PHOTOS & WORDS FROM KIKUCHI YUKI
TRANSLATED BY BOWEN CASEY
The day I got to New York, Mac drove all the way from his house to pick me up, bewildered in Brooklyn. As soon as we met again, the first thing out of his mouth was “There’s a party at Cassie’s house tonight. I’m doing a solo show, can you play the drums for me?” I’d never touched a drum in my life up to that point, so I wasn’t sure how to respond. When he saw the expression on my face he lightly patted me on the shoulder, said “It’s okay, I’ll teach you,” and steered us towards Cassie’s house in New Jersey.
The snare was round. That is all I remember of playing the drums for the first time in my life at Cassie Ramone’s house party. I was frantically trying to play, so I don’t remember what songs Mac played or how much attention the audience was paying to us. But after the party, Mac bought me a cheese steak. It looked like the end of the world, but the taste was pure happiness. When I got greedy and put ketchup on my steak, Kiera told me “that’s nonsense.” Hours later, an abnormal amount of sweat was coming out of my head, and I ended up not sleeping until the next morning. The next day, I woke up in the evening and my tongue still hadn’t forgotten the excitement of the night before. While pulling on my tongue, I went to the same place I had the cheese steak. Inside, a bunch of gang kids were saying “No mayonnaise on my cheeseburger!” and “I said just a little beans on my burrito!” It reminded me of something called “seri” in Japan.
Before I went back home, Mac held a BBQ at his house. Mac and Andy said “Yuki, let’s get drunk tonight” and gave me really strong vodka. I can’t drink a lot, so I was immediately wasted and wanted to die, but when I found Shintaro Sakamoto’s record in the living room and sat there spacing out to it alone I felt really good. I went outside just when Andy was facing the ocean and throwing his guts up. Andy came up to me sitting in a chair and started talking to me instructively. “Life is like a journey, so you should always be going to different places and meeting different people.” After Andy said that to me, he threw up again. I looked at the sea. Even with Andy vomiting, the Far Rockaway ocean and the view beyond was beautiful. But I had no clue if the view we could see out past the ocean was Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Mac made a joke, and Kiera looked at it and was laughing again today, too. Juan was eating a mango, and Cola Boy was drinking cola. When I took a good look at Tall Juan, he was really tall after all, and Mathew was talking to a beautiful girl. The important thing to me might not have been the place or environment. It was definitely the people. When I thought about it more, even music, even film, even photography are just things made by “people.” I love people. The moment I had that thought, I realized I hadn’t taken a single picture that day. I panicked and ran into the house, and I threw up in the toilet with all the energy I had.
The day before going back, everyone went off on tour, and no one was left at the Far Rockaway house but me. I got hungry and went back to the place to get a cheese steak. Undaunted by the “seri” gang, I asked for a “cheese steak, no ketchup,” but nothing funny happened. When I got back to the house, even though it was still May, the living room was lit up as if for some celebration with Christmas-y lights. I put on a Shintaro Sakamoto song, and ate my cheese steak alone in the house. It looked like the end of the world, but the taste was pure happiness.
The record player sang:
“I’m glad I could meet you here…”
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