Further Tokyo Highlights

Stuff is piling up way faster than I can find time or motivation to write it out. Let’s try to see if we can remember some of the main events of the past couple days. Keitai pics are coming soon too.

Left Tokyo for the barren wilderness of Yokohama’s suburbs, joined Miss Sin, Sandy & family for some authentic Blues tunes in Japanese at Blue Corn.

Went to a birthday party at what might very well be Tokyo’s most obscure bar. Luke had mentioned something about the place being something like “an apartment/bar”… Aya’s directions included stuff like “ring #401 and tell them you’re a friend to get in”. After being let in the most residential-looking building of the most residential-looking neighbourhood of southern Tokyo, after ringing the inconspicuous apartment door, after walking past the doorstep, taking off my shoes and being shown to the end of a long corridor, I was fully expecting to walk into the Tanaka family’s apartment living room: I found myself standing in the middle of an actual unlicensed bar, complete with couches, hardtop bar counter, DJ booth and people ordering food and drinks as if they’d be sitting at their local dive. The place had its own business cards and is called The Hidden Lounge. Definitely go check it out if you ever have a chance.

Had a meeting and chatted with Ashimo‘s dad. Just work and stuff, but had to mention it and gloat, given how absolutely utterly über-nerdly cool that is.

Had a housewarming BBQ party of sorts at my new [temporary] place in Shimo-takaido. Blended industrial quantities of margarita and mojitos. Took half the party with me (leaving Tracey behind with the other half) just on time for last train to Misakiguchi beach, Kanagawa, where we arrived just after midnight…

You know you have made it to the real Japanese wilderness, when the one and only combini store in the area is a fifteen minute walk and closes at night. Twenty minutes walking through fields in complete darkness, much laborious searching along the coastline (with some serious flashbacks to the days of trying to locate underground Californian parties in the most improbable locales) and we finally found our Japanese neo-hippie Eldorado. By all accounts, it was definitely worth it. Much dancing and partying on the beach was indulged until morning and beyond (for some). Beach parties still are my favourite.

Less fun, was the nasty eye inflammation I had neglected to take care of all weekend, finally upping it a couple notches on Sunday morning, making for a hasty return home, nearly blind and rather pitifully hanging onto Rie’s arm for directions. Lead the following Monday to Masako&Nordine’s kindly taking me on my first visit ever to a Japanese medicine man and my learning to say “acute inflammation of the iris” and “what the hell were you thinking waiting so long before consulting” in Japanese. Much Atropine eyedropping and lying at home in the dark ensued.

Recovered about just in time for T’s glamorous birthday party at Golden Gai’s Araku. Stood the crazy heat and spent the night being merry with the better half of Tokyo’s gaijin and gaijin-friendly shock troops.

Capped the night with much drinking outside of Golden Gai’s seediests with Rie and Jim. Jim’s stories sound straight out of a Murakami (Haruki) novel. Except he has got pics to back it up.

Had drinks with Yi at our usual Shinjuku hangout (where she is slowly starting to become a regular herself). Since both 5-seat bar and upstairs room were packed, we got to enjoy the truly surreal sight from the rooftop makeshift lounge. Sitting with our drinks in the middle of Shouben Yokochou, except outdoor, looking down on hundreds of tiny ramshackle bars, Shinjuku’s high-rise blinking neons above in the distance and absolutely not a human soul in sight. A truly weird Mary Poppins in Tokyo-moment.

Also: drinking, firework, drinking, food of all sorts, drinking, art expos, drinking etc.

Upcoming: more of the same. My birthday party on the 24th in Shibuya: much drinking, partying and live electro tunes to be had (come on all, you’re all invited !).

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