Photo: Shamisen players backstage before a bunraku performance.

I was browsing Web sites/blogs about Japan and stumbled on this particular aural/visual convergence:

(1) Go to Néojaponisme’s podcast page and play the mp3 file for MR NO MUSIC podcast ONE.

I can be addicted to my well-worn musical tracks. For example, Van Morrison always lulls me back into what I consider my national park of the soul (and no, ATVs are not allowed). Today, I wore through The Box Tops’ “I Must Be the Devil.” But that podcast of music by “Japanese indie electronic artists,” assembled by someone I don’t know, found a tunnel into that little valley of my head that I thought was unmapped.

(2) While listening to the podcast, relax into Rikki Kasso’s photos at Tokyo Undressed. [Not for the kiddies and those averse to The Nude.]

I first saw these photos months ago. I found them striking, but I skittishly passed along like a driver trying not to rubberneck a traffic accident. Perhaps I was mentally filing some under “sexually objectified Japanese woman” [insert supercilious emoticon here] and hating myself for it. Today, I went back with the above soundtrack playing and the photos felt expansive.

(3) To aid the convergence, self-medicate como usted guste.

I was thinking, Too bad the laptop can’t go in the Japanese bath with me and my glass of bourbon. Mood-altering substances/techniques are as subjective as art, but humans always find something that works.