Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Weekend

Yesterday Meredith and I filled our day with a little shopping, 2 hours of karaoke, some more photo booth pictures and then after a power nap, we danced until sun up.
We spent today in Harajuku. Meredith met me after my morning private student in Harajuku (her first solo train experience) and after a tour around the Meji Shrine, we lazed in Yoyogi park which was full of life and every activity imaginable.
Yoyogi Park:
Yoyogi park had everything that I love about Tokyo and Japan. I don't know what most people think of when they think of Japanese people and culture but I certainly (pre moving to Japan) thought about their work ethic, long hours, small living spaces, high tech life, and their 'by the book'/law society. Yes I knew that they had a big party scene, raves and the like, but Bohemian is not what would come to mind. The crowd at Yoyogi Park was everything I never imagined the Japanese to be.
As you walk toward the Harajuku gate you first come upon vendors selling various picnic foods, then the skateboarders doing their tricks just out side the gates as no skateboards are allowed inside the park (law abiding yes). Once you walk through the gates, the music you may have started to hear moments before entering grows louder. If you went to the park today you would have seen the 50's dance group warming up and showing off their moves and hairdos. As you continue along the wide path you hear a several bands playing their varies forms of music from raggie to rock. Along this main path you will eventually pass the man taking his bunny out for a walk, and the Ti Qua Do group practicing, the many people on bikes and numerous small dogs. In a short amout of time you will have passed several groups of acoustic guitarists strumming away, and a large group of drummers, a mime, a samba group practicing, and the artist who pants umbrellas. The deeper you go into the park the more you will see. Soon you see large crowds of people picnicking, playing games, blowing bubbles, throwing frisbees and soaking up the rays. The areas around the pound and fountain are particularly popular. The majority of the sun soakers are men which is odd, but you will here no complaints from my end as almost all remove their shirts and many display beautiful tattoos which make me wonder that the Japanese can still associate tattoos so strongly to the mafia when they are so popular to the general population.
Everyone in the park is doing their own thing. This is what I love about Japan. I have never in my life seen so many people in one place doing so many different and sometimes crazy things. The conformity expected in daily business life in Japan is a strong juxtaposition to the Bohemian heart of the Japanese who take their day off to pursue their own individual passions and interests. Children are allowed to run around freely, no obvious restraints, no uniforms, and they are all, with no exception, very well behaved and free to play with innocence. Everywhere you look people are doing different things and you would never know that these people are most often described as shy.

We had a wonderful time relaxing in the park.
After our chill session, we walked down Omotosando and went for some sushi. Meredith was very brave and she tried lots of dishes. She doesn't know if the raw thing is for her but she did try many plates.
We then did a little shopping as my sister Jen turns 40 this week and I needed to get her a little something and ship it back home express. Hopefully it will arrive on thursday morning which i her actual birthday day.

After a walk through the Harajuku alleyways and had a crepe before we found ourselves too tired and headed home for the evening.

Night night.