Oh dear reader, how behind and neglectful I am! I swear I blinked and lost about two weeks in the time it took my upper lashes to make contact with my lower ones. And I now inexplicably find myself back at The Matchbox having just been smacked in the face by my first full day back at work. Quite the system jolt…. had it coming though – I suspect my recent existence has been a wee bit too hedonistic//carefree to be considered sustainable. Reality’s a swine eh. “So what was this hedonism, exactly?” I hear you ask. WELL.
Smashing it in Shibuya. It all began with a natter chez les francophones at SpeakEasy, my French meetup bar of choice over in Otsuka. The atmosphere was electric somehow, and after an hour or so of GnT-fuelled Le Pen-bashing, I was feeling stirred up and boisterous enough to grab some teacher colleagues and press on into the epicentre of Tokyo insanity that is Shibuya. Karaoke happened. Nomihodae (all you can drink) also happened. And suddenly it was several hours later and we were waking up in a ramen restaurant, having sufficiently annihilated Backstreet Boys and provided John with a dead cert Turner Prize entry (see below). Plus two of the group fell asleep on their trains home and ended up the other side of Yokohama. A solid effort overall.
Odaiba: where one festival (or three) just ain’t enough. Golden Week in Japan is, as far as I can tell, less an actual week of cultural significance and more a composite of different May-bank-holiday-ish doss days, during which the sun shines, stages are erected and a load of stalls pop up over massive venue spaces selling everything from overpriced German beer to Mexican sombreros, by way of mystery meat on sticks and Hawaiian bikinis. Indeed, a visit to Odaiba on Friday ended up involving not only the midday margaritas we had been anticipating at the Cinco de Mayo festival, but an additional stumble upon the Odaiba Hawaii Festival, Japanese Oktoberfest (in May, I know) and my personal favourite of course: the Golden Week Meat Festival. Didn’t linger long there shockingly. But did have an excellent mooch around the others, drinking in the festival freedom in addition to other, less figurative beverages and ending up staring out to sea in the company of Lady Liberty herself. The Japanese one anyway.
Pride. Despite the return to work creeping to the forefront of my mind, I couldn’t end the week’s whimsy without jogging on down to Yoyogi on Sunday to witness Tokyo at her Proudest. I was curious to see what kind of a show the city would put on, especially given my impression of the lingering conservatism that surrounds LGBT issues here in Japan. After Amanda and I had been high-fived by a good 100-or-so fabulously glitzy parade-goers, we weaved our way between techni-colour flower floats, pop-up photo booths, food stalls and activist promotion stations, all swarming with bright-eyed, even brighter-dressed supporters of love, peace and equality. Bloody beautiful actually.
Apologies for this slightly text-light update. Feeling a bit of a cop-out this week, but the the distance between my head and the desk is rapidly closing, and the sandman is tugging me insistently towards my futon. Power to resist rapidly diminishing.
I will end with a quick report that the new students are a bloody delight, and a whole troop of last semester’s brood are back for more! My only issue so far is that in one class I have two blokes both named Ryo, who also have incredibly similar family names, both wear glasses, have the same haircut, wear similar clothes, love soccer and want to move to New York. So far I’ve named them Ryo1 and Ryo2 but feel that a more inventive alternative is required. Suggestions most welcome!
Over and out for now beautiful people! May the leftover rays of Japanese Golden Week illuminate yours with as much beauty and whimsy as they did mine 😉
Leaving you with a photo round-up, including some happenings that haven’t made it into the post in written form and one of the best Google mis-translations I have so far come across, produced after scanning the back of a new shampoo bottle. Enjoy!
Trina x x x x