Tokyo looks like no other city on earth — but when I flew in on a lightning business trip recently I decided to put some of my other senses to work. Instead of seeing the city, this time I wanted to experience it through my ears, my nose, my palate and my skin.
I stood with my eyes closed for 20 minutes outside my hotel — with Shipi at my side, in case any passing thief decided I looked like a man who needed his wallet removed!
The sensations were phenomenal. The noise of feet slapping on the sidewalk sounded like waves. The melee of voices — and I speak a little Japanese — was a babble washing over me. The whole experience was like being immersed in a human sea.
Later I ate with my eyes shut, which left my companions helpless with laughter — chopsticks are hard to handle at the best of times! The crisp distinction between dry and oily foods was like bright colours on my tongue.
I explored my hotel room in the dark, fingering the delicate paper wall dividers and the light silks of the cushions. The mental images I brought home of Japan are far more vivid than anything I have known before, even though I lived in the country for two years.
We neglect all our senses in favour of our sight. For many people, taste and smell almost dry up. But our intuitive sense is worst neglected of all. Most adults simply ignore it.
The Japanese are more open to mind energy than most Westerners. I will never forget an encounter I had with Masaru Ibuka, founder of the Sony Corporation, two decades ago. He looked like an ancient master of martial arts as he stared into my eyes for fully two minutes — leaning forward, with his knuckles resting on an immense mahogany table, gazing silently at me. As though he could read my soul.
I felt my collar clinging to my neck, and a pulse trembling in my forehead. I dared not avert my eyes or break the silence.
At last he straightened, and spoke: “I believe, Geller-San, that truly you possess the abilities which you claim. But what I am asking is this – what use are they?”
This was a question I had heard many times before. “Spoonbending and telepathy have made me world famous,” I smiled.
“But.” Mr Ibuka repeated, speaking very slowly, as though to a stupid child. “What Use Are They?”
The same question was torturing Sony researchers. Japan’s foremost electronics company, which pioneered miniaturisation and invented the Walkman, had set up a psi research unit of five scientists to test the reality of extra-sensory perception.
They carried out tests with psychics to find hidden objects, to see colours blindfolded and to sense which glass of water among a tray of ten had been infused with healing energy. After thousands of experiments, the psychics were scoring impossibly better than mere guesswork could ever do, with a 70 per cent success rate.
And the scientists were in despair. What use was this power? They couldn’t distill it into batteries (though how they had tried!). They couldn’t use it in market research or recording studios. Sony were stumped.
When Mr Ibuka died in 1998, the corporation was quick to shut down the psi unit. Company spokesman Masanobu Sakaguchi announced: “We have found out experimentally that yes, ESP exists, but that any practical application of this knowledge is not likely in the foreseeable future.”
Many people possess powerful mental talents without knowing it. That can cause chaos, because the energy needs to be channelled if it is to be kept in check.
Maybe your computer crashes when you’re under stress — journalist friends tell me that often Fleet Street newsrooms are bedlam as deadlines approach, with PCs which have behaved perfectly all day suddenly developing mysterious glitches.
Or maybe street lamps flicker on and off as you walk down the road — this is such a common phenomenon that Dr Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire ran a research project to discover what is happening.
Parapsychologists call it the SLIde effect — Street Light Interference. The energy isn’t always human, as a family in London, Ontario, discovered not long ago. All the children’s toys sparked into life, buzzing about the bedrooms and chattering at full volume, after lightning struck the house.
There was so much electrical energy in the air that fires started spontaneously, and neighbours had to use garden hoses to prevent a full-scale blaze.
I’m glad my own energy focuses on metal objects and not soft furnishings!
It was a joy this week to have dinner with our old friends, the magician David Berglas and his wife Ruth. Incredibly, David had his 81st birthday this year, though he looks 20 years younger. He and Ruth celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year — David tells me their best man was his beloved dog, Tricky, who carried the ring on a ribbon around his neck.
Don't Tweet Mean Things About Coco Rocha, She'll Find You! - [image: Don't Tweet Mean Things About Coco Rocha, She'll Find You!] Beloved model *Coco Rocha* and her husband James Conran were honored last night in New...