Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A nice festival in Shibuya.

Saturday was an amazing day. I'll be the first to admit it did not start off the way I wanted. I am now part of the school's radio program and on Thursday we had a meeting and everyone was complaining that everyone else was showing up late. So, I showed up about 15 minutes. I didn't know how to get to the destination, so I was going to meet someone at the train station. Not one person, but TWO people were a half an hour late. I was pretty pissed off about that. When we got to the radio show, I was a bit distraught to see how it was run. I mean, I wasn't expecting pro grade setup, but it was pretty bad. Also, everyone else knew eachother, and there I am the new guy in the group and I feel very much like an outsider. We even went out to lunch afterwards and that was even worse. Everyone was talking to eachother about people I didn't know and places I hadn't been. It was really frustrating, and I was regretting joining them.

Well, I couldn't dwell on that. I wanted to have a good day, and so after lunch, I left my radio co-hosts and headed over to Shibuya. I was in for a night I wouldn't forget.

I was meeting a friend, but I got there way before she did, so I decided to do a little exploring. On the way to Shibuya the night before, I noticed a giant sign that had guitars on it to the south of train station, so I went to go check it out. I had never been that direction, so it was crazy what was there.

There were layers upon layers of roads and walkways. I didn't get any real good pictures, but pictures couldn't do it justice anyways. It was really crazy.

(the blur makes it seem more exciting, doesn't it?)

So, there were a few guitar shops over here, and they were very different than what I saw in Ochanomizu. They seemed to be aimed at a richer audience, for the most part. This one store was 5 floors of madness and while not overpriced, it wasn't exactly the best deals in Tokyo. They did sell Moog products... For damned near twice the price you can buy in America. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit. It was pretty pricey.

The amazing shop was this shop of rare and old guitars. It was without a question the largest collection of Pre-CBS Fenders (older than 1965) I've seen in my life! It was amazing. They were NOT cheap, but I think they were fair for what they were asking. I would have taken pictures if there weren't a ton of 'no pictures' signs.

So, after viewing some guitars, I went to go meet my friend. This showed me something about myself that I wasn't happy to see.

I'm a little bit claustrophobic. I don't like tight caves and such and I don't like large crowds of people standing around aimlessly. If there is a concert where there is a stage, or everyone's waiting to cross a street, or on a train, or watching a parade, it's no big deal. But, if people are just standing there, that really freaks me out. I don't know why, but it does. My friend told me to meet her at this statue of a dog, which is a very common meeting place. On a Friday evening, there were a LOT of people there. Some were just standing around waiting, some were walking around, and some were just standing there talking. I got horribly uncomfortable. This was by far the most uncomfortable I've been here. I was on a train where I physically couldn't move. That wasn't so bad, but because this was just aimless standing, it was terribly uncomfortable. I hope next time I'll be able to handle it better, but it wasn't so bad in the end.

I was also meeting my friend's boyfriend. This is the friend with the AMAZING accent. I was nervous at first, because I was worried that he wouldn't be that cool, and/or he would be jealous that I'm hanging out with his girlfriend. It turns out I was wrong. He was a really cool guy and I genuinely enjoyed his company.

We went down this tiny street next to the train tracks so he could take us to get a bite to eat at his favorite place.

I'm starting to learn that if I want good food and good times, I just need to look for tiny little restaurants next to train tracks.

This place was a little French-themed izakaya. It was really tiny and cute.

That's about how big it is. I was sitting against one wall and my friends were sitting against another. They had little pieces of lawn furniture for tables, which was far from classy, but it didn't matter. The food was good and the atmosphere was great. I really liked watching trains pass by.

It was amazingly quiet considering that the train tracks were right there. It was truly something special.

After a little nibbling, we went to the part of Shinjuku where there was this festival. When we got there, we thought it was over, but the floats were on display. It was an incredibly small parade by American standards, with only two or three floats, but they were most certainly worth seeing.

I know I'm not normally the greatest photographer, but I'm really proud of this picture.

This thing was gorgeous. And big too!

I didn't totally understand what my friend was talking about, but this was a smaller version of a float that is from another part of Japan. That one is stories high. I'd love to see that, but I was quite happy to see this.

There were also drummers,

flute players and other percussionists,

and traditional dancers.

It was really amazing.

So, me, my friends, and a lot of other people chased the floats, dancers, and musicians down the street. It seemed to be the thing to do.

At the end, everyone got in a little circle and started talking. It seemed like it was the last kick off before they went home.

Half as amazing as the parade was, where they were having it blew me away. This was in one of, if not THE busiest and most modern part of the city, easily making it one of the busiest and most modern places in the world.

And there were traditional dancing and drumming and flute playing. It was amazing. I caught a video clip of the very end of the festival.

It was really something to see. I was really happy that I got a chance to do that. Not that the rest of the night wasn't fun, but that was without a question the highlight.

After this, I saw a decorated van!

Sure, it's not a great picture, but it was really odd to see.

We went walking and saw a singer and a portable shrine just hanging out underneath a bridge.

The singer was on a stage on the opposite side the street as the picture. She was singing some old 50's and 60's songs (I believe) that I most certainly didn't recognize but everyone else seemed to.

Then nearby I saw This:

Zelda? Is that Link's new restaurant?

So, me and my friends went to this very old-fashioned izakaya. It was a nice setting, and I got to try a lot of different foods. That wasn't always a good thing, though. Some things I tried were great, some things were absolutely terrible.

This is a bowl of octopus and some type of sauce.

It was actually one of the better things I ate. It was quite tasty, just a little tricky to eat with chopsticks.

As we were leaving, this cute grandmother bid us farewell.

Goodbye cute little grandmother, and goodbye Shibuya. I hope to see you and my good friends again soon!


eiko said...

Glad that you enjoyed the night!!
yes it was certainly precious to see the old festival in the middle of Shibuya!!
(I am sorry again that we kept you waiting at the dog statue area though)

Keith said...

Haha. Don't worry about the dog statue. It was a learning experience.

The festival was amazing wasn't it?!?! I was shocked at how great it was!

Cathy said...

hey keith; great pictures. it's good to see you diving in and making it work.