Yesterday saw me roaming Ueno Park with Dr Reiri, my Aunty's good friend. He very kindly accompanied me through the expansive grounds where within lay a variety of museums, shrines, monuments and Ueno Park Zoo.
Unfortunately, there is also a sizeable homeless population that take residence in the park and it made for an very uncomfortable experience eating lunch amongst them. I felt terrible.
Aside from that, the weather was very agreeable and conducive to an afternoon of rambling amongst foliage. There were many families with small children, as a colourful market selling all kinds of children's books was set up. If only I could read the language, I would surely have bought a beautifully illustrated book relaying the teachings of Dr King. These kids are smart.
Reiri and friend
Whilst circumventing the lake on which swan seats and row boats were being pushed around by happy children and amorous teenagers, we came upon an arena blasting reggae beats and indecipherable hip hop. It sounded infectious. I wanted to go in, if only to witness the concentration of outlandish costumes these guys get about in. Instead, we went to the Mueseum of Western Art.
After my western cultural enhancement, we took the subway to Kamiyacho to scale the Tokyo Tower. It looks distinctly like the Eiffel Tower and is very popular with domestic tourists. One bus load arriving in a Hello Kitty tour bus, replete with waving kitty kats in pink and a huge plastic kitty at the door to greet boarding and alighting passengers. So so kitsch. (Michelle, I was going to bring it back for you but you said no pink, right?)
After the tower we subwayed ourselves to Shinjuku where we met my Aunty Fusi and another of her friends, Yuka, for yakiniku.
This is a buffet style of meal where you cook your food over a hot grill. There was a refrigerated meat section where you could select from a variety including (of what I could establish) beef, pork, chicken and liver, as well as a buffet table laden with vegetables, salad, fried chicken, spring rolls, chips and desserts. The food was plentiful and delicious and I ate like a hog.
After dinner Reiri and Aunty departed and Yuka and I made our way to Nishi-Azabu, club Yellow to check out Gilles Peterson.
The club from the outside was distinguishable only by a neon yellow sign and to get to the dance floor you had to descend flights of stairs into the basement. We arrived around midnight to a very trendy looking crowd. Beside the stair wells, where many lingered later in the night, there were only two parts to the club (or maybe that's all I saw..?). A front section where drinks were served and tables and a lounge running the length of a mirrored wall accommodated non-dancers. And a darkened back area where the djs gave it up.
Know how there's always one creepy old guy at the club? Same rules apply here. Except, the dude wasn't creepy in the least. He was delightful, drinking and dancing along with everyone else. It was very endearing. Maybe cause he looked like the Japanese equivalent of my dad is why I felt an instant affinity for him. Incredibly, Yuko had previously met him in a club in Shibuya and invited him to sit with us. I had no idea what he was saying but was impressed when told that he had handmade the felt hat he was sporting. Doubly so on hearing that the dude was 76 years old.
Not so creepy old guy. Pump on!
Maybe around 2am Peterson came on. At this point the place was heaving. Many many gaijin, who seemed to be among the only arseholes in the joint. Loud, drunk and rowdy. Same rules apply. To get to the dance floor was a mammoth effort, and almost resulted in a major collapse of bodies. People went crazy when Peterson did the slightest thing and it was exceptionally difficult to groove with people body slamming up against you.
But it was fun. For the most part. I took many photos, only to be told at the end of the night that it wasn't permitted. Oh well, fuck it, I'm a stupid gaijin.