東京物語 – Subtitles…

So, after spending a whole five days back in my exciting Kansai countryside, I was on my way to Tokyo again on Friday night, this time to fulfill a very specific (and lovely) calendar imperative.

This 48 hour stint in Tokyo was much more compact than last week’s but we still managed to fit a couple funandhappythings.

Saturday, Ken and Shizu drove us to Design Festa where we spent the afternoon looking for those elusive two or three pearls of awesome/weird/crazy, usually lost in a sea of homemade flea-market t-shirts and Tokyu Hands-style jewelry (hey, starving art students need to eat too). To be honest, nothing mind-blowing (and not even that much of the usual WTF shock stock that people tend to expect from Design Festa)… but some entertaining live shows:
Dora video played drums while random bits of video samples (including at some point, a strident Japanese CM for toilet air freshener) played in the back. The result sounded at times not quite unlike a Death Metal band, from which you’d remove everyone save for the drummer: loud, energetic and quite funny.
Somewhere on the main stage, three butt-naked guys covered in gold paint and sporting massive fully-erect fake penises (also covered in gold) were executing some sort of butoh-like contemporary dance involving a chain and the music from William Tell overture. Somehow, Design Festa always seem to feature a few naked guys doing strange contemporary dances. Never twice the same guys.
The last act we caught before leaving, Crazy Angel Company wasn’t breaking new grounds, comparatively, but did a nice job of livening the venue a bit with their energetic Japanese-style brass band music and accompanying choreography. They closed with their own rendition of the Soran Bushi, a famous Japanese folk classic with an infectious back-and-forth chorus, of which H. eventually grew very tired, after a weekend of constant humming from my part.

On the way back and after running a couple errands for the following day, we lucked out in grabbing a table at Chacha Yufudachi on a saturday night with no reservation (strange, I know, to be going to a Kyoto-cuisine place while on a trip to Tokyo, but both Chacha branches are among my favourite restaurants in Shinjuku, both for the food and the atmosphere). We capped the night with a few drinks at Albatross’ brand new extension in Golden Gai: in fact, merely the first floor of their previous location, which has been added as a semi-independent branch to the second-floor’s bar. Same familiar faces and friendly crowd as usual, although we unfortunately had to make it home for last train in order to be fresh and rested for the next day.

And next day was awesome, indeed: lovely people, gorgeous groom and bride, delicious food, excellent wine (of course) and charming surroundings… But I won’t bore you with the details of my gorgeous friends’ happiness: after all, if you are of those who care, you were probably there (and if you weren’t, you know where to find much better reports than my own very incomplete remembrances of that wonderful day).

One (short) night and a nozomi ride later, I am back at plotting world domination, one DNA strand at a time… Which reminds me I might finally get to that piece about the why’s and how’s of Bioinformatics this week, if I can escape the tempting embrace of procrastination long enough…

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