Wifi: open

Wifi: open

Since I was last in Asia in 2007, everything has changed. There is internet everywhere. The houses where we stay, though in the countryside, usually have a connection, we work there smoothly. Restaurants, mostly, have wi-fi, free, a kind of basic necessity on par with water, which is always available here, fresh, and if you haven't already taken care of it, they bring it to the table even before you ask what you want.

My connection has also changed: I didn't have one, the last time I was in Asia. Now, I bought an e-SIM, Japanese, the night before I left and, voila, problem solved.

My (dis)connection with the local language is also different. It is relaxing to be in the midst of signs that I can't decode: before I left, I decided not to study Japanese, almost nothing, just that basic minimum of words, but not written, just spoken. I wanted to leave room, for a while, for that feeling of cognitive defatigue that comes from not being able to read. I saw, years ago, photographs of a photographer who, after shooting, removes all the writing from the photos, but leaves there the spaces that the writing occupies: the amount of emptiness that comes out is amazing.

Then there is artificial intelligence, in my pocket: with the phone, I open the translation app, frame the writing, and, in overlay, the words appear, translated into a language I know. It is inconvenient, but it works, and it was impossible. Even now, doing it, sometimes it feels like being in the future. And then there are those to identify plants, from photos of leaves, or flowers, sometimes trunks, a translation too, come to think of it. The apps with maps, those, too, basically translate the real world into a map.

In this electromagnetic molasses of welcome and everlasting connection, I have to make a bit of an effort now and then, but then I remember: I am here because a map is not the territory, two kanji are more than a word to read, and every plant makes the noise of the forest.

  • Camera: X-T2
  • Lens: XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R LM OIS WR
    • 20.8mm
    • ƒ/4
    • 1/60s

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Published on July 11, 2024

I am Silvano Stralla. I am a developer, I like taking photos and riding bikes.
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