Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ueno, The Less Said the Better

Today is a day that will live on in the hearts and minds of us all.

We passed up going to a penis festival.

I know, right? Who would do that. Who doesn't want to see Japan's ten foot tall penis carried around? You could buy penis candy, and penis veggies and all sorts of other things shaped as penises. I'm told this has to do with warding off STDs. Probably not going to work – but maybe? Anyway, I'll never know. We didn't go there.

We headed to Meiji Jingu shrine, which is the Las Vegas of Japan, I'm sure. Within an hour we had seen seven or eight couples get married – with creepy voyeuristic photos of all of them. Still – it was a cultural experience, and there was a stamp at the shrine.

Then we went to Harajuku.

And this was a failed plan, because the costumed girls were not out, they were all in Yoyogi, which I must saw was pure madness. Once more Cherry Blossoms covered the world, and the sky was invisible under the canopy of pink. Last time I was here it looked like a bunch of ugly dead trees. Japan – one month of the year, it's Beautiful? The only 11? Well it's still not that bad, is it?

There was no patch of grass unclaimed by picnickers. Some of them had grabbed bags full of food from Mackers. These are my people! I've decided that when I get married, on the invitation there will be two options, Beef and Chicken. These are your meal choices. If you choose Beef, you get a Big Mac meal. You choose Chicken? Some KFC. Vegetarians will not be catered to. They can Brown Bag it. Someone else will enjoy their pick I'm sure.

I know what you must be thinking, right? Pure genius. Most weddings pay well over sixty bucks for the plate of gross rubber chicken, but here I have managed to cut the cost down to five bucks to something people will really like. Hell, if they're lucky maybe I'll toss them two Big Macs!

Look, my money was all sunk into this trip – just be grateful there will be food at all.

I'm sure future wife will be on board for this. How could anyone not be? I mean really – it's quite exciting...

Sorry – back to Yoyogi. There were people everywhere, and it was like nothing I'd ever seen before. On Canada Day you get something 5% of the madness here. But that's nothing. This was just beautiful, like out of a dream. I don't know what to say beyond, you need to experience the overwhelming image of people packed together in a social ritual fully regimented, as this is Japan, after all. It was cold, but the season said come out and eat together, and my goodness that's what they're going to do!

Two girls in pink dresses with loli umbrellas were photographing other people in the park. I tried to take a picture of them, and got the umbrella shoved at my lens. Oh I see how it is, they can take pictures of whomever they want, but forbid someone tries to shoot them. Yeah that makes lots of sense. Come on crazy dressed people. You must understand you make yourself a target, just roll with it. When people take shots of me, do I get all uppity and try to stop them? No – I look ridiculous, so they want a picture. Hypocritical sons of... well daughters, well anyway...

After Yoyogi we tried to board the train to head out near Ueno. This was a mistake. I'd never seen such a packed station with people shoving in and out to get to this one location. I should have known. It's not like we were not warned by Stew... Still – eventually we made it. The only regret? We didn't get to see the crazy elvises dance.

Ueno. Ah Ueno. We searched for a tea shop. We didn't find it. We sent Stew off on a mission to Turbo to it and report back. Ten minutes passed, twenty. He was not returning. A map showed the shop didn't exist in the direction we'd sent him. Would he run until it was found? Hard to say.

At this point I started to get tired. Yes tired.

Eventually he returned, and we headed to Ueno. But I was quiet exhausted by this point. And as I get exhausted I get a little loopy. By the time we reached the park it was all I could do to keep my head straight, but then – GIANT SWANS!

Stew and I ran to the swans for our lovely park date together. And sure, they were closing down, but no – we needed to ride them. I tried to explain this, and we were told fine (I think – he spoke Japanese) if we only stayed out twenty minutes and not the full thirty. They had to close, you see.

Despite the thrill I edged more and more to exhaustion on this ride and as such the ADHD inside of my came to the surface. Needless to say we made many new friends on this ride. Friends with people on the shore, friends with other folks in boats. My inhibitions had left me, and whilst I knew only two or three phrases in Japanese I made sure to get good millage out of them.

Eventually we got out of the swans, ensuring our full thirty minutes by being the last ridiculous boat back to dock, and then we headed out for some food. What a lovely moment, enjoyed by all. People on the shore tried to photograph us, but apparently we turned away right was we headed into frame. Which was too bad, i would have liked such a reminder.

At the food stand it dawned on me that I needed to use the washroom. I had been there earlier and knew it was just around the lake. What could go wrong? Nothing I thought. Oh how wrong I was. Sure I made it there, and yes it should have been a straight walk back, but in my confused daze late at night, I lost my way, walking one way around the pond, another way, never quite coming back. Over and over I looped the network of small lakes. Forty five minutes later – yes forty five – I saw in front of me, the glowing tower of edible goodness.

When I returned it was agreed upon that I not be allowed anywhere without a buddy. This was a good idea. I decided against telling them of my quest to return, wandering past giant birds (the ride from earlier) and meeting a huge talking beer bottle (a corona costume) – I knew what they'd think. Rummy. Rummy for sure.

When the time came to head out to Roppongi for the night life of nightlife Stew agreed to help locate my new digs with me. We had moved buildings earlier in the day. I feel bad for Stew, as I thought he knew where we were going. I certainly didn't. I would love to have seen a GPS tracking of where we ended up, as we circled back so many times. Eventually my crying aloud of the word “[insert anything helpful] doko desu ka?!” got us where we were going. More friends were made on this return trip.

And then I was asleep. And all was right in the world.

Why was my foot bleeding? Right – the rocks I tripped on earlier. Good times.


  1. So like I NEED you to go to the AKB48 theatre on the eighth floor of the Don Quijote in Akihabara just so I can say I know someone IRL who's been there. Even if one of my friends is going there in the summer anyway. GOING TO THE THEATRE WOULD BE AMAZING. YOU COUL BUY ME MERC--I MEAN, SEE NACCHAN'S PICTURE ON THE WALL. YES.

    Also, Shibuya? 109? AKB48 have a song related to the 109 so it's called 109 and now I have a thing for that number. At 1:09 am or pm I go HAPPY 109! to my friend if we're talking or else I often tweet it, and I get excited if I see room 109 in a building, anything like that. My ability to fangirl and be easily amused obviously knows no limits.

    Also they've totally pimped out the whole Don Quijote with AKB posters so if you go and you go up this one escalator you will be greeted by SEXY NACCHAN AND HAACHAN. Just saying. And it's okay for you to agree with me because Haachan's almost 20 and Nacchan's going to be 18 on the first day of Anime North. *nods*

    I'm done now.

  2. so this theatre - what is it? I've been in the building a few times (it's right beside the creepy used panties machine - so very very creepy.) but you can't get to that top floor. Once, I saw people lining up outside with akb48 signs - is it for movies? Were they bringing signs to watch a movie?

  3. I've discovered what it is. It's where AKB48 performs. They do a show once a week there. The line up was for a show i would assume.


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