No Right Answer

No Right Answer
Forest Muran

There are no right answers. You answered incorrectly. Dig deep into the well. The year the earth dies, the ants will remain, crawling gingerly like black little quavers, the Lord’s last great dirge.
Humans will always find a way to survive, it’s our salvation. 別段恐とも思わない。
Shaking, I’m really shaking. Doomsday. Buildings crumble under seismic quakes of a red-eyed Republican’s speech. Give the self-righteous devil a residence in Auschwitz already! I can’t tolerate the intolerant. But peace and love, in any scenerio. Inimigo intimo. Always try to be a little conservative. Modest girls in a modern world. Hell naw, I didn’t campaign for Lincoln. I only do democrat. Padre Peter and his possy of promiscuous little puppies says that “commitalism killed my career, and now it’s time to pay.” One wonders if the supreme price is the commodification of virtue. I was visciously shaped by my shapeshifting lover, a being of dark shadows, a beautiful ghost. She only wanted social dominion, that obtuse, bellicose man. A ghost who hung from a withered rope, seeming dim in the moon’s pale april light.
Next, the subject is: Beautiful women. To women, women are not beautiful. To men, women are not beautiful. Women are not beautiful. For women are only men. Larger men with masks, who have morphed into strange wives, worshippers of the suffering self. Add a 女 and you’re good to go. Sri Krishna, reveal yourself. He routinely slurps fat noodles. He never eats. He never reads. He always needs, needs, needs. He’s so fat you could cram him into a carousel and his gravitational force would cause the gears to turn. That’s science. She’s so fat that if she ate the earth her fleshy insides would warm up the ice caps and then we’d all be out of a job in this bog of a portentious world. Fine art has no practical purpose, no possibility for owning the lactating liberals. But a r t is how we breath. Art will inevitably suffocate us.
The Buddha will come and wash over this dying world. The Buddha will sit and do nothing. The Buddha is ourselves. He smokes pot on top of the stove, cross-legged, starving. A true medicated mendicant. She needs it to survive her daily, self-imposed anxiety. It’s not her fault. Just avoid drugs, said Bodhisattva Jim Jones. Don’t drink the Kool Aid. Why is it that only the cool kids ever got aids? Laid down to rest in his cavernous tomb, the Lord rose after three days and three nights. Jesus in the tomb. Jonah in the fat woman. Bright red night かな.

そ 謎 謎
れ の の
は 世 世
だ な は
け が
よ ら

– 森

You are welcome here. You are not welcome here. You are not welcome here. You are welcome here.
Welcome, welcome.


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Chasing Clouds

Chasing Clouds
Forest Muran

Rushing out to reach with outstretched arms,
this clearly super-preternatural, pale form
that emerged one day from some elemental,
though essentially unremembered horizon
from a distance,
seeing it merge as one with sunlight,
and readily vanishing here and there
between scandalizing blue,
basically beautiful,
like seeing something pure for once, levitating,
but lost within an obscure sky.

As though floating up from some great, forgotten mouth,
equipped with a coquettish cigarette from which it quickly, and quietly, puffs,
like a cruel, amorous machine dug out of some deep, dangerous dream,
releasing a vague, ashen kiss of mist,
sent up straight to the sky-blue ceiling, white puffs of puerile stuff,
reflective organisms bound to the dark throat of origins,
the forgotten stratus formed within silver fogs of possessive peaks
from which they know they cannot return.

And then this nauseating horizon gives importance to wispy questions,
the white nebulae now released on cloud six,
now floating in a seemingly forever sky,
always aware of that limping inevitability,
that hypothesis in haze that touches all things,
the understanding that those first puffed
must invariably all be snuffed,
and reach their own sparkling end.
–                                    (Now it’s the end), was it good?

And we all know that the looming sun’s shadow
shall spread across the surface like a little, pouting lip,
will one day unfold itself upon our great, frantic forests and cities,
diverting all memory of sensation toward one, singular point of solace.

But we will rush, arms outstretched,
keeping up with our drifting dreams.


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Boiling Water

Boiling Water
Forest Muran

Inside, it’s getting close to dinner time.
Tonight it will be rice and onions
Which will warm this soul,
While outside flakes of soundless, white snow
Fall like cold light reflected upon cave walls.
In the time it takes for the slow tempo
Of a snowflake to fall into consolidation,
The hot water releases its blisters,
And desires to melt with the white rice
And to boil for an eternity.

Eventually all dreams will come to an end,
As busy time never takes a moment
From its eager journey toward the kingdom of becoming.

The present hangs like a living painting,
Like a crystalized scene viewed from a frosted window.

Before a moment can be claimed,
The onions are done,
the rice is cooked.

In sixty years, will this snow remain?
Is sixty years, what will the window observe?


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The Wisdom of King Solomon: A Collection of Slippery Verses

The Wisdom of King Solomon: A Collection of Slippery Verses
Forest Muran


Who shall find a flower, and forget the whole world in its fragrant groves? Who shall smell the sweet scent of perfection which blooms forth from the ideal lotus, that explosion of focused awareness? Who will experience that explosion of pure sense which follows the consumption of a salmon pearl, and will wrap themselves up within the wondrous wisdom of King Solomon? Who will merge magic with the material, mix spirit with sulphur, and season the salamander with salt? Whosoever does this, I will call wise.


The moment is a blade which cuts through time; it cuts through the illusion of time.

The sharp petals of the material bloom go boom boom and break down the plaster wall, in no time at all.


The moment is a blade which cuts through water; it cuts through the illusion of water.

The sharp petals of the material bloom go boom boom and break down the liquidy wall. What never was can never fall. There was never any time at all.


All the kin of Adam and Even are sick. They were made to ail by that infected apple of the timeless realm. But the gates of good Eden extend even to the ends of this earth, and the bacteria of fruit have their own lofty religion within which they worship consumption so that their beautiful truths might be spread, disseminating into the minds of man. Consequently, leaving man for dead, the devout bacteria build new churches for their microbial souls. If true, then Adam’s cough is the very prayer of the cosmos. The King of death has certainly studied medicine.


A word from Adam. “Verily, verily O creator, bounteous and benign, thy Will hath brought upon me a sufficiency of happiness and a tolerability of spirit. Yet besides, O bounteous God, I have still an odious grumble which works upon me, across these dark, celestial nights. Wherefore hast Thou created within us a pleasure for divine transgression? Understandeth me well, Lord, I grumble not for the wonders of Thy creation, which are fine, but nevertheless I still find it strange that I should feel such lightness in heart when, for example, Eve sayeth something so stupid and I seize upon the opportunity to mock her ignorance, say when she confuseth Thy creation dubbed Pig with Thy creation dubbed Bee. Verily, at Eve I do laugh, and at Eve I do kick, and therebye derive great joy. But even so, Gabriel scoldeth me, and sayeth ‘Adam, ’tis cruel to kick at Eve, even when she remembereth not the names of Creation.’ Why thus, O Lord my God, do I find such pleasure in these things? Why hast Thy Will commanded I feel pleasure in these cruel jokes and destructive jests? Why must I laugh at the dumb and blind alike?”


The wise man wears his heart on his sleeve, and is aware when the wares of awakening are awaiting him within the awesome answers of the awkward Lord. Be gentle with the Lord, your God, who gave you life! For the bounteous Lord is bashful, like a modest demoiselle. Verily, when thou knock, the Lord hideth.


The fool, however, wears his brain on his pants, and is only aware of his body when he feels the creeping, prodding legs of black ants. Worried about insects infecting his sensitive areas, the fool continually keeps his downward vigil, never to look to heaven. This woeful fool is forever ignorant of the Dharma, which is the law of men (and women) and ants alike, and forgets that ants, when awakened to the song of the universe, will naturally know which areas on a man are a no-go.


The rose of the sensuous world has its stem firmly planted in the spirit. The flower spreads its roots into the depths of the earth so as to suck at the spiritual nourishment of the earth. Thereby its material being is manifest. Like the trees of the forest, though man may emerge as singular in body, the roots of the spirit will always unite on a more subtle plane of existence, and thereby man transcends death.


And woman can transcend death as well, but only if she wants to.


And if you don’t think death can be transcended, that’s OK too. Far better to embody the salamander, and not fear the flames of an afterlife. Eve once saw Adam fall from a tree (not the famous one), and she laughed late into the evening. Later, she would always remind Adam of it. “You looked so dumb, that time you fell from the tree, with your arms flailing about like a mole (she meant monkey)! Truly, was that not what we could call the original fall of man?”


Solomon’s demon friend slash slave slash lover Asmodeus once summoned a horrific freak of creation, an odious two-headed man lifted straight from the depths of hell. Wow, when Solomon saw that, he placed his holy hands together and prayed, “thanks Lord, Thou maketh me feel glad to be in such a better state than this wretched, monstrous creature.” Asmodeus expected congratulations, or at least a pat on the head, but the King spurned him, disgusted by this diabolical demonstration. “Thou hast displeased me,” said King Solomon to his obsequious demon. “I care not for a man with two heads. Bring me a bottle with two mouths! Bring me a horse with four legs! Bring me a woman with eight lips! I have no use for a man with two heads, and a fairly unattractive one at that.” With that, the man with two heads bowed both of them down in deep despair, and presently departed from the castle. He later found a fulfilling job as a scribe, married a strong, competent woman, and fathered a handful of healthy, normal children. Only one of them had two heads, and this child was considered to be the most vexing of them all. That was the last time the demon Asmodeus tried anything like that.


Let not a man be distracted by that which has no use to him, as the bee avoids the superfluous flowers of the field which cannot be used for producing their honey. For the dirt may be useful to such creatures as worms and beetles, but what helps the bee produce its sweet goods lies closer to the heavens.


Let not a man born of illness believe that he is destined for illness, as the sobbing lily who reluctantly oozes from a sickly, trypic pod, only to later be reborn as the peaceful flower of the amphibian’s kingdom. The ways of divine beauty are a mystery to all, and the destination of all beings remains uncertain. The awakening seed cannot yet be seen through the heavy dirt which surrounds it.


That said, just because the future is uncertain, that doesn’t mean it’s going to get any better.


It doesn’t mean it’s going to get any worse, either. Only the rose knows. And the nose knows, too. Follow the scent of the salamander!


Let a man not assume what is good for his master, like the doctor who attempts to assuage syphilis with mercury. Tradition may have its own cures and remedies, but rarely did quicksilver, nor quick reactions, ever help heal a worldly woe.


Pray that someday a poem might give you peace. And if your parents don’t let you pray, just say “I wish that someday a poem might give me peace.”


King Solomon was once visited by G-d in a dream. In this dream, Solomon was told that he could have any wish he wanted. For a long time, Solomon considered his options (though this was of course dream-time, where time is illusory). King Solomon could have wished for a reversal of climate catastrophe, calling all the ancient kingdoms to a green initiative to recycle cow hyde and corn husks. He could have wished for the liberation of women from their woeful domestic duties, giving them the time and privilege to pursue the higher pleasures of mitzvot. He could have wished for freedom from the oppressive bourgeois religion that ravaged the kingdom, but considering who he was speaking with, Solomon avoided mentioning it. Instead, King Solomon decided upon a simple wish: For wisdom. “A fair wish,” said G-d. “But would you not perhaps prefer something more interesting? Say, superintelligence, or the ability to walk through fire?” King Solomon stroked his sagely beard. “That does sound quite tempting.” “Well, it’s too late now,” said G-d. “You made your wish. Now you will need to stomach wisdom.” Just as he was about to get pissed, King Solomon felt a flash of illumination, and he experienced his entire being quivering with Buddhahood. “OK,” he said. “Everything is OK.” A moment later, King Solomon slowly opened his liquid eyes to reveal the familiar palace chamber. As he let in the morning light, a sparkling feeling of peace spread from his heart to his whole body. He rolled his naked flesh over in bed, and gazed into the eyes of his 700 wives, showing them each his new, sublime smile. “Well, don’t you look wise today,” said one of the 700 wives. Solomon nodded his head. “I just had the most wonderful dream.” One of King Solomon’s wives started complaining about how she couldn’t get any sleep with the King’s constant snoring throughout the night. The King just laughed. “My snore is the very prayer of G-d!” With that, he never felt upset at anything again. And if he did, he knew that whatever problem he faced would not last. Like an evanescent dream in the night, all experiences shall soon pass into the great, grey shade of dim memory, and then eventually fall into deep, dark nothingness.


And as the years went by, King Solomon witnessed the beauty of his favourite concubines, with names like Rita and Ruth and Rosie, pass into that state non-being, as their smooth faces melted into a mesh of rubbery flesh, as withering flowers lose their once pleasing pigments. Even in the mirror, the powerful King saw his own strong muscles sag, and his noble features, once compared to the primordial majesty of Adam, now grown old and bloated. Truly, King Solomon was wise to place his faith not in things such as the taste of potato latkes or the face of a well-formed woman, but into the glory of G-d. In any case, it didn’t really take that much faith, since King Solomon had actually encountered G-d directly in a dream. When you experience the divine directly, spiritual life becomes a cinch.


Mere salamander traps, these fleeting dreams under the summer moon. Before you can catch them, the slippery creatures will surely slide between your fingers, and slime their way across the sticky ground back into their muddy, murky retreat. They love living in ponds and swamps, where they can search for beetles, bees, and roses to eat. If only all people could see the sacred dreams which Solomon saw, then that slippery salamander could finally be captured, and the flames of perplexing passions extinguished with the help of that aquatic friend. Surely, the slithering salamander, with its texture of quicksilver, could slide from Solomon’s deep sleep into our own, blessing us with a vision of sacred veracity. The person who knows the sacred salamander, and feeds its eager mouth the fragrant rose – whosoever does this, I will call wise.

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Lesson #3 – アンタラ通信 Part 1

Japanese Lesson # 3 – t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 アンタラ通信 (Antara News)

int JTV()

On our last journey in to the Vaporworld, we finished translating all the text on Macintosh Plus’s Floral Shoppe, and reviewed some of the core concepts we’ve encountered so far, such as katakana, kanji, and the particle. We even learned a new particle, , which functions similarly to the English “and”. In this lesson, we’re going to get a bit more advanced, and dive right into the mystical dimensions of t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. Yet another legend in the Vaporworld, Telepath takes a different approach to the style than most musicians, seeking to explore the more dreamy and surreal sides of Vaporwave. Telepath is certainly the most mystical artist in the Vaporworld, and as we will see in today’s lesson, the artist’s album titles and tracks tend to reflect this allusive, transcendent quality.

The specific album I will be focusing on today is Telepath’s アンタラ通信, a title which I have translated as “Anatara News”. This is the Telepath album that I’ve seen discussed the most, and so have chosen it so that most readers might be familiar with it already. If you aren’t yet familiar, you can listen to and purchase the album here:–27

Firstly, the most important thing is to look at Telepath’s actual artist name, which prominently, and notoriously, features Japanese characters. Thankfully, we’ve learned enough so far on our journey to easily be able to decode what’s going on.

テレパシー能力者 (terepashii nouryoku mono) – Telepathic Ability Person

As the more observant Japanese Through Vaporwave readers will have probably already noticed, the first part of Telepath’s name is comprised entirely of katakana:


This katakana simply represents the foreign loanword “telepathy”. To be perfectly honest, the Japanese segment of Telepath’s name was giving me a difficult time, since I had never seen the word 能力者 used before, and could find no dictionary entry for it. Of course, the individual kanji

能力 (nouryoku) – ability

and the qualifier

(mono) – kind of person

are both commonly used, but together the term “ability person” didn’t make much sense, and I suspected it was perhaps a translation error and the intended meaning was “talented person” or “skilled person”. But upon further research, I found an example sentence on Weblio which suggested that, taken as a whole, the name テレパシー能力者 literally translates to “telepath,” or “ a person with a telepathic ability.” This phrase doesn’t appear to be very common in Japanese however, as most of the results that appears when you look it up on Google are specifically related to the vaporwave artist.

In any case, we can now slide deep into sleep mode in peace, satisfied knowing the full meaning of Telepath’s mystifying name. Next function: The album title.

アンタラ通信 (antara tsuushin) – Antara News

The title of this album is a mysterious one, and it’s a little difficult to see why Telepath would have chosen it. As far as translation goes, the title is simple enough:

アンタラ (antara)

makes use of katakana, representing a foreign loan word, in this case what I suspect is a name.

通信 (tsuushin) – Correspondence, Transmission, News

is comprised of two kanji,

to pass through


faith, trust

and would usually be translated as something like “communications,” as in

衛星通信 (eiseitsuushin) – satellite communication

but in this case, I suspect Telepath may have been trying to create a Japanese translation of “Antara News,” which is the national news agency of Indonesia. This is the most prominent source I’ve found online making use of the name “Antara,” and that leads me to suspect that this is likely Telepath was referring to with the album title.

If this was truly Telepath’s initial intention, the title may have been more accurately translated as

アンタラニュース (antara nyuusu) – antara news

which makes use of the katakana for the foreign loan word “news”. This is the typical way of representing news programs in Japan, as in Japan’s own national NHKニュース7.

As to why Telepath would have made use of this particular title, it may have to do with the motif of the unknown and the anonymous in vaporwave. While Antara News is hardly anything mysterious to people living in Indonesia, for a traveller in a foreign country there is certainly something very strange and alienating about watching a television program in a language you can’t understand, employing social codes you’ve never before encountered. The experience can be daunting and alarming, but in that state of quiet shock there is also an element of beauty, like the beauty you find when embarking on the dangerous task of trying to scale a great, looming mountain. You may find that you ultimately lack the strength and the resources to arrive at the goal you have your sights on, but nevertheless, standing at the bottom, you might look up at the imposing, impossible object with a certain awe. The same is true with foreign media. It’s a matter of confronting the unknown, and there’s something somewhat spiritually beautiful about that. That is, perhaps, the meaning that Telepath was attempting to strike at with the title of this album.

OK, that’s it for now, Vaporones. I’m very happy that these posts have been receiving as much attention as they have been, and I want to give my sincerest thanks to everyone who has been encouraging this project. I hope these lessons are of some use to you, and are helping clear away just a little bit of the haze found in that misty maze of the mysterious Vaporworld.

Next up, we’ll look at the アンタラ通信 track titles.

Incoming fog… exit(0)


Japanese Through Vaporwave Main Page

Lesson #2 – Floral Shoppe Part 2

Japanese Lesson # 2 – Floral Shoppe Part 2: Track Titles

int JTV()

On our last journey into the Vaporworld, we examined the text on the cover of the Floral Shoppe album, and through it we were introduced to a few concepts in the Japanese language: Katakana, Kanji, and the particle. Today, we’re going to take things a step farther and update our knowledge by looking at the track names on the Floral Shoppe album. Let’s find out what all those mysterious characters mean, and learn a bit of Japanese while doing it!

Note: The track titles that I will be examining are from the classic 2011 release of the album. There have been a few other subsequent releases, but I believe that this original release contains the tracks that most people are familiar with, and so we will be using this as the basis for this article.

You can listen to the version of the album we will be discussing here:

The current page for Floral Shoppe on the Beer on the Rug bandcamp contains fewer tracks. Although it will not be the version we will be consulting, this is the link you should visit if you want to support the artist:

1. ブート (buuto): Boot

Remember what we said about katakana? It’s one of the two syllabic alphabets in Japanese, and this one is mostly used for representing foreign loan words, for some names, and sometimes for emphasis. In this case, ブート is using katakana to represent a foreign word, the English word “boot”. Now, hold onto your swivel chair, because this isn’t the kind of boot you wear on your feet. Instead, this means, of course, the action of “booting a computer”.

While the word is indeed used in Japanese to refer to starting a computer, I haven’t seen it used a lot myself. Instead, 立ち上げる (たちあげる tachiageru) seems to be used more often. This word uses two kanji: (to stand up, rise) and (up, above). Nevertheless, the term is idiomatic, combining 立つ and 上げる together, which are often seen as two separate words.

Macintosh Plus’s use of ブートhere is actually correct, since, despite being from English, this word takes up much less space than 立ち上げる, and is more likely to be used on things like computer boot screens. It is a more than appropriate way of beginning our trip into this album’s strange world.

2. リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー (りさふらんく420 / げんだいのこんぴゅー – risafuranku 420 / gendai no konpyuu): Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computer

Easily the most recognizable song on the entire album, it also features the longest track name and, by extension, a valuable opportunity to learn some Japanese! Let’s dig into it.

By this point, we’re pretty much experts on katakana, aren’t we? Maybe we aren’t able to read the alphabet quite yet (I am currently working on an educational resource for JPT that will help readers learn how to read katakana – please keep your tabs open!) but at this point we at least know what it is. It is with katakana that this title begins, representing the name Lisa Frank, an American designer of colourful commercial images for children. The usage is entirely appropriate, since Lisa Frank isn’t a Japanese name, and would indeed be rendered using the katakana alphabet. The 420 part is a bit more mysterious – perhaps the implication here is that, after indulging in some 420 activities, the THC in your body will transform your vision of the world into something resembling a Lisa Frank illustration. I don’t know what recreational substances Macintosh Plus has been engaging with, but it must be some potent stuff.

The second part, after the slash mark, features more kanji. This time, the word is 現代 (げんだいgendai) which means “the modern era”. コンピュー (konpyuu) is a strange word, since I don’t believe it’s used in Japanese. It is obviously meant to represent “computer” in katakana, but usually the katakana コンピュータ (konpyuuta) is used for that purpose. I’ve seen the titled translated as “modern computing” before, but unless コンピュー is some kind of slang or shortening I am not familiar with, I can’t see a reason the translation would be understood as “computing” and not simply “computer.”

Finally, the character between 現代 and コンピュー is, as you probably all remember, the notorious particle. As we said last lesson, it’s meant to connect two nouns together. In this case, the particle is giving us more information about the main noun, which is, as we said last time, always the last one. In this case, the main noun is コンピュー, computer. What kind of computer is it? It’s a 現代 (gendai) computer – a modern computer! It’s a little amusing, seeing that the kinds of computers usually featured in nostalgia-rich vaporwave imagery are from around the 80s and 90s – I suppose those old models were 現代 at some point!

3. 花の専門店 (はなのせんもんてン hana no senmonten): Flower Specialty Store / Floral Shoppe

This is a cute one, and shows something of the subtle humour demonstrated by Macintosh Plus in this album. This title, as readers of the last article probably know, contains the kanji 専門店, which means “specialty store”. The first kanji is just (hana) – flower. So, this track title is just yet another way of representing the album’s title – Floral Shoppe. Again, note the use of the particle, providing us more information on the last noun. What kind of a 専門店 is it? It’s, of course, a 専門店 of a Shop of Flowers!

4. ライブラリ (raiburari) – Library

If you’ve been following everything so far, this title should be easy enough. Again, Macintosh Plus uses katakana to represent a foreign loan word. The word ライブラリ isn’t used too frequently in Japan. When it is used, it’s usally used in the sense of “a collection of works”, as in a software library – which, come to think of it, may have been what Macintosh Plus was intending when naming these tracks. As for the actual physical place where you go to look at books, in Japan they say 図書館 (としょかんtoshokan).

5. 地理 (ちりchiri) – Geography

Maybe when you go to the library, you’re compelled to visit the geography section? I’m not entirely sure what motivation Mactintosh Plus had for the naming of this track, but it is one of the two tracks on this album named after academic subjects – we’ll get to the second soon enough. Perhaps the names are simply meant to go along with the library theme, or evoke an image of retro educational resources? In any case, the artist’s intention was probably far more poetic than logical. There is something about the abstract ideal of attaining knowledge, of dedicating oneself to study and bettering the state of society, moving toward a looming ideal of ultimate happiness and satisfaction for everyone on the planet, that aligns with a certain utopian strain in vaporwave.

6. ECCOと悪寒ダイビング (ECCOとおかんダイビングECCO to okan daibingu): ECCO and Chills Diving

I assume that ECCO in this track is a nod to Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1, another formative album in the vaporwave genre, which is itself a reference to the 1992 game Ecco the Dolphin developed for the Sega Genesis (also known as the Mega Drive, as seen in the giant text reading “MEGA” on the front of the album cover). 悪寒 (おかんokan) is a word refering to “chills” and “shakes” – more specifically, the chills that go along with being sick. Literally, the two kanji and mean “bad” and “cold.” ダイビング is just a katakana representation of the English word “diving.” 悪寒 is noun, so it doesn’t make much sense to just press it up against ダイビング without an accompanying particle. I suspect Macintosh Plus’s intention was to say “chill diving”, with chill acting as an adjective. In that case, 冷たいダイビング (つめたいダイビングtsumetai daibingu), or “cold diving”, may have been a better translation, but the text is nevertheless very charming just the way it is, imperfections and all.

One more note: We’ve already learned about the particle, but Macintosh Plus uses another particle here to link two nouns together. Can you tell which one it is? It’s the (to) particle, of course! It’s pronounced like the little wiggling little things on your feet that help you keep upright. The particle is a lot like the English conjunction “and”. So in this case, Macintosh Plus is mentioning two seperate subjects: ECCO and () 悪寒ダイビング. So free up some storage space, please, and make a mental folder for our second particle – ! We are sure to see it again in a future lesson.

7. 数学 (すうがくsuugaku): Mathematics

This is another easy one to understand. Like the track “地理, this track title refers to an academic subject, in this case mathematics. Perhaps its another subject that you have an interest in, during your visit to the library? The two kanji used here are (number) and (study). (gaku) is a common kanji that you’ll see a lot, especially if you’re in high school or university. It’s simply tagged onto the end of a word to indicate that it is “the study of” a thing. For example, 文学 (ぶんがくbungaku) is the study of literature, and 哲学 (てつがくtetsugaku) is the study of philosophy. Our current subject of study, however, is of Mactintosh Plus’s album Floral Shoppe, so let’s continue onto the last track title.

8. 待機 (たいき– taiki): Standing By

This is the last track on the original 2011 release and also has a simple title, comprised of two kanji representing a single word – 待機 or, in English, “Standing By”. I assume the meaning Macintosh Plus was going for was in the sense of radio or television programs interrupting their broadcast in order to present the audience with a message – as in, “we are experiencing technical difficulties. Please Stand by.” That would suggest the ending of Floral Shoppe to be marked by a certain technical interruption, with the intention being that the regular programing will soon be resumed. But of course, in the case of this album, that program is never resumed, and the album comes to a full stop. It’s a bit of a creepy way to end an album, if that was indeed what Macintosh Plus was intending with this last track name. Nevertheless, the sentiment fits into the atmosphere of the Vaporworld perfectly – the warmth and comfort of recorded human culture is shut off, leaving you alone in the silence of a mysterious, dark, and threatening reality.

That’s it! We’ve looked at the entire Floral Shoppe album! I hope this journey into the Vaporworld has been informative and interesting to you, and I hope you’ve picked up a little Japanese on the way, as well. Next time on Japanese Through Vaporwave, I will be taking a look at some of the music of one of the most notorious user of Japanese text in the Vaporworld – the mysterious, and always mystical, t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. See you next time!

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Lesson #1 – Floral Shoppe Part 1

Japanese Lesson #1 – Floral Shoppe

When embarking upon your journey toward the Japanese language through the Vaporworld, there is no better place to begin than Floral Shoppe. Considered by many to not only be the origin of vaporwave as a real genre, but also of the ubiquitous Japanese text motive, Floral Shoppe has truly achieved a legendary status. It would be difficult to find anyone in the Vaporworld not also familiar with this album.

Because of that, the first portal we’re going to leap through is Macintosh Plus’s Floral Shoppe.

You can listen to the album here.

In this first lesson, we will take a close look at the Japanese text on the cover of the album, and by doing so will come to learn about the Japanese ”particle and will be introduced to the concepts of Japanese katakana and kanji. Let’s initialize!

First, the iconic album art freaturing the Helio bust. The original 2011 album art features two bits of Japanese text near the top:



プラス reads PU-RA-SU (plus) in katakana, which is one of the two Japanese syllabic scripts (the other is hiragana). Katakana is usually reserved for foreign loan words like アルバイト (arubaito – from arbeit in German – it means part-time work in Japanese) and バックミュージック (bakkumuujikku – back music, or background music), as well as for names, emphasis, onomatopoeia, among other things. It’s use is similar to italics in English, if italics were another alphabet entirely!

フローラルの専門店 (フローラルのせんもんてん – furooraru no senmonten) is a literal translation of the album name, Floral Shoppe.

フローラル (furooraru) is another katakana rendering of a foreign word, like we just encountered. This is of course a katakana version of “floral”, as in the title of the album.

専門店 (せんもんてんsenmonten) refers to a specialty store that stocks mostly items of a similar kind. In this case, our 専門店 is a フローラル specialty store – a floral store or, a Floral Shoppe! As a side note, sometimes “shop” is spelled as “shoppe” in English because it’s an older, more artistocratic-looking way of spelling the word, giving a store a more of an authentic feeling, I suppose. The same meaning isn’t really conveyed in 専門店, which is just literally a specialty store.


We mentioned that Japanese has two syllabic scripts. Well, backup your harddrive, because things are about to get even more fragged up. Japanese also makes use of Chinese characters, called kanji (漢字), and there’s over 2,000 of them in common use in Japan. The more you learn Japanese, however, the more useful you’ll begin to find this aspect of the language. Being able to read lots of data in a single character can be very useful! It’s paticularily useful for making short track titles, as we’ll find later on. And since the Japanese language doesn’t use spaces (“ “), kanji is an essential way of making it so the Japanese language doesn’t just look like a long string of nonsensical text. Granted, if this is your first time studying Japanese, that’s how it probably looks anyway! But good things come to those who persist! Don’t give up! This article is your first step on the journey toward fluency!


One more note – those students with more processing power may have noticed the symbol connecting the two words in Floral Shoppe’s Japanese title. What’s the meaning of this!? Were you baffled!? What part of the title “Floral Shoppe” could this mysterious symbol possibly connect with?

The answer is quite simple, thankfully. (no, pronounced as in the statement “NO! Floral Shoppe Cassettes are all sold out!”) is a particle in Japanese – like the words “of”, “from”, “to”, “at” in English. Simply put, the particle is used to connect nouns in Japanese. More specifically, in this case, it is acting as a modifying particle. That just means it’s giving us more data about the main word, which is 専門店 which, remember, translates as “specialty store”.

So! What kind of specialty store are we dealing with? We’re dealing with a フローラル (floral) speciality store.

フローラル の 専門店

(floral no shop)

In English, this construction can be represented as

Shop of floral

Here “of” is acting as the modifier for shop. Note how the construction is reversed in English, where the main noun comes first. This holds true in other examples, such as:


(ice no lake)

Lake of ice


(Japan no music)

Music of Japan

The important thing to remember is that usually is found connecting two nouns together, with the last noun being the most important one.

Next lesson, we’re going to look at the tracks on the album individually, and put our new knowledge about katakana, kanji, and the particle to the test! Please don’t overload with excitement! Can’t wait to see you there! exit(0)


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Fidelity Review

Deep Down



Fidelity by producer / songwriter Deep Down aka Roo

Statement of Transparency: The artist for this EP contacted me directly, asking me to give it a review, and even sent me a wonderful package in the mail containing a copy of the CD along with a very nice, personalized message. As such, this review reflects both a gratitude to the artist as well as my own musings that came about from my personal interaction with the album.

Forest Muran

It's often assumed that we find the divine in what is pleasant in life. Putative godliness is often conflated with pleasure. What is physically or emotionally unpleasant, on the other hand, is considered to be bad, or in extreme cases, evil, and most feel that it should be avoided. Voltaire, after the Lisbon earthquake, broke with his optimistic worldview that we are living in an ideal world. After all, in what ideal world can there be so much meaningless pain, death and suffering? Voltaire found none of the arguments put forth by Christian apologists to be convincing.

Zen Buddhism on the other hand suggests that there is no contradiction. There is a divinity in all things, and that we only divide the world into good and bad as a result of our own ignorance of absolute reality. After all, what is unpleasant often turns out to be very good in the long run, while what can seem pleasant can turn out to have very unfortunate consequences. In general, we just don't know. Our mortal perspective is too limited.

Thanks for the album, Roo!

Fidelity, a new album by producer and singer-songwriter Roo, here using the alias Deep Down, deals both lyrically and sonically with what is generally considered to be evil. The tag line for the album, “bad music for bad people,” suggests an album perhaps written for people like Charles Manson or the Marquis de Sade. But as Michael Jackson once asked: Who's bad? Really, a “bad person” is one living within illusion, unable to see how their idea of “good” is actually harmful to themselves and others. We become bad from circumstance, from the influence of the deluded people we grow up with. Because there are so many negative influences around we are all, in some way or another, bad people. We are flawed people who harm one another in little ways each and every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. Fidelity then tackles a theme which speaks to all of us.

From the loss of innocence, to a meditation on the apocalyptic consciousness of our times, DEEP DOWN crams a lot of sentiment and feeling into such a short EP – each of the four tracks is less than 4 minutes, with the entire EP clocking in at just around 10 minutes. Nevertheless, its creative production and evocative lyrics allow a lot to be said within its short playtime.

The EP is short, crisp, and bitter, with its abstract lyrics conveying more of a vague sense of anxiety and dread than any specific narrative. There is, however, something beautiful to be found at the heart of this EP, a plea for enlightenment within a dark tunnel, a sense of the divine amongst the smoky ashes of human feeling. The title, Fidelity, is ambiguous, and reaches out in multiple semantic directions. Fidelity of course is an important concept in the digital age, an area of interest for artist Roo, where most of what we see is a copy of something else. We live in a high fidelity age where everything from classical paintings to personal emotions are reproduced in high fidelity for global consumption. Moreover, fidelity could refer to the faithfulness of nostalgia, of coming back to a world and seeing that it has remained intact – which, almost innevitably, it has not. Idealization then kicks in, a reversion to an early mode of thinking, in order to escape, if not from the more challenging realities of real life, then from the challenging realities of our own cynical minds.

Letter from Roo. RoO. Thanks Roo!

The artist himself cites genres such as noise, nu-metal, trap, and experimental hip-hop as prominent influences, and the sounds of groups like Death Grips and Nine Inch Nails definitely resonate within the EP. Although Roo claims his work no longer takes cues from avant-garde metal group Mr. Bungle, the frequent changes of texture and style in this EP definitely point to some lingering affinity. In general, the sound of Fidelity is extremely eclectic, taking some influence from a good portion of extant aggressive, high-energy music genres.

This first track, "...", consists of a narration given by a friend of the artist, an EMT, giving an account of a man losing his eyeball after being punched in the face. This detail starts the album on a rather morbid note. Like a good horror story, this opening narration reminds us that we are mortal, and that someday we will die. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Like in a Cormac McCarthy novel, we are made aware of the banality of violence. Good, bad – it's just the way it is sometimes.

The second track, "Exit Bag", which was previously featured on a compilation put together by noise label Brutal Resonance, gives us our first taste of Roo's vocal style. Breathy, anxious, and tormented, the vocals seem like a blend of Eminem's rapid verbiage, the whispering anxieties of nu-metal, and the surreal, noisy vocals of Death Grips. The production on the track is energetic and ominous, with the crunching synths giving it a bitter edge. Sirens and vocal distortions also pin-point the track in a very urban world, potentially a dystopian one tormented by the brute facts of ubiquitous violence, from which our only escape is through a death bag.

The lyrics also help paint an image of this nightmare-ish urban world. At one point, Roo talks about how he can never go home because “'cause it's all / washed down with the rain through a filth-clogged drain.” The lyrics are abound with a sense of a lost innocence, and a lost childhood. Perhaps through the naive eyes of a child, the clamour of urban / suburban life is given an aspect of wonder and joy, but as a cynical adult the city may just seem like a melting pot of suffering and moral degeneration.

The third track, "8ball", perhaps has the biggest Death Grips influence, with its strange, bizarre synth designs buzzing away beneath abstract, aggressive vocalizations. The lyrics give a sense of the pale dullness of a lot of our life on the internet, on social media. If the early modernist were concerned with the meaninglessness found in early 20th century life, they would certainly have occasion to laugh at the absurdity of the social media age. As Roo says, “you're no one, nothing, nevermind you design / new ways for us to waste our time.” So much of life on the internet is wasted time, and yet for some reason we keep going back to making the same jokes on twitter, or going over the same, worn arguments which ultimately have no solution. We seem to enjoy argument and doomsday prophesying for its own sake, or perhaps because it gives us a tenuous sense of identity within a cold, digital realm where we are able to perceive so clearly how little our personal identity matters. For many people, the idea that their personal identity is illusory and meaningless is extremely frightening, and they will claw and scrape in order to retain the illusion that they have a history, some concrete place in the context of this nebulous world, even if that means hurting and criticizing others, building an identity through exclusion.

Construction of Identity Online or Becoming a Person made of Words. Artist: Forest Muran, 2017 (that's me, this is me desperately cosntructing my identity)

Perhaps this obsession with identity comes from how much the social media age feeds our sense of ego. If television, like Andy Warhol once said, promised to give everyone their own 15-seconds of fame, the internet promises to give everyone the illusion of continuous fame, and affirmation of having a consistent identity. “I can't help you if you want it all,” Roo sings. Increasingly, people want the world – a great job, a nice car, a beautiful home, lots of social media followers, a beautiful lover, and opportunity to travel around the world. Even more than having these things, people want others to see them having these things. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned in life, and no person is able to arrange their material life to live up to a nebulous ideal. Nevertheless, everyone thinks fortune is on their side, and it will favour them. Social media gives us the ability to craft the appearance of an ideal material life, a world where money is always in abundance, people are always witty and creative, and couples never feel an ominous sense of competition and jealousy - a world where the 8ball is always right. While life can indeed gives us what we want, we can't be selfish.

The fourth and final track on the album, "broken glass", features production by South African musician Gilt. The slow, steady pace of this track and its minor melodic mode gives it the quality of an electric lullaby. The melodic focus and ringing, looming sine waves give the track an affinity to Carl Craig at his most introspective. The bleak contents of the lyrics perfectly compliment the loneliness in the production, with its somber, cave-dwelling harmonies and irregular, frantic kick pattern.

In this track Roo sings, in what is probably one of the most characteristic moments of the EP:

God lives here; flashing bleak signals

God lives here; speaks with interference

Sun lies here; sweet, warm, molten evening

God lives here; red, hot, smoldering

The Red Christ, 1922 - Lovis Corinth. God lives here

Even amongst the hot flames of a burning world, the divine can be found. I often talk about an apocalyptic sense being found in lots of art today. In many ways, because of looming ecological catastrophe, the increasingly destructive power of military arms, and increasing political divisiveness, many artists seem to think that we are living in the end times. Perhaps that should give you pause – what if you were part of the last generation of human beings to ever live? Would you be OK with that? Would you still be content to live a happy, peaceful life, or would you retaliate in confusion and frustration like a cornered animal?

The world most likely isn't ending. Even pain and suffering usually has a bright side, given enough time, and perhaps the apocalypse will be a veiled prelude to Utopia. Regardless of whether the world is truly ending or not, we will all experience our own personal apocalypses eventually. We will all die. That is just a part of life, and what is in life is essentially divine. God lives here, within everything, good or bad.

You can listen to Fidelity now on Bandcamp.

Also be sure to look at the album's website, where you can join Roo's mailing list and recieve extra goodies.

Stay bad,

Forest Muran

If you enjoyed this read, be sure to read my review of DJ Nizzy Nick's The Irony of Misused Energy



Basmati Rice with Saffron, Spinach, and Onions

Known as the world's most expensive spice, Saffron has been used in many ways throughout its long history. From curing melancholia, to perfecting rice dishes in Kashmir, the mystique behind Saffron has led to numerous ways of relating to the spice, and even today it is a common staple of many Asian and European dishes.

Saffron is essentially a collection of stigmas from the flower Crocus Sativus, which are then dried and packaged as a spice. This history of Saffron begins as late as three thousand years ago, and was likely first cultivated around Greece. Crocus Sativus quickly spread, however, and could eventually be found in most parts of the world. Today, 90% of Saffron production takes place in Iran, with surrounding Middle Eastern countries making up much of the remainder. Saffron has a long history in Iran, and it is said that Alexander the Great discovered Saffron during his campaign in Persia, and would use it for therapeutic purposes.

For the early Phoenicians, saffron was said to be able to cure melancholic moods, and they frequently employed it as a dye. The practice spread into East Asia, where Buddhist monks coloured their robes a Saffron-like colour – although, because of the costliness of saffron, the spice turmeric is usually used instead.

Transparency statement: I've never bathed with saffron, I've only eaten it. And I wouldn't recommend mixing the two.

In the Himalayan cultures of Kashmir, Nepal, and Tibet, saffron has long been a valuable element in their cuisine. Recently, I've been reading two books that talk to some degree about Himalayan culture and trade. The first is Trans-Himalayan Caravans by Janet Rizvi, and the second is Heart of the World by Ian Baker. The books both mention the symbolic importance of Saffron in Himalayan culture. The Lo-pchak missions, for instance, which were operating until the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the 1940s, tasked a group of Ladakh merchants with the responsibility of journeying across the Himalayas in order to offer ceremonial gifts to the Dalai Llama. Included in the gifts was generally a large amount of saffron. As they journeyed toward the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, the merchants would often buy and sell other goods, such as incense, turquoise, herbs, and sugar.

Saffron taking a bath

Saffron is an unusual spice, and is usually sold in its original, preserved form, in order to retain its distinct, bitter-sweet aroma. This means when you purchase it, you need to do a little extra preparation in order to bring out the full extent of the spice's powers.

A common method of preparing saffron is to soak it in hot water for 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how much time you have and how enthusiastic you are about bringing out the spice's flavour. I soaked my saffron that I bought for probably around half an hour. I would have soaked it longer, but to be honest I was too hungry to wait.

Saffron is used in thousands of different dishes, from cuisines from around the world. Generally, however, Saffron is said to go best with grain-based dishes. So I made a simple rice dish, and threw some saffron on-top for flavour. The taste, a kind of warm, pleasant bitterness, is best when used sparringly. As with most luxuries, you need to restrain your use of saffron, or else you'll break the bank, dull your senses, and develop an unsatiable appetite. Please, avoid becoming the Marquis de Saffron, and consume your spices in mindful moderation.

Here are the two books I mentioned in the article, if you're interested in reading more about the Himalayas. The Rizvi book is very detailed, and gives specific indications about what items were traded, the routes that were taken, and the prominent merchants and families involved. The Baker book deals more spiritual life in Tibet, but is also a good account of the geography of the Himalayas, and is written in a more personal voice. The last book is one I read a long time ago, which is also a personal account of a Westerner's experience of the Himalayas, albiet from a much earlier time period. It's a good read, and the author has some lovely prose describing the Himalayan environment.

Trans-Himalayan Caravans - Janet Rizvi

Heart of the World - Ian Baker

Hermit in the Himalayas - Dr. Paul Brunton

Japanese with Mez – #1 Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi tofu from Sakata Ramen Bar and Grill. I later ate it.

To help me in my Japanese studies, sometimes I'll search videos related to what I'm studying on Youtube. I thought I would share some of my adventures in translation for others who may be studying Japanese as well.

This post was made to also be enjoyable to those not studying Japanese. Those who are just interested in the culture, and seeing how Japanese society might be similar or different to the western world will also hopefully find it interesting!

OK, Let's begin!



揚げ出し豆腐 – Agedashidoufu – Agedashi Tofu

噂 – Uwasa – Report (also rumor; gossip, but “report” seems like the best translation here)

今回 – Konkai – Now; this time

もらう - Morau – To get somebody to do something (after a form verb)

想像 – Souzou – Imagination; guess

最後 - Saigo – The end; conclusion

十代 - Juudai - Teenage years

切ない – Setsunai – Painful

マズイ - Mazui – Unappetizing, unpleasant

二人目 - Futarime – Second person

So, recently I went to a place called Wako Sushi with a friend, and I ordered an agedashi tofu. I immediately fell in love. There's something inherently attractive about agedashi tofu, something in its crispy exterior and creamy interior that satisfies the soul's innate desire to be made whole.

When it came time to study Japanese that night, I looked up the word 揚げ出し豆腐 (agedashi tofu), and attempted to find something interesting enough for studying.

Typically, I like to find videos with lots of comments, since Youtube comments are a satisfying way sneaking into the world of colloquial language. Today we'll be looking at some Japanese Youtube comments as well.

The video I decided upon studying was this:

噂の東京マガジン やってTRY こんな揚げ出し豆腐は嫌だ!

You can watch it here

It's from a Japanese TV Program called 噂の!東京マガジン (Uwasa no! Tokyo Magazine) which has a segment called やってTRY  (Give it a try!) In this segment, a host approaches random people on the streets and asks them to make certain Japanese dishes. This episode deals, naturally, with agedashi tofu.

This two main hosts of the show inform us that


“This time, we got them to make agedashi tofu!”

LANGUAGE POINT - This may be a good time to mention a grammar point. もらusually means “to recieve” or “to take” as in 「男は別の妻をもらいました。」 (“The man took a different wife”, from the story Cinderella). But it has a second meaning as well. When placed after the form of a verb, it can mean “to get someone to do something.” In this case – 作てもらいました (Get them to make!) It's a useful Japanese construction to get to know, so I'll do my best to 覚えてもらいま (Get you to memorize!)

In the video, the host gets three different girls to try and make agedashi tofu. The results are all terrible (「めっちゃマズイ」 as one of the the girls says), but pretty funny nevertheless. I have to wonder if this video taps into a prevalent fear that the younger generation no longer knows how to cook, and a lot of the comedy comes from a confirmation of this incompetence.

The first girl uses the word 想像する a lot. 想像 (souzou) means your imagination, or guess. So, in total lack of confidence, the girl is making a lot of guesses when making agedashi tofu.


“This is my guess.”

She doesn't really know what she is doing, but she's trying! Of course, making most dishes from memory is a difficult thing, and Japanese cuisine is even more difficult than most, so go easy on her, please!

The second girl talks about how she is near the end of her teenage years, and wishes that she could stay a teenager (すっと十代でいたい). The host asks her why- is it any different (そんなに違う)? She says it is. The host asks in what way. The girl says 税金 (zeikin) – taxes. The host asks, what taxes (何税)? The girl says 印税 (inzei) - book royalties. Haha!

The humor probably works a lot better in the Japanese, since the point is that the girl doesn't really know what she's talking about. When asked about taxes, she just says the first thing that pops into her head that sounds like a tax. 印税 (inzei) is not really a tax, but it ends with the “tax” kanji and so, to her, may have sounded like a good answer.

Here's a transcription of the conversation:


The second girl's reactions to her finished dish are pretty funny. 「めっちゃマズイ」 (This is really bad!) she says.「ダメ食べ物じゃない」 (This is no good! This isn't food!)

One commenter thought the finished agedashi tofu looked like a gravesite for sardines.


I am not sure if I can disagree.

As is typical for Youtube comments, this user comments on how beautiful he thinks the second girl is, who made the “graveyard for sardines.”


“Ah, the second person was so pretty...”

Unfortunately, I'm sure her marriage eligibility is hurt by her innability to make proper agedashi tofu. Though I will admit, out of the three girls in the video, the second one was probably the only one to make something that even resembled agedashi tofu. She could also benefit from learning a bit more about taxes, in my opinion.

For example, this is what the third girl's agedashi tofu looked like. YIKES.

LANGUAGE POINT – While のに usually means “although” or “despite”, connecting two phrases together, when it comes at the end of a sentence it can signify a state of what could have been, or a state of longing. In this case, the commenter is almost pained by the beauty of the girl. “Ah, she is so pretty, if only I could be with her” is maybe the implication. Creepy or not, I'll let you decide.

That's it for my study of this video for now. It's pretty funny, and the video editors added a lot of stylized subtitles which by chance is very useful for people studying Japanese. I definitely recommend watching the video a few times and making notes about some of the dialogue, which is for the most part very conversational and casual. There are also a few other funny Youtube comments that are worth looking at on the video.

I'll leave you with a haiku by Kobayashi Issa that I think is particularily relevant.


Yoigoshi no tofu akari no yabu ka kana

Left out all night
The tofu gleams -


- Mez