Tasseomancy Does Japan!


Over the summer, my sister and I, along with our angelic drummer, had the privilege of travelling to Japan for a month to play music across the country. Though there’s much I could write on, I’ve decided to keep my words minimal and light. One thing I’d like to articulate here requires a bit of back story, so here goes: five years or so ago, while watching a languid Appalachian singer, I began to develop this mild obsession with an experiential feeling unnamed. Developed further by my friend Julia and I over one of our endless nights blowing smoke out an open window, we decided to call this phenomena “Loose Precision.” The idea refers to a gesture or a series of gestures that appear to be spontaneous and “loose” but in actuality are severely calculated and can only come about as a result of concentrated effort or many years of study. While living in Los Angeles for the last year and a half, I noticed the American form of “loose precision” (also referred to in short term as simply “spaghett”) can be seen when watching the loose lips of Chet Baker or Marilyn Monroe, the serene moonwalk of the late Michael Jackson. Here what is meant to pass as effortless entertainment is actually a collective witness of a kind of soft mastery. In Japan, I felt the aura of loose precision EVERYWHERE—not just in the grace of the Greats, but also in the mundane everyday. Objects, which at first glance seemed simple and unornate, somehow emanated the perfect weight, the ideal shape. Clothes flowed oversized and freestyle, yet fit uncannily like a billowing glove. Bathtubs, incessantly deep; toilet seats, pre-warmed and inviting. And to add to the aura of objects, I sensed a series of agreed upon methodologies for daily routines, so that even lunchtime can feel gently choreographed.  I’m reluctant to write about all the beautiful human beings that I met while I was there, as they were much more complex and varied then an elegant gesture, an ashtray, or a ceramic bowl. I will say though, that almost every person I met seemed to possess a sort of secret/not-so-secret reverence for whatever it is they do. Even the punk bands were flawless in their perfectly distressed teeth, their hair worn high, and their given names devotionally changed to “Johnny Rotten.”