Under early spring skys, mountain supermarkets open automatically, streams rush by like lonely expressways. Whats become of you, under this discount mist of boxed lunches, scaffolding, moss flavored denture cement? Westward over Cold Spaghetti Mountain, boom boxes by the waterfall, honking clouds, seniors snap ten thousand digitals, featuring nasty redassed monkeys. Inside government funded shrines and temples, blue robed monks hawk good luck charms, flog magic stones, peddle NHK videos. Nippons mightiest Shogun lies here, pushing up daisies behind sacred whiskey barrels, dancing forever with holy sake kegs. Clairoled college girls gather in smoky coffee shops, chocolate suntans, braying and whinnying shrill as overheated farm animals serenaded by sweet sounds of spring J pop. Nicotined neat guys meander before crashing Pachinko parlors, the best and brightest projectile vomiting last nights Ted Kennedy drinkoff. Mauve mountains ramble beyond the Southern Rampart. Kyotos out there, snooty cultural cosmos, stretched along the Duck Soup River, spattering like a split Polish sausage. Our tour guide wont stop talking. This is Nikko. Theres a bank. Theres a gas station. A river. Theres a red bridge. A tree. Flowers. Hand someone a microphone in this country, they spew words forever. My heads the inside of a bell. Forty minutes nonstop blabber. Finally I take out my headphones. Tune in white noise, static, deafening heavy metal. Nikko, Friday, 03/09/07