Yes, this is still Tokyo, not Rio. But owing to the common history between Japan and Latin American countries, Asakusa yearly festival is more Brazilian carnival than traditional matsuri.

Of course, the entire first row of the public lining the streets is consistently made up of lecherous Ojīsans sporting massive teleobjectives and storing up on pictures of tits and arses for the Winter.

Beside aforementioned well-oiled and feathery naked bodies, are all sorts of samba musicians and other minor costumed troops (it must be hard to be the ones following some of the more peacocky floats, while yourself dressed in glorified rubbish bags). The theme of money (gold bullion, bank safes, credit cards…) seemed a pretty recurrent one: dunno if that’s a carnival tradition or only this year. Special weirdness points to the dancing Takarakuji booth (sponsor?). Finally, kudos to my hazy memory of Japanese classes for getting the (very obvious) 猫に小判 reference: also one of the very few troops that mixed in a bit of cutesy Japanese with the latin style.

Amidst the work, chaos and queasiness, a few snapshots of fun and loveliness:

Gavin doing his best impersonation of a mid-90s Ibiza DJ at some improbable makeshift rooftop thai bar in Tokyo, Fang-chan’s enthusiastically taking on a bucket of Hoegaarden at Pig&Whistle’s, 5pm sunset near the house, schnappy crocodile, playful lemurs and jackass penguins at Ueno zoo, remnants of snow in that small cemetery tucked in the back streets of Akasaka… oh yea, and the good ol’ camphor tree wishing me おつかれさま after my defence last week1.

  1. don’t rush with the congratulations: I do not have the title yet, and I still have to hand in the final version of my thesis in two weeks []

Inbetween travels, work and final thesis ramp-up, much happy-happy-fun times with friends in Kyoto…

The naming process for our newly adopted pet dragon (a Water dragon, as befitting of the year) was not without difficulties…

My beloved immediately veto’ed Drako, Draky or any similarly obvious variations. She did not share my enthusiasm for Robert either, putting it down as “lacking in fierceness”. However, in the end, we agreed that the only appropriately fear-inspiring alternative we could think of, Siegfried, may inflict needless existential trauma on our pride and joy (you try naming a kid after one of the most notorious slayer of its species, see what it does to its psyche growing up).

Say hi to Robert, the fearsome dragon!