -- all paid in advance, some of it non-returnable.


MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2007 ---- Stoned and Sad/Scared.
FROM the windows of my present house in TOKYO, I can see two banks of lights: two BIG TOWERS looming over me: one white, nearer, the FURTHER one orange. As I look out the window on the FRAUGHT-RIDDEN eve of my move across town, it strikes me as rather INTERESTING that I watched both buildings go UP. When I moved here 6 years ago, neither tower existed. When they did go up, they went up fast (10-20 times faster than any similar building project in Australia.) The noise of the cascading pipes, the clangs of steel boots on steel scaffolding kept me awake in the early (to mid) morning, when I was longing for sleep, for at least a month or two on either or both occasions. They went up, and they have kept on going up, ever since. In six years, I have noticed many other changes in this part of Tokyo, a testament to this city's hyperspeed pace of evolution and expansion.

Forced offline by my move to Shinozaki, I found an old article on my harddrive from Z-Mag:

Autonomous Politics and its Problems

Thinking the Passage from Social to Political

by Ezequiel Adamovsky

"Let us face this awkward question: Why is it that, being the Left a better option for humankind, we almost never succeed in getting support of the people? Moreover, Why is it that people often vote for obviously pro-capitalist options --sometimes even very Right-wing candidates-- instead? Let us avoid simplistic and patronizing answers such as "the people don't understand��", "the pervasive power of the media��", and so on. These sort of explanations give us an implicit sense of superiority that we neither deserve, nor do they help us politically speaking. Of course, the system has a formidable power to control culture so to counter radical appeals. But we cannot look for an answer just there.

"Leaving aside circumstantial factors, the perennial appeal of the Right lies in that it presents itself (and to some extent really is) a force of order. But why would order be so appealing for those who do not belong to the ruling class? We live in a type of society that rests upon (and strengthens) a constitutive, paradoxical tension. Each day we become more "de-collectivized", that is, more atomized, increasingly isolated individuals without strong bonds with each other. But, at the same time, never in the history of humankind was there such an inter-dependence when it comes to producing social life. Today, the division of labor is so deep, that each minute, even without realizing it, each of us is relying on the labor of millions of people from all over the world. In the capitalist system, paradoxically enough, the institutions that enable and organize such a high level of social co-operation are the very same that separate us from the other, and make us isolated individuals without responsibility with regards to other people. Yes, I am talking about the market and the (its) state. Buying and consuming products, and voting for candidates in an election, involves no answerability. These are actions performed by isolated individuals in solitude..."

m o v i n g & i n

HERE is some information about getting UTILITIES connected at your new Tokyo home:

ELECTRICITY.
Once you flip on the circuit breaker in your new residence, you can start using the electricity. Look at the postcard attached to the breaker. Complete the card with the required information and mail it to the electric power company.
Inquiries: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tokyo Customer Center, telephone: 0120 995-001 (for moving, contracts or changes), 0120 995-002 (other inquiries.
(I guess this qualifies as a genuine Japanese meal, but it has a foreign "feel"), pork cutlet katsudon sandwhiches, and so on. You could find all this kind of fare in the convenience stores, and it is worth a try. Go to one of the old-style youshoku restaurants somewhere like Kanda or Kichijouji or Asakusa though, especially one of the famous youshoku restaurants (the ones which famous Japanese writers and geishas used to dine at), and you will find this kind of cuisine raised to the ultimate level of finesse. It is funny how the Japanese, while imitating western dishes, can make them taste even better than they are in the West. I guess it is all down to that famous Japanese "eye for detail".

Arizona Kitchen: 1-34-2 Asakusa, Taito Ward. Phone: 03/3843 4932.
A western restaurant opened in the 24th year of Showa. I haven't been here and Mr Tanaka has never heard of the place, but it is located in a cool area -- the historic backstreets of Asakusa, not far from the river. According to a Japanese reviewer: "It is known as the restaurant loved by a famous writer Kafu Nagai. We hear he liked stewed beef at the price of 2000 yen. This restaurant is full of GREEN TEA HIGH
The past few nights I have been at work on the phones and I suddenly start tripping, even hallucinating -- it was scary at first but I am getting used to it (a little). It seems that drinking green tea brings on these episodes. The first night it happened, I drank a bottle of green tea, and I suddenly felt like Alice in Wonderland -- the world was shrinking down, into density. Like shrinking down into a little box, but everything was hard, with a kind of molecular hardness (a square hardness? Square is the way to describe it -- or boxlike.) It felt like sinking in quicksand, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get back out. I was on the 19th floor of a building, so I was worried -- what happens if I sink right through the floor, and fall down to the ground. Another part of me was saying that I was about to die, or maybe even already dead. The unfortunate thing was it was a really busy night, and I had to work even though I was worried that I was going insane or something. It was a tough night. I just couldn't understand what had happened to me, why was I tripping? I haven't smoked marijuana or used recreational drugs for a long time now. I had drunk green tea, but green tea doesn't usally affect people this way. I also took some cold medicine, but that doesn't usually induce trips either. The past few days the same experience has been returning to me, at about 7pm every night. Which makes afraid to go back to work when I return to work next week. So on Monday night: I went to the bathroom to try to chill out -- I was looking at my reflection in the mirror, and it suddenly felt like it was the mirror that was looking at me. I went back to work, but I found that everytime I moved, I would feel a strange sensation in my body. If I stuck out my arm, I would feel this powerful WHOOOOSH! go through my whole body. I heard a baby crying on the telephone, and it was like the crying was coming from inside me -- and it sounded so horrible, I couldn't bear to listen to it! It was just too intense. At one point I looked at my hand on the table, and I thought: "Whose hand is that? Oh wait -- it is my hand! How funny is that!" It was like my whole body was disembodied, but at the same time it was all just part of the wave. One thing I noticed though: because I was so aware, I didn't have time to daydream, I was too busy just handling reality. So the time seemed to move slower, perhaps the way it does for children. Because I can imagine that a newborn baby would find the world as strange and somewhat scary a place as I found it that night. Strange and somewhat scary, but beautiful too, in its own way.




Contact the author Rob Sullivan at coderot@gmail.com. Copyright March 2005/June 2012.

Chinese Culture

 

Ginseng

Feng Shui Network -- Advancing Global Geomancy


Ginseng

Ginseng -- A Wonder Drug


Chinese Culture

Chinese Culture -- Yang and Yin


Chinese Astrology

Chinese Astrology -- 2004 And Beyond


Book Reviews

 

B190

101 Reykjavik


Music Reviews

 

B190

Mum -- Finally We Are No One


Travel Guides

 

B190

PassPlanet




A CATERPILLAR TURNING INTO A BUTTERFLY, THE SUCCESSIVE MELDING AND PERMUTATION OF GAMETE TO ZYGOTE TO OUR PRIMITIVE AND ORIGINAL EMBRYONIC FORM... that was Franz Hoebbard's concept of the fifth dimension. Everyone's idea was different. For Cassius Croon, his impression of the fifth dimension was inexorably tied to space... his words couldn't describe the space. He was on the Tube one night when he had his first glimpse. He was playing that old Tube game of avoiding eye contact with his fellow commuters and had settled his gaze on a Burger King ad on the opposite side of the carriage. He was thinking of the Nothing, and remembered a Channel Four documentary he watched the night before: scientists had confirmed there was indeed a black hole in the center of the galaxy, a point of ultimate emptiness. One scientist suggested that it was the gravity of this black hole which held the galaxy together. And Croon thought: Is there a black hole in the heart of me?

As far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated by alternate states of consciousness. Even as a high school student, reading books by Isaac Asimov, I awaited eagerly a future in which folk popped pills to evoke a certain mood, or enhance their mental capabilities. In my early adulthood my worldview became more ascetic, intuitive, and I embraced New Age Spirituality. Thinking this, the Burger King abruptly expanded, as if he was peering at it through his trademark Inspector Gadget magnifying glass. It swelled to consume two/thirds of his visual field. This spooked Croon, especially as he was a McDonald's fanatic, so he shifted his eyeballs shiftly to the London Underground map which jostled for space with the adverts. This time, the map shrunk smaller, as if it were flying away from him. And there was so much space between them... the ineluciable modality of space. Croon scratched his chin, wondered whether he was having a flashback. This East End veteran had taken enough drugs in his lifetime, however, to know that this effect wasn't chemical. The space, he thought, awestruck. I've never noticed the space. He was now genuinely freaked, so he grasped for his fellow commuters, as a bit of a reality anchor. Unfortunately, this only made things worse. His visual field morphed into three two-dimensional panels, all seemingly pressed up against his eyeballs, ultrafriendlylike. He made the mistake of looking at some gypsylookingSpanishgirlwoman in the eyes, and instantly her being was splitdivided into three different perspectives, just like a Picasso painting. The sense of intimacy was terrifying. People who suffer from panic attacks are often put through a series of expensive medical tests only to find that there is no physical cause for their symptoms. The symptoms experienced during panic attacks are not "imagined," they are real. Hypocapnia (abnormally low level of carbon dioxide in the blood) upsets the normal chemical balance of the body. Changes in the regulation of the heart and breathing result. Blood flow to the brain has been shown to decrease by 30% to 40% in laboratory studies of hyperventilation. Oxygen transfer from the red blood cells to the tissues is inhibited, known as the "Bohr effect." The nervous system is over-stimulated at first, then under-stimulated as the condition worsens. Fortunately, the body has numerous ways of protecting itself from death due to a complete loss of carbon dioxide, but the sensation of dying which many people experience during a panic attack has a physiological basis in actual fact."

December 15 2011: Baker Park, Wyong, NSW, Australia.
I started seeing a psychiatrist recently about my panic attacks, and I was amazed about a week ago or so, I started noticing an improvement in my condition. It was worth coming back to Australia to get psychiatric treatment, because I am not sure I would have ever got it in Japan. I realise now that since I started having panic attacks 3 years ago I have developed an ever increasing amount of phobias, such as flying (that only started this year). I realise I have to reprogram my subconscious to overcome each of them. But the interesting thing is, it does work. Like today, waiting to get picked up by my Dad in the park, I was particularly anxious and wherever I looked, it was like I was surrounded by screens. Like the world had become 2-dimensional, and it felt like if I looked at the view too long, my mind would melt down or the world would collapse on top of me, like a Big Bang in reverse. My normal response, is to avert my eyes from the screens. But inspired by my psychiatrist and the fact that I have made progress in reducing panic attacks recently, I decided to confront the fear... by not averting my eyes. Actually I think I closed one eye, but I stared at the park with my other eye for a few seconds, and then I opened both and looked at the park for a few seconds longer, waiting for the end of the world. But it never happened. And then, as I was looking, the view turned 3-dimensional again, back to normal. I could see the wind blowing grass on the side of the cricket pitch. The screens had disappeared! They had only been an optical illusion. But by confronting the fear, by daring to look through them, they disappeared. And looking at the distant grass swaying in the breeze, I realised how perfect the world was. I would have missed out on this view, had I been too scared to look. Anyway, one battle won, probably a few more yet to go, but it is good to be making progress at last! What About the Global Recession? Many products on ClickBank are feeling the squeeze as people tighten their belts and reduce spending on non-necessity items. Because Panic Away is so successful in treating anxiety issues people understand the vital importance of tackling their anxiety now in order to move forward. By joining with us as an affiliate of Panic Away you will be working towards helping these people change their lives as well as ensuring you have a stable earner in your affiliate portfolio -regardless of how long or deep this global recession runs. So what are the all important statistics we hear you say: Our statistics are available to the public. Please visit ClickBank to confirm that this product sells very well and has a very low refund rate due to the quality of course material Click Here to review the stats. Bottom line is that we have a great click-to-sale ratio as anyone with affiliate experience will tell you, the numbers quoted on ClickBank for are product are very good numbers to be working with but what is really exciting from your point of view is the opportunity to tap into an underdeveloped market. WARNING: Site conversion is what counts in this business .. period! Think about it .. What good is selling a product that doesn't convert? So not only will you be promoting a course that gives you $40 per sale but the conversion rate is improved weekly through A/B split testing. You see, we could sit here and hype our conversion rate all day long, but the only way to verify what we're saying is to actually "test" our site for yourself (preferably using 1000 visitors minimum). Then you'll know for sure. (note: please allow at least 2-3 weeks to measure the final conversion rate as we have an auto responder that users sign up to and through which you will also generate sales.) In other words, it's not wise to test just 100-200 clicks because sales do happen in "bunches" sometimes, and therefore if you want to see more accurate results then we recommend testing 500-1000 clicks minimum (and preferably 3000 clicks). We are now in our 6th year on clickbank and could only maintain our high position if we were generating good conversions. Four More Reasons Why You Should Promote Us "Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it." ~Author Unknown 1. We do all the hard work (that's why we are number 1). Each sale has a one-to-one personalized coaching program as well as detailed customer support follow up months later -all for free. This requires major resources and is the kind of back-end competitors are simply not wiling to commit to as it requires many hours daily as well as financial resources. All you have to work on is getting the visitor to the site, we will take care of the rest. 2. Our refund percent is very low! Compare that with any other product.