Looking around before "Ai no Uzu" began, there was an almost palpable anticipation ahead of our plunge into the realm of young Japanese people's sex lives. What to talk about while waiting for the orgy to begin?

The excitement was less to do with the exotic, though the audience was mainly French, than with an excited nostalgia that seemed to be buzzing beneath all those fashionably graying locks and balding pates in the Maison de la Culture du Japon's elegant auditorium.

To calm us as surreally thumping beats pounded out, we were given a questionnaire to fill in later — though some at once wrote that the "music" was simply insupportable.