Strength and Sinophobia

Beijing and its great northeastern beyond — the vast and flooded expanses of Northeast China — are looming in my immediate future. T-minus five days.  Footsteps in Beijing, amid its blackened towers and crumbled hutongs, then on and up to Dongbei.  Glancing at Manchurian maps and graphed-out agendas of the movements of my troop and its deliverables, I feel thus as if it’s September 13, 1931, and my name is Doihara Kenji.  But instead of blowing up train tracks and slickening knives, I anticipate arriving as a supplicant, mit Geduld, gliding on intact tracks to vermilion palaces, sheaves of unfinished songs slipping from my hands in the whirlwinds of Han humanity.  Beijing in particular has that effect: if not a conquering rebel, one enters as an awed supplicant, adding but a sliver or a transient etching to the vast overlap of something magnificent whose edges can never be seen.  (Yes!  Even a supplicant to thickening air and dangerous arcs!)  There is very little space to grind in between.

In the meantime there is an awful lot to do here, in greater Seattle, mostly involving the preparation of documents of more or less life-changing or life-sustaining importance.   To the extent, therefore, that I’ll be able to apply my mind to things on the Internet, they’re likely to be of a fragmentary sort of mixed links with commentary and auto-surveillance which you’re free to browse on my Twitter feed.  Once in China, we’ll probe at WordPress and see what comes through, if anything.  If it’s nothing, we transfer the action to my blog and, as they say, “boom goes the dynamite.”

photo by Adam Cathcart


  1. Is your subtle employment of the word f(F)ootsteps an allusion to the presence of a y(Y)oung c(C)aptain in Beijing? Perhaps a trip to garner the acqueiscence of the CCP to his plans to blow the door to North Korea wide open the very moment he can get his feet on the coffee table of destiny in the (Kumsusan) Palace?

    Or maybe you were doing nothing of the sort. It’s been a long day.

    1. Chris, your analysis burrows way down beyond my own surface of expressed intent and, like some kind of bunker-busting bomb, reveals a kind of spectrum of my preëmptive acquiescence as a would-be parvenu to the so-called “people’s democracies” before whose leadership my own proclivities to “objectivity” might in fact crumble. But I do think that your question (capping off another day which doubtlessly witnessed dozens of small-skirmish victories over hangul grammatical particles as well as slow-motion mastery over the entire process of North Korean succession and subconscious grappling with Korea’s pre-integration) lends itself to another question, which is: if the Young Captain has ties to the northwest border regions as it seems his nascent cult posits, then is not Liaoning province and the southernmost lip of Jilin province the most appropriate launching pad (if you’ll forgive the metaphor) for a campaign of either worship or coup dispersion or some mingled admixture of them both? Ah, footsteps on the coffee table of destiny, awaiting, indeed…

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