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In Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, characters attempt to make meaning of the many complex structures in which they are situated. In his unique meaning-making process, Manzanar Murakami, a homeless Sansei, “conducts” the Los Angeles traffic with a silver baton from atop a highway overpass. In conducting his music, Murakami per- forms complex mathematics, finding meaning in connection by mapping the rhythmic flow of humans, machines, and goods. Through his baton, to the sounds of a beautiful orchestra, he translates precisely the relationships he sees before him. Murakami’s music and Yamashita’s fantastic images constitute a “mathematical realism,” a lens through which to explore the structures and relationships of modern transnational life.