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After high school, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan. The rent is very cheap there and the feeling of the city very much fit me.
I spent most of my time in my small apartment, on the computer, usually reading, playing virtual novels, or downloading music on soulseek. I cooked at home with a portable gas-stove and often didn't leave my room for days at a time. I would always have techno or noise playing, even when I did go out. I'd like to take night time walks on the city streets, sometimes eating at the street stands or grabbing a drink at a dive bar. I liked that the Taiwanese seemed to look through me. My sleep schedule was such that I never saw daylight.
With a quick scan, I was able to find my way into the underground techno scene. It was centered mainly around a literally underground alley way club that only opened on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I would show up on the weekends when I remembered and eventually became a presence in the scene, at least with the people who spoke at least basic english. They seemed to like me. I made some friends and sometimes we'd go drinking with them during the week. I tended to become closer with the expat scene kids that would drop in and out from europe, but the were always more temporary friendships.
There was a dark cloud of self-destructiveness hanging over the city, but I feel that was essential counterpart to its excitement. There were a lot of drugs being passed around during that time as well. Mainly ecstasy and ketamine. Ecstasy tended to have a character of deep-nested love and wonder, but the dopamine withdrawal the following day tended to leave me more soul-sucked than most. I had a much stronger taste for ketamine, which felt highly appropriate to the dark and dirty, doubly ancient & future Taiwanese locale. It had the unique profile of highly chemical digitality which oddly tapped into a profound primeval to further deep down the k-hole you went. Almost as often as I spent I watching myself in third person, as a k-spirit over the dance floor, I was a lizard-brain primate crawling around apartments. Ketamine is a drug like no other, and just as techno is a perfect fit for these times, ketamine is the drug to match.
This was a nice time in my life. There were some low moments, and some scary ones, but I always felt very much in tune with a future-facing reality, an experience I've craved ever since. Especially in regards to the online experience, and especially the social community you find online, it leaves a lot to be desired. It feels very much oblivious to the future-world of ketamine alleyway techno, the truest accompaniment to part-time cyber-hikkimorism. When people discuss cyberpunk or S:EL and GITS, this is the experience they're supposed to be chasing. I wish I could find it reflected online as strongly as I felt it in real life.
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