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» Maniac High -- Part One
» World Expo 2005
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» Donating Blood in Japan
» Lesbian Japan -- Part One
» Chiba and Saitama -- Tokyo's Dormitory Suburbs
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Health & Spirituality


What type of person are you? Your face reveals all!
Chinese Face Reading
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

Yoga for stress relief
Yoga for Stress Relief



First Contact: A Short Story Anthology
First Contact: A Short Story Anthology

Photo copyright Rob Sullivan 2012

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

TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2023 ---- Stumble on Baby Step #2.

FOR EVERY SIX hotels I stay at going forward, one will be like Hotel Gosford, and one will be comparable to the Bayview Hotel at Woy Woy, which I have just checked out of. Yet another will be like the Ocean Beach Hotel in Umina, my next step on the road, where I will still be staying in a pub, but at least I will have my own toilet. The Nightcap will be grade 3, while the Metro Mirage in Newport will be one step above, at level four. Hotel Gosford has been the grungiest of my hotels thus far, partly due to its location, as well as facilities and clientele. Bayview Hotel is just as cheap as Hotel Gosford, but has a friendlier vibe, and a sunnier outlook. That might be due to its location, and the demographics of the city.

In Woy Woy the population is more genteel, gentrified, and geriatric. Local motorists stop for you when you are crossing the road, rather than beep their horn as in Gosford. There are a lot of zebra crossings.. too many, in fact! I feel guilty holding up the traffic. My room was facing north, and directly opposite the Central Coast Ferries wharf on Brisbane Water, which is critical for my attempts to knock off the first two six baby steps out of the Central Coast. All things considered, it was quite cozy, if it a little dated.

The only problem was that there was no table nor chair, so I was forced to sit on the floor with my laptop resting on the side of the bed for my lessons for iTalki. And while sitting on the floor might be comfortable in Japan, where homes and hotels are often built around this discipline, Australian accommodation is not as accommodating. Carpets can be dusty and unhygienic, with none of the spring of your typical tatami mat. After a couple of hours of sitting crosslegged I would get sore legs, numb extremities, even muscular spasms. I assumed that I would get used it eventually.

That said, I managed to tick off the first of my baby steps easily enough -- the ferry from Woy Woy to Davistown Central Wharf. To be fair, I was suffering mild derealization on my journey, especially while talking to the boy with the brontosaurus on the boat, and the Elvis impersonator at the bus stop on Paringa Avenue, near the shops. In retrospect, my anxiety level seemed to be about 1.7 Distress Units (DU) at this time. After that early success, I was confident, and complacent (which is always a dangerous combination.) Despite my optimism, the second baby step to Empire Bay on the other side of Cockle Channel was much harder to take. It was a stormy day, and I had foolishly left my raincoat in the hotel, thinking that it wouldn't rain until evening. As soon as I arrived at the wharf, it started pelting down, and I had to escape the deluge by hiding under a glass shelter there. I wondered whether rough weather on water might increase my apprehension.

That was not the worst of my concerns, however. Just before the catamaran cast off, a large number of elderly passengers appeared out of nowhere, and quickly filled the vessel with their loud and animated conversation. Presently, my palms grew sweaty, indicating an anxiety score of 2.5 Distress Units (DU). Thankfully, I never progressed to tunnel vision, which starts kicking in at 2.8DU. That would have been a true meltdown! Nonetheless, the panic caused by the noise and choppy water was so intense that I had to stand up for the final legs and pace around, although there wasn't really anywhere to go. I stepped out on to the back deck of the catamaran, feeling vaguely seasick. After what seemed ages (but was, of course, just minutes), I disembarked at Empire Bay not only severely anxious, but also unable to hike home due to the heavy rain. I waited 30 minutes nervously for a bus to Erina Fair, but was too agitated to dine there as planned.

Unexplained anxiety itself causes anxiety, and I have got my algorithm pretty down pat now, so this setback was a definite shock. I ended my Woy Woy microlife in a desperate mood. What had gone wrong?

My first night back at Wyong, lying in my comfortable bed, I noticed classic delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) symptoms in my thighs, including a quickened pulse and spasms, and at last the penny dropped. Who would have thought it, but sitting crosslegged on the floor at the Bayview for up to 8 hours a day was akin to doing vigorous exercise! According to my subjective distress scale, muscle repair and associated inflammation can spike anxiety by up to 7TDU. Yikes!

So, it was a setback, but also a learning experience. I will be careful about sitting on the floor in the future. Luckily, Nightcap at Ocean Beach have a table and chair in every room, so muscle strain should not be a problem next time. I can make a renewed attempt to reach Empire Bay, and return to Umina via St Huberts Island and Daley Point. And in case of emergencies, I will take some diazepam!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 2, 2022 ---- Rebellious Qi.

I HAVE READ that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, panic attacks are blamed upon rebellious Qi, an uprising of that elemental lifeforce also known as "Chi" (or 氣). This theory resonates with me as several times before my first attack, I suffered freak spells of dizziness and unsteadiness on my feet. One evening I was walking towards the Monolith in Shinjuku (新宿) when a sudden whoosh! of energy surged from my legs to my crown. A week or so later I had my first (official) attack, at the aforementioned tower. Whenever I moved my arm or turned my head, a shuddering rush would gush towards that extremity, with a reverberating noise similar to the bionic sound effect in The Six Million Dollar Man. It was like time had slowed down, and every event was full of dread significance. As the attack progressed, I was startled to notice luminous sparks spraying up from the bottom of my visual field, like manic laser beams fired in an old arcade game. I have never seen such ocular disturbances since then.

According to Li Shi Zhen, When Qi rebels upwards, there is internal urgency [li ji] and a feeling of heat: this is rebellious Qi of the Chong Mai.

"As for herbal treatment, it is necessary to nourish the Chong and Ren Mai and subdue Qi. Li Shi Zhen advocated using animal products to nourish the extraordinary vessel and for the Chong Mai, he used Gui Ban Plastrum Testudinis and Bie Jia Carapax Amydae sinensis. To subdue Qi of the Chong Mai he recommended (the following herbs):

"Xiao Hui Xiang Fructus Foeniculi
Yan Hu Suo Rhizoma Corydalis
Xiang Fu Rhizoma Cyperi
He Huan Pi Cortex Albiziae
Ban Xia Rhizoma Pinelliae preparatum
Dan Shen Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae
Hou Po Cortex Magnoliae officinalis
Zi Su Ye Folium Perillae..."

SUNDAY, MAY 5, 2019 ---- Deconstructing Cannabis.

MY WORLD expanding, it is comforting how I inherit new windfalls all the time now, assets that I can use in my life right today, not in some speculated future. Long Jetty is in my orbit finally, Morisset is within my reach. Recently I was informed by one of my physicians that I could be eligible for a bit of the old medical marijuana, which is slowly being approved for therapeutic use in Australia. Cannabis supposedly has anxiolytic properties, although I will believe that when I feel it. In my experience, the only substance which reliably reduces anxiety is booze, and the doctors would never prescribe that. Some of my first panic attacks were sparked by the wicked weed in fact, although I did not recognize them as such at the time.

Call me a sucker for punishment, but it would be great to get back into pot, in spite of the possible anxiety it might provoke. Fortunately, the marijuana that they dispense here these days has been stripped of its treacherous tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound which gets you high, and suffused instead with cannabidiol (CBD), a miraculous substance being investigated for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective promises. While THC is psychological, CBD is psychophysiological... instead of shooting you to Venus, it will gently massage your body from within, infiltrating the endocannabinoid receptors in the cells, then instructing them to chill.

As Medical Jane reported, "While it was originally believed that THC is a breakdown product of CBD, it is now known that both THC and CBD are actually metabolites of their decarboxylated acidic forms, THCa and CBDa."

One psychonaut, Random Output who took CBD found it reduced his pulse somewhat, and that is promising for me, because I have found a strong correlation between heartbeat and panic. On the other hand, he noted that its effects were transitory and minor given the cost involved in obtaining it. There's the rub: all of these reconstituted, reconstructed cannabis deriveratives are not cheap: the aerosol product I was spruiked will set you back a hefty $300 a month. Perhaps it would be better finding a local dealer, instead of a doctor? At least they won't judge you on your lifestyle choices.

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2018 ---- Reawakening the Tiger.

I HAVE been reading a few blogs about a trauma intervention called Self Regulation Therapy, or SRT for short, which is based on Peter Levine's book, Waking the Tiger. It sounds similar to CBT, but with one crucial difference: SRT places the focus on the body, rather than faulty thinking patterns. It is psychosomatic, rather than just cognitive, or psychological. You could call it psychophysiological, which is rather a long word, and difficult to pronounce. Whatever the name, SRT has resonated with me, because I have been disheartened with CBT for quite some time. Session after session, I have met with K.A. at Your Strengths in Wyong, or Dr Goripati, to receive their wisdom, and pretend that they are actually helping me. They keep stressing that the solutions to my panic attacks are cognitive, I just need to change the way I interpret my thoughts, blah blah blah. They say it over and over again, but I can't get it to work for me. They say the thought comes first, then the fearful reaction, but in my experience it is the other way round. First I feel anxious, and then I look around me (or within me) for an explanation. I have to come to believe that panic is a symptom of the hindbrain, the reptilian brain... the part of the brain we share with the beasts, and the birds. I have observed that when I approach the lorikeets which abound in my parents' garden, they freak out, empty their bowels, and then burst into flight. It is the human equivalent of encountering a wild lion, but they do it every day, and they never appear to suffer from any mental trauma.

Dr Susan Lacombe writes:

"What mammals do that humans do not is to allow the energy to be dissipated through a successful fight or flight, and later through muscle twitching, shaking and releasing. Animals are not frightened by normal bodily functions that we have come to associate with fear and with something that appears out of our control."

Anxiety, then, is the result of traumatic energy which has accumulated in the body, and not been properly released. So, for the past few days I have been trying to feel my body, the tightness in my stomach as I sit in the Halfway House between lessons, the way my heartbeat increases after eating, the weight of my body in my swivel chair. Interestingly, the more I focus on my body, the less I notice things that used to alarm me in the outside world (such as the infinity of space). I guess it makes sense: you have only a limited amount of attention, and if you walk around oblivious to the anxiety in your own body, sooner or later it will manifest elsewhere, as derealization, tinnitus, and other strange phenomena. Unaware that the problem was inside me, I projected it on to the world, which I came to fear, and to cower from. No wonder that my subcortex internalized this terror, Skinner style, and eventually I developed agoraphobia. "Physiological phenomena occur in cycles," Devine writes, and I notice, sitting in my swivel chair after consuming a cafe mocha from McDonalds, a symphony of movements play out in my body, from my stomach to my thighs, and back again... a muscular dance. What are these spasms saying, I wonder, and how do I start talking to them?

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2011 ---- Anti-Enlightenment in the Park.

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 realize now that since I started having panic attacks 3 years ago ,I have developed an ever-increasing number 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 realized 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!

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!),

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 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: earthlings..."

Agoraphobic art, courtesy of Mr Asia

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 ev..."

Anxiety in Japan

I realized that Japanese addresses actually do have an inAddresses 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).

Agoraphobic art, courtesy of Mr Asia

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

self-hug, enjoying the whole routine, and they wanted more of it! But all of a sudden, . Perhaps I have never been bodywise, stuck in the left-hand of my brain. -- evidently , in their festival finery, . -- There are apparently 6 stages of dissociation, , everyone, was the bond that was developing -- an intimacy which was also an artwork. --. 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 gr taken of them, and laughing. In a frolicsome kind of voice. Panic lives on the interface of the human and animal brains. , 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. -- it was a disposable affair.

I have been experimenting a lot, and experiencing a lot lately, and learning a lot. And the

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.
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 amongat 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. The planets and stars and gallaxies are just repe 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.

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!

MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007 ---- Homelessness as the Ultimate in Budget Living.

Hotel Hikari: ���E��E��E��E��������E��E����& Kiyokawa, Taito Ward, Tokyo.)
Phone: 03-3874-8651. Web:
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.

AUGUST 2 2006: ENLIGHTENMENT ON THE STREETS OF TOKYO I had an experience today which was so spiritually intense, I wonder whether this is what they call Enlightenment. It was the culmination of my 12 year quest for spirituality and release from the Wheels of Karma -- and it was a moment so life shattering, I am still reeling. Something died inside of me, and something new was born. And since that time, I have found myself growing more and more amazed about this magic moment in my consciousness, which has changed completely the way I look at myself -- and how I look at the world. Can you imagine a house with no one at home and a TV on in an empty room? That is the nature of human consciousness. We might like to think that there is someone there watching that TV (the ego). But as I found out today, the ego is an illusion. There is nothing inside of us, and there is nothing really outside of us either (just a screen playing scenes.) Perhaps when the average person dies they realize it was all just an illusion, they never really existed to begin with, just as the Universe didn't really exist either -- it was just a big joke. And then they die and get over it. Anyway, since I "died" today, I realized the illusion/joke early, so paradoxically, I can enjoy the rest of my life not fearing failure or death (because you can't kill what doesn't exist!) So, I can go on to get rich and have fabulous adventures, knowing deep down it doesn't mean anything (because nothing means anything!) Someone wiser than me has written: "In a single moment, in one stroke, you can become enlightened. It is not a gradual process, because enlightenment is not something that you have to invent. It is something that you have to discover. It is already there. It is not something that you have to manufacture. If you have to manufacture it, of course, it will take time; but it is already there. Close your eyes and see it there. Be silent and have a taste of it. Your very nature is what I call enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something alien, outside you. It is not somewhere else in time and space. It is you, your very core." FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2006: I got some more money from Paper Burning! I burnt some more paper a few days so I could some money to pay for my credit card. Today when I checked my bank account I saw there was an extra 10,000 Yen there. Where did the money come from? One of my studen According to BrainMind, "Unlike hypothalamic on/off emotional reactions, amygdala-fear reactions can last up to several minutes after the stimulation is withdrawn. Moreover, amygdala pathways may remain potentiated for minutes, hours, and even days following fear induced stimulation." Interestingly, the amygdala is connected to out of body experiences, disassociation, and trance-like states. I remember this blog post from mid 2006, between Akiko, and Chie:

ANOTHER MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE: I have had an amazing few days that's for sure -- and the fun continued today. At one point in the day I was walking through the street putting leaflets into letterboxes, and it was so hot I drank a few bottles of green tea out of a vending machine, and that was where my mystical adventures began again (perhaps it was because of the green tea???) Suddenly I had the same feeling that I had had on Wednesday in Kanda -- I thought that the world was closing in on me, collapsing, my ego was imploding and all that was left was the "outside", like a screen that surrounded me (a TV playing in an empty room.) I kept on walking a little freaked out but not that scared -- actually I remember the same thing happened to me about 8 years ago in Australia, when I was really stoned from marijuana, and I felt that the world was crashing in on me. At that time I thought I was going to die and started panicking, but this time I knew that the only thing that was dying was my ego, and this time I was happy to see my ego go. Like, "Sayonara sucker!" (you were good for nothing, and now you must die!)
I continued walking. All of a sudden it felt like this: I was an actor on a stage, and there was nobody in the audience watching me. The only person watching me was me. And the spotlight swang on to me, and I realized the devastating truth: the world, my whole life, had been designed by me. I had designed this life just so I could experience it, from the inside. And that moment, I realized the truth: I am God!

BrainMind goes on to state, "it thus appears that fear-induced alterations or abnormalities in hippocampal-temporal lobe activity presumably triggers the involuntarily visualization of one's surroundings and their personal image similar to what occurs during normal remembering. That is, they experience a dissociated hallucination and see themselves as well as others as if floating above the scene due to abnormal activity in these hippocampal neurons."

ies 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 o
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 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 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 ( 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.

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.

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 e MOVING HOUSE

THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007 ---- Sacrafice Comes First.
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 Imagine if you ran a cool place like a warehouse some 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.

BrainMind says, "It is important to note that forgetting can be exceedingly adaptive. That is, the individual (or animal) need not be tormented by repeatedly recalling something that is terrifying. However, when these memories are triggered, many individuals feel they are vividly reexperiencing the original trauma--an experience which is not adaptive..."

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.

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.
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. 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..."

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 a src="Tokyo Hotels Guide -- Accommodation in Tokyo.files/arizona.jpg" align=right> 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.

october 10 2023 // september 3 2023

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at Copyright March 2005/June 2012.

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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?

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."

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