Youre the biggest friggin buddha Ive ever seen. Bar none. Ten thousand tons of bronze and concrete enlightenment. Youve been sitting there for 800 years, they say. In the lotus position. You used to be inside a building, until a Texas-size typhoon blew it away: 200 mile an hour winds; tidal wave bigger than a Hollywood disaster; thousands swept out to sea. But you just sat there, the awakened one. Cool dude. Youre still cool, right hand raised in a Buddha blessing, half-closed eyes gazing a billion light years across the universe, green streaks running down your metal robe, all the way to the bird droppings on your concrete feet. Nowadays we can climb up inside you and look out through your eye holes. Sort of like that movie where people get inside John Malkovich, except we cant see the totality you see, only surfers and corn dog stands along Enoshima Beach. Ive visited the gardens and temples of Kyoto, but theyre not nearly as impressive: piles of gravel raked into potato furrows, some potted plants, bunch of bathrobed foreigners running around in wooden shoes. No big deal. Youre the real thing. So what if the inside your heads a dark cavern with kids crawling up your nostrils and teenagers talking on cell phones. I, at least, respect you, sitting there on a cement slab, silhouetted against a powerpylon. In the lotus position.

Tokyo Tues 10/31/00