Mind = Blown.
But let’s start back at yesterday. When I left you all I was contemplating what to do with the evening. Well I did wander to Akihabara for a couple of hours, mainly just to soak up being back in Tokyo. It was nice to just wander and not be on the lookout for photo opportunities or even to buy stuff. I just wandered through the toy stores and old school video game stores looking at what I may buy before I head home. But I just did that for a bit then wandered back to the hostel to get some shut-eye.
So, this morning I got to have a chat with Taka, the owner of Guest House Shinagawa where I am staying. He remembered me from when I was here last (18 months ago now) which was really nice, and he seemed genuinely touched I was back. Speaking with him I started to get a sense of the bigger toll of the earthquake earlier in the year. He said the whole year has been really quiet for him and he had months where he had virtually no one staying. He said it has only picked up the last couple of months because of a few major events moving to Nov/Dec. So that made me extra glad to be back amongst my Tokyo friends.
So what did I do with my day? Well, I was thinking of visiting the Ueno area, most famous for its park and the National Museum which I visited last time. But also it has a well know outdoor market with food, fish, and other shops. I also got wind that it had… yep… kit kats. So off I went.
The market was chaos. Taka warned me it would be busy with people buying up for New Year, but it was crazy. A fun experience I must say, jostling among the crowd looking to buy their crab and octopus. But would it all be worth it? Well… no. I found the stores rumoured to have the Kit Kats but alas it was just some standard ones, nothing wacky at all. Oh well.
A little downbeat at the Kit Kat bust, I decided to wander park in Ueno for a bit. I came across this statue of a samurai and his dog, which is quite fetching. The samurai is Saigō Takamori and he lead a doomed rebellion against the government. I need to find out more about his dog though.
Next, since I was close and had not been, I decided to head to Asakusa, a more “traditional” part of Tokyo, with temples, shrines, and tourist markets. This was pretty fun actually. Again really crowded but I imagine it always is.
Wandering the markets I came across a “Hot and Sweet Sake” vendor. “What would that taste like?” I asked myself. So I got some and boy was it tasty. Hit the spot perfectly on the chilly day. Mmmmm.
It was interesting that at one point I got the glimpse of the old shrine with Tokyo Tower in the background. Sums up Japan perfectly… the mix of old and new, always in close proximity to each other.
On my way back to the hostel I decided to follow another Kit Kat lead, this time at Tokyo Station. BINGO. There greeting me in one store was a shelf full of Kit Kats. The only bummer was that they were all flavours I had eaten before and not too wacky. Given I have 3 weeks of travel left I decided to only buy one small box (Chili… of course) as travellers and stock up in the few days I am back in Tokyo before I leave. At least I can rest easy knowing they will be mine…
Anyway, so then it was back to the hostel to freshen up and head off for my big reason for doing a couple of days in Tokyo so early… BORIS. No, not a person, Boris the band. They are my favourite Japanese band so I was crazy excited to find out they were playing in Tokyo just after I arrived. So with the help of Ayako and her mum to help secure me a ticket (thanks Fujiko!) I was all set.
Now first odd thing. Doors opened 5pm. Support on at 6pm. Boris on at 7pm. For a club show. Man that is early! But I liked the sound of that… easy to get home. So off I went to Daikanyama Unit, which I found easy enough. Holy cow it was small! Not much bigger than my back living area! I knew Boris were not particularly popular here in Japan but this is smaller than where they will be playing in Melbourne next year. All the more exciting for me!
So at 7pm on the dot, Boris wandered on stage to completely blow my mind over the next 2 hours. Oh man, they played the almost perfect set and sounded amazing. I was giddy!
I got the 3 songs I was itching to hear (Pink, and Rainbow and Farewell gloriously for the encore) and they played my favourite of the new tracks. Their 15 minute version of Aileron was one of the most glorious things I think my ears have ever heard. Ah… so happy… and it was only the second day of my holiday.
The other not odd but different aspect to the show was the crowd. I knew Japanese crowds were meant to be reserved, but given Boris are loud and raucous and alternative, I wasn’t expecting the crowd behaviour. A smattering of polite applause after each song was all Boris got for their efforts. Then, the demand for an encore came with some more polite applause in unison. Odd, but a nice different experience!
So that’s it. Sleep now, then on to the Shinkansen tomorrow morning to head to Nagoya to meet with Glen, Ayakao and little Masato for some good times.
Have a great New Year everyone! I am not sure when I will post next as I will have limited internet access while staying with Ayako’s folks. See you in 2012 🙂