Sunday 1 May 2011

The Neo-Samurai of Tokyo2

[tag blogger Xero for byline]

[insert vid-loop T2:223]: Hand-in-hand, two neo-samurai walk the streets of Tokyo2.

Teetee (as the locals call it) is a striking place, familiar and yet so very foreign. Not all the locals speak fluent Western, for one; some of them don’t speak it at all. There are the same super-corporates here of course, but you won’t see the clean, power-marketing aesthetics of our world. Beneath recognisable logos are marketing explosions, the mantra is clearly more is more. Like me, you will have seen stills and tubes, but nothing can prepare you for the bewildering, full-sensory assault that is the reality of a Teetee high street.

In this strange world the neo-samurai are perhaps the surest example of all our accepted differences. There are police here and they do much the same job as the boys and girls in blue back home, but it is the neo-samurai that bring peace to these chaotic streets. In a way that our own culture cannot countenance they are above the law, but they are a part of the law. As I entered Teetee I was required to sign a waiver of sorts, a document they went to great pains to make sure I fully understood.

If I am injured or killed here by one of the neo-samurai then I have no recourse for compensation or appeal.

They are an absolute. And they are enigmas.

I am in Nu-Rumoi [insert G-Map link] and the two neo-samurai I have just passed will be the only ones I see in this territory. This is their domain, though whether it was earned or inherited or won is impossible to say. Their traditions, like their identities, their technology and their training, are shrouded in mystery. They are unapproachable and incorruptible.

I ask the locals about the neo-samurai and I get wry smiles or good-natured laughter. I don’t believe they are hiding anything. I believe, to them, the neo-samurai are a part of the way things are, a natural process. They know no better than we do the solution to this conundrum, but they do not puzzle over it where our culture cannot help but be fascinated.

There is, I think, the essence of Honour in the neo-samurai; with a very pronounced capital H. In our culture there is too much intrinsic greed. Such a position would be too open to corruption or, at least, no one would trust in its incorruptibility. Here, it is simply accepted, and the neo-samurai pay back that respect with Honour and Justice.

Reb-Earth will never become the mono-culture some fear. There is simply too much of the strange and the unique that refuses to go away. The touch of Western culture is undeniable, but it is not the oppressor you may have heard, it has been absorbed, broken down, and its parts appropriated by these people for their own ends. I have only been in TeeTee two days, the difference is already startling and I’ve barely even begun to scratch the surface.

Recommended Reading:
The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster
The internet, as imagined in 1909! Scarily prescient SF.

This is a short story (~12,000 words), so the ebook or Penguin's Mini Modern Classic edition might be an easier read than online. =)


  1. I like the sound of these neo-samurai, incorruptibility is hard to come by, and the honest citizen would be well served by it.

    Great writing John, and a great concept.

  2. Thank you, Steve. =)

    I thought I would try something a little different in style, although I was a little worried about it not having a firm storyline, as such.

  3. I really liked your travel-writer style on this piece. It gave things a definite feeling of recorded reality.

    And while coming at things from a slightly removed descriptive POV might have dulled an evocative feel, not at all: those neo-samurai are as implacable and enigmatic as they were no doubt witnessed and considered to be.


  4. Thanks, Stephen. =) Great to hear that it worked. =)

  5. Evocative world, it really pulls you into this virtual reality-feel of a world. I like the way you portray the all-powerful samurai and found the intersection of virtual reality and japanese culture intriguing.

  6. Thanks, Aidan. =)

    I'm intrigued by why you thought it was VR? It's an interesting take although not my intention. =)