On the Many Vehicles of India | Kagakūkan


Something You Nakai wrote recently after traveling in India for a month has been published on the website of Kagakūkan, a research center organized by Fujiko Nakaya and Kenjiro Okazaki. The essay is titled “On the Many Vehicles of India” and is of rather apologetic nature.


On December 31, 2018, I flew from Tokyo to New Delhi. I had just finished the manuscript of my book on the American multi-instrumentalist and composer David Tudor which had kept me occupied for most of that year, and my son Aevi, who usually keeps me occupied when my work does not, was away in San Diego spending winter break with his mother and brothers. Having thus secured time for myself, I decided to travel in India for three weeks. Since I was immersed in writing until the very last minute, I had made almost no plans for the trip. The only thing I had decided in advance was to visit at some point the holy city of Varanasi, a place several different people on several different occasions and for several different reasons had strongly recommended me to go. Or at least that was what I thought. But actually there was one more thing that had been decided beforehand: I was scheduled to give a presentation at the gathering of Kagakūkan the day after my return to Tokyo. Because of this prearrangement, coming up with something clever to say on that occasion was on the back of my mind as I traveled. On January 24, 2019, I had safely returned to Japan and kept my promise by reporting on some of the observations I had made over the course of my travel. The following is a written version of that report, slightly extended and rendered into English (for performativity’s sake).”