Monday, January 16, 2006

Leggo my Edo



After leaving the Kyo, I took a brief detour to Tokyo for the Nippon Budokan's Kagami Biraki. I'd been to the Budokan years before, representing Tottori prefecture in a Shorinji Kempo tournament. That day, my fellow competitors probably had thoughts of glory, but all I could think was, "Holy Shit! John Lennon sang here, man!"
I'd hope to see Old School Koryu, but today's event seemed to focus only on modern martial arts demos, with the usual packs of noisy, rambunctious kids. So I decided to stay just for the first half hour, to see the process of weekend warriors in their armor. Two groups came out to a song reminiscent of the Death Star theme, and the two "leaders" ran through mellowdramatic speechs that were straight outta some Vegas show, as choreographed by NHK. Then they got down to the business at hand, cutting through a large pile of rice cakes with a sword, and smashing open a large barrel of sake with a mallet. Yet before the procession, I noticed a group of men rolling out the items in question. As you can see, the mochi's already been cut, the barrel broken. Prepackaging for the samurai set.
The rest of this warm day I spent drifting from restaurant to cafe to pub. Mahi mahi at Bubba Gump's in Gorakuen, chijimi in some Shibuya Korean joint, a couple pints in Dubliners. A restless night in an Ikebukuro hotel, where from the next room came sounds of passion, her climaxes punctuated by horror movie screams. The next morning, after spending less than 24 hours in town, I headed back toward the 'Nog.




On the turntable: Death Cab for Cutie, "Transatlanticism"

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