55 Days in Tokyo

February 4th, 2007

Got off to a later start than usual. I had intended to get going shortly after my usual conversation with my girlfriend but that plan failed. Part of the problem was that the lady who cleans the common area of the house (one of the owners I found out) decided to come today instead of on Monday like she usually does. Since all of the cleaning supplies are to be found in the area next to the shower that means I cannot take my shower while she's cleaning. That meant I had to wait until she was done and that didn't happen until close to 2:30pm. By the time I finally got clean and ready it was almost 3:30pm.

This was a bad start to the day since I wanted to get down to Yoyogi park to see all the rockabillys and listen to them rock out. Daylight is in poor supply after 5pm so I had wanted to see them earlier. Took the train to Yoyogi station, only to find out that Yoyogi park is nowhere near that station. It's next to Harajuku station. I walked through the Meiji Temple area in order to get to Yoyogi. Nice walk, just a tad bit too cold. Also way too many crows. They're very loud, large and agressive here. I mean they look like they'd start something with me and I outweigh them by a large amount.

Finally got out of the temple's park and came to the bridge where all the people who dress up can be found. That was amusing to watch for a little bit. Suddenly an older gentleman with a british accent came over and wanted to give me panflets or whatever the hell they're called and talk to me about something. When I told him I was from California he said something along the lines of "Isn't California Spanish or Mexican for Big Dick? Isn't that where the name comes from? I'm fairly certain of that. It's the big cock."

I can't make this stuff up.

Didn't really feel like arguing with him about it since I happen to know the history of California and some of the origins of its name, along with knowing Spanish. He started babbling something about being jewish and converted and how they're running England and the USA and how they've got to get rid of the palestinians. At that point I'd had enough and told him I couldn't stay, there are some people rocking out and I need to see it going on before it's too late.

I found Yoyogi park and saw a few rockabillies but sadly, there weren't many. They did look like a bunch of extras from The Wild Bunch with giant hair and everything. Rest of the park was mostly empty, save for a few musicians who were mostly guys with guitars singing and playing and trying their best to stay on key. All of them were not very good and their only audience, if they had one, was a single girl or sometimes two of them, looking very bored but seemingly required to be there. Probably the guy's girlfriend and therefore must give support. Only other thing I found in the part were a bunch of people playing frizbee or drum groups trying their best to sound good. Walked over this bridge thing that extends over the road and leads to this long walkway where there were even more musicians. Many of them were packing up which made me realize that next time I really do need to get here earlier.

Most weren't very good. One pair of girls actually sounded halfway decent but seemingly had to constantly control their voices lest they become too nasal. Another group was playing something and it wasn't until I recognized the bass melody that it was a cover of Radiohead's Creep. That cracked me up to no end. There were a few performing groups trying to put on magic shows but in general you could tell this was amatuer hour. Of course, this was free entertainment so I don't know what else you'd expect. Also spotted a few groups of people trying to do double dutch jump rope tricks.

Reached the end of what I call Musician's row and found myself on the edge of Shibuya. wasn't quite hungry yet so I wandered around and played another round of the Gundam card game. Went to my favorite sushi place and now I know that they recognize me. When I was paying at the end the girl asked me where I was from and I think she said my Japanese ordering was good. Mostly think that's what she said because I originally thought she asked me if I knew Japanese and when I said a little she said something like "No, you say it very well."

By this point I was bored with Shibuya so I decided to head up to Ikebukuro to wander around there and then walk home. Wandered the streets and the stores until I found the arcades where I lingered for about an hour. Watched one man play House of the Dead 4 (a rail shooter) but played as both players, one uzi in each hand. He was damned good at it and went all the way to the end, suffering only a few injuries but never having to continue.

I grew tired and wanted to find some place with tea or something sweet like ice cream but found nothing that was affordable. Instead I just started walking home. Close to where my home is I stopped in at a little ramen place. I wasn't hungry but I knew if I didn't eat now that I'd be really hungry later and basically be screwed, so I force fed myself some ramen. Their cuts of meat where really very skinny and not very tasty. Won't be going back there. Stopped off at the nearby Supermarket and found a decent sized cut of meat that wasn't too expensive and bought it for lunch tomorrow. Got home and tried to relax by wandering around the internet and reading, but when I finally turned off the lights I wasn't able to fall asleep until after 3am.

Photos for February 4th, 2007