Brian Phillips, “Sea of Crisis”

“Back in Tokyo, I thought the city was a river, the urban element somehow changed to liquid form. In New York, the storefronts come and go but the shape of things stays relatively stable, which is why you can, say, lay a photograph from the 1940s over a neighborhood scene from today. You marvel at the difference, but the edges connect. War, earthquakes, fire, and human ingenuity have annihilated Tokyo over and over again; the city never stops building because it never stops rebuilding. Change comes like a crash, like a wave, the crowd parting and then re-forming around whatever new reality has fallen from the sky. We were shopping for sunglasses, now we’re eating ice cream, let’s listen to music, let’s take pictures with our phones.”

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