Friday, August 19, 2005

13 nights in Ohashi

We moved on to Noyuri's brother's place in Ohashi
Recently and nicely redone Studio Apt. with kitchen and nice bath - when we had time to use it , white washing machine cube out on the concrete veranda . 2nd Fl.
Close to Shibuya and walking distance to Daikenyama (and the Unience Cafe Excite broadband access) as well.
There was a party in Daikenyama held by clients of the company Noyuri works with , held in a fashion concept shopping plaza second night we were in Tokyo .
There was some coolness under the green leafy end of the streets , less hectic as some other places
Before the gig i went into Bonjour Records and was pleased to see they did have a row of Delic's DCC CD . After the gig more pleased to return and find there were three rows of This Is Riphop Japanese release CD's (J version bonus' more unreleased cuts , mixes from 1984 At The Marble Bar sessions , nice little fold out with Noyuri Tokiwa's photos from 1985 , plus Video docu footage of DCC live at Danceteria by Fred Dewey)
Had a great time looking through the Adidas Store in Daikenyama as well ,
a sweet girl on the sidewalk passed me once , then returned to hand me a card as i waited on the sideway . Front of the card was a nice photo of hers from a gallery down the street .
couples dressed just so sideways worn baseball hats and torn jeans shopped the streets , bleached haired boys in their 20's in 2-3's up and down the streets ,
the ladies often in pairs , with shopping bags attached
Bikes are ridden on sidewalks , mostly

Walking bk to the Domi Inn along by the river during the gig nights (except for the mosquitos) .
Small one of a kind shops preparing to close,
bustling multi story funky restaurant with a food car out front that always had people around it when we passed
Grafitti covered wall where the street curves around and comes to the river crossing (much more graffiti around then i saw last time , t'was 2000 spring) .
many people signing tagging, some pretty cool looking

By this trip Shibuya has solidly displaced Shinjuku as being where i spent free time
but this time we stayed in town and that made traveling about more bearable.
We avoided traveling when it was going to be crowded
bt as Noyuri said on my last day yesterday
when I asked if where we were stopped for a moment in the train station was a good enough spot to hang back in for a moment for ...
'Yes , but then another wave of people will be coming soon again ... '

People on bikes like to come zooming down the hill from Shibuya past the hospital in Ohashi as they ride onto Ikejiri . Not a word , sometimes you get only the squeak of bike brakes right behind you as they stop for an instant
Kids young boys and girls middle agers , old men and ladies all whizz by
Once in a while you do hear a bell or see a nod of the head as they encounter you on the sidewalk , close to clipping you .
i'm the only one around not used to it
but i try not to focus on it
Aug. 5 my birthday (47) . was good
Aug. 6 Toshi from Plastics talking about the 1980's @ Tower Records in Shinjuku with Kan Takagi . We ask for them , Kan comes out smiling and feels like part of our family already . The store monitors play a DanceHall Queen DVD with a silly awesome booty - shaking edit sequence . Fans crowd the space and line up for his signing ,
we say our goodbyes before the first fan arrives for Toshi's sign
Then off to the NS building Top floor for nice pizza at La Pausa ,
take in some favorite Tokyo nightscapes of Park Hyatt (Lost In Translation) rearing up below , the gentle wide curve of the soft lit hotel some floors below
other huge reflecting glass and stone buildings towering through the area ...

Aug.7 Noyuri's friend Mrs. Chiharu Oda picks us up in her car in the underpass at noon and we drive out of the city about an hour and thirty minutes to
'the gateway of Chichibo' at Hanno . At Hanno Mrs. Oda and about a dozen friends have thrown in and are renting a large two story 100 year old wood house and are setting about growing myoga , keeping the grounds reasonably cut back maintaining the house and are redoing some of the interior .
hung out for some cicada sounds filled moments up in the tall forest that edged their property . the cicadas were quite large and could be seen flitting from tall straight tree to tall straight tree as the deep forest afternoon shadows .
A stream ran through down from the hills , there was a considerable fish pond with big fish cruising through it , bright extra limegreen spikyballs of chestnut filled the trees around the house and along the road I walked down aways ...
High green hills rose around the valley and there was a train station within walking distance from the house
Oi Town
Sayama tea
Oizumi Junction
Niza City

El grand
Fuji Phobox
GT Apex Levin
Vectra . names of cars on the highway back
We see a young Japanese truck driver dancing in his seat to 'Para para' dance music in the cab of his truck , all hand signs and fluttering , only later he realized anyone was actually watching him
Shibuya night scenes in the love hotel district , streets filled with girls dressed in goth death rock waiting for a group to come out variety of notable torn stockings on some . they dispersed over the hills downinto Shibuya main streets ...
Beautiful lunch in a peaceful , quiet restaurant . Nezu Institute Museum with long walls and large dense tree garden with houses and small statues green in the shadows a row of houses backing out on one end of the garden , the chill Idee design store , grilled fish and snacks dinner @ Sato back in the neighborhood

Used book stores and Great italian in publishing district with Toshie Murata,
an old friend of Noyuri's giving her the editions of a recent printing of works by Seiko Tanabe by Toshi's company . .
A Rock N Roll bar and afterhours bars the kind i had heard about before,
Many vinyl record covers line a back wall and there are stacks of records being changed constantly Frankie Valli Ventures Stones Yardbirds Eric Burden flow by our window view out onto highway across Roppongi . The vinyl sounds great
Find out Mick Rock was here shooting kabuki again and just left yesterday .

Back to Unit to see Yoshimi's 00100 and Toshi's Water Melon .
Really dug 00100 , surprising me from the start , nicely developed percussion and drums teamthen add the combined vocals by Yoshimi , fretless bass player AyA and guitarist Kayan and drummer AI just rocking it all the way through the set .
Meet many people who came to the DCC gig and
saw Masami Tsuchiya was there seemingly enjoying the show .
Masami did a record I like called Rice Music i still have one song on a cassette 'Night In The Park" that I continue to play and pehaps some will know him from when he came in for Japan towards the end when i recall he played bass or guitar for them .
Chica from Plastics was there too in the audience with her family

Checking the insects and plants at HK's Apt. One cricket really started chirping after we gave them sprinkle of water and new fruit
Strolling through nightime Yotsuya after an impulse Burmese dinner follwed on our heels a drenching thunderstorm that swpt through the area, leaving the first truly cool air since we had arrived . ,
we stop at an impressive allnight restaurant grade grocery store , a first in that part of Tokyo . End up just getting some choco

Aug. 16 . A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits off Sendai . i'm sitting on the floor in a folding chair watching the TV when i feel the building start to move .
Then it kept moving , and it went on for a long time ...
the video footage from Sendai train station was showing shaking like crazy ,
building up and going on for a good long time
Walking through Nishi Shinjuku's tall municipal buildings up to the observation roof (free) , then over to the workers clothing shope that's now infamous . We could pick it out from the Tower
over to the Park Hyatt and up into the rarified atmosphere above the 30th floor into the restaurant lounge with it's shock of greenery .
Down a set of small roads winding right then left then left again deeper into Shimokitazawa . White walls , larger scale houses including some nice minimum design houses ad , somehow it reminds me of a sea side beach town .
Taxi back home after a great italian dinner and great friends who have their very nice house they worked up and got built 5 years ago

Aug. 17 Odaiba via monorail ,
at dinner the Fuji TV building filling the sky in front out the window,
Shibuya's Don Qioxote for another suitcase , woman who just minutes ago was sitting prominantly in a cafe we past heading into Shibuya got up on her motorcycle and noisily veered into the cross walk where she then proceeded to fall over ito the street while stradling the too large chopper ...
gig flyers , plastic fans handed out on the streets ,
see a friend of Dave D's from NYC sweating on one of the love hotel area back streets of Shibuya ,
shopping at Marusho in Ohashi over the 13 days there . Simple great grilled fish , yogurt on sale 'for members' , cucumbers , bananas , round Japanese pears and peaches , sushi, death rain chips selection (from the UK it turns out) , and a good panya shop with black sesame bread and all kinds of sweets, cakes , pastries .
The Great Journey
Michio's Northern Adventure
Logo bookshop in Shibuya
Uniglo Mongolian Airlines sweatshirt
Siouxsie And The Banshees CDR's went down well , in a couple of occasions
played Jigsaw Feeling first thing for my short DJ set' at the DCC party 8/3, went on to play Paul's Theme from G Moroder's Cat People and DAF's A Little Bit Of War before handing off to Nick DJ High Priest
Led Zeppelin
Eno On Land
Deep Purple
Free Live
Big early hit and the blues of Carmen Maki ,
the sometimes nutty lyrics and music on Bowie's Lodger (Fantastic Voyage
Move On , Yassassin , Red Sails (lotsa Neu in there B) .
First timing listening to the whole thing in many years , the Ryko rerelease hasd a nice feature , they always found 2 unreleased cuts to add , in this case I found
I Pray Ole which sounded pretty good . Bonus

The book of the Nada movie (there's a more regular girl and a Goth rocker)
from the comic book-into movie-into a selection of the black leather jacket ,
the tops,pants,shoes,pre torn leggings that Nada wears in the movie .
CG on the CD cover of R Sakamoto's post Bladerunner ish cinematic music for the NHK Special on Japan's future .
Sheer size bulk complexity of the Fuji TV building . On it and in it there are hundreds of people riding along escalators and elevators , sprawls so large it takes up the whole window of the restaurant we are eating in .
Great Chinese food , harsh sunlight reflections ,
the air inside certain floors of the Park Hyatt , smooth ride of trains
ghosts air conditioners speaking to you when you turn them on soon to have changeable voice colors characters . Noyuri secured a nice Bento fish lunch on the train out to Narita every seat was full after Tokyo station

Watching The Translator movie with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn on the screen on the flight back , many NYC fly through scenes , graceful

After we landed , we got into line for Customs then got the news the computers were down' , so we lined up and soon theyt were checking passports manually and got it done.
Saw online yesterday it was a computer virus that got 'em ..

in the AM

Woke up in NYC . 4:29 AM
Back in my big soft wide bed , have to look around for the first couple seconds -
yeah back in my place now .
Roll over to see the red lights blinking on and off the tops of buildings downtown - no not Shinjuku this time
Outlines of humans structures out there in the cool night far windows lit up
drifting this AM through many thoughts ,ideas , memories from 28 days and nights in Japan ...
now well into the bubble - ish experience of returning after a good sized trip somewhere far away hearing the music we listened to ...
sorting through 900 CD's and DVD's of Noyuri's brother Akira's collection

One evening before i left
Noyuri and i made it outside to do one great thing that hot day ,
Around 4 PM we caught the new train line out of Shinbashi monorail across Rainbow Bridge out to feel cool wind in Odaiba , one of the really commercially developed artificial islands on Tokyo Bay.
Knows me knows how i love those islands , the very idea of them and seeing them again by simply staying on the rail the whole length out past Big Site to Ariake was just great.
Vast vistas of downtown buildings edging out onto the waters edge ,
ol Tokyo Tower beacon magnet in a skyline mix of sharp looking buildings ,
Shiodome , Number 13 island
giant loading docks skelatals like from Evangelion outlined against the ink black of non - lit space.
Touches of Hong Kong (old HK) in the neon lined ferrys barges boats
floating sheltered by break walls covered in bright green veg
area , bobbing there with the long curving artificial beach stretching on around .
Some reminders of Battery Park City too , the plunge into green areas after walking in shadows of huge buildings , laugh of people moving a bit slower and less robotic then bk 'in town'...and there was a breeze
on this fine day Tokyo August 17 .
Grand openess of views out onto water ,
neon slick Tokyo Bay water that has been subverted from what used to be it's natural patterns made to move around these giant islands that are continually jutting further and further out into the Bay ...
28 days . From Tokyo to Osaka , Kamakura to Odaiba ,
Yuri's to Ikejiri - Ohashi and some other places in between .
Planning days having to combine locked in dates with busy people we love and have to see and then all the new stuff that pops up , people who call , how hot it was that given day and how we felt at the time .
Didn't get the same really tired feeling i used to get by the time i left
Tokyo this time . I used to not be able to handle all the differences and they ganged up until i was relieved seeing my last day day in Japan.
Did get tired of course , some overdrinking , overeating and maybe a touch of oxygen deprivation but i didn't feel burned out by it like before .
5 years since i last went , throughly processed/analyzed/digested/recovered and zen since my last trip to Japan .

More to come ...
Distracted by late night . a group of NYC students get out of cabs at 4:40 loud
early morning garbage truck gassing through
Stuyvesant Town and look up to see the sun's come up
Peace out