The Gangs of San Miguel Blog started from a picture such as this.
To live in San Miguel requires the development of new watching skills.
When a street scene such as this is first espied, the viewer must verify that their eyes have seen what their brain is registering. That is why a camera is a basic item in San Miguel. Always take a picture and then verify that the picture matches what you are seeing. If all you get is an aura or nothing, then move very quickly to the Spiritual Gang or Happy Hour.
If there is a picture and it resembles what you see, then your brain has to match the image to some known reference point. Failure to reference results in what are called Magical Moments. These Magical Moments occur when there is a complete suspension of disbelief. There is no editing and no judgment. You exclaim – “How Magical”. Many residents of San Miguel simply never process what they see. It is all just part of the Magic of San Miguel. They haven’t a clue what they have seen.
However, if you did not have a Magical Moment then you need an explanation of what you saw. To maintain my sanity in San Miguel I developed a belief system that these people were part of a Gang and that is why they dressed that way and acted that way.
If you don’t see Gangs, then your brain, eager to make sense of the world, will sort through all your past experiences, until it finds something that makes some sense out of what you are seeing.
In this case the closest image is that of a Geisha or perhaps, given the age of the viewer, a singer from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. Always wanting to think well of the person, you will now have an explanation of what you see. This person either loves Japan a lot or is a frustrated Mikado aficionado. The brain slows down and there is an explanation of what you have seen.
There is however the possibility that the person really believes they are a geisha. That possibility will require the development of more than new visual skills. It is the challenge of living in San Miguel – to be able to make sense of what you see, to talk to what you see without a snicker and to stay sane.