Happy Knife Day
We went to our first live muay thai fight last weekend, courtesy of Martine's sweet new promo connections. It was at Ariake Differ (same place I saw Johnny's fight). It was rather surprising to see Martine, a pacifistic soul (I thought), get into it. She was so excited to take pictures, she went right up to where the press photographers were. Nobody said anything to her, beyond some encouraging thumbs-up from some spectators we suspect were interested the view of her from behind. Anyway, the Thai guy, of course (despite the crowd cheering for the Japanese guy) won the final match, but this was an earlier one, in which I saw my very first live K.O. It was awesome.
We also saw a guy carried off on a stretcher. M was all excited whenever there was blood.
Wednesday, I checked off one of my last-month goals. I had been searching for a "ramen" lantern for Jeff, and my internet search yielded Kappabashi-dori, which is the Kitchen Street of Dreams for restaurants and cooking geeks. It's near Asakusa, which happened to be having it's matsuri that day. Asakusa is crowded on a normal day; that day, it was nearly intolerable to me and my second-day hangover from hanging out at the Tavern with Cynthia and Osamu (strongest drinks in Yokohama, especially if you are friendly with the bartenders), and later, Smiley at the pool hall. Anyway, the good thing about the matsuri was that there was the obligatory yakisoba stand, which is my favorite hangover-remedy food.
It was a relief to get away from the Sensoji area and its throng, and walk to nearly-deserted - by Japan standards - Kappabashi-dori. (See here for vague directions. Not great, but they got me there). I had fun looking at all the kitchen shit I could've spent lots of money on had I known of this place's existence two years ago. And all the plastic food! I managed to just buy my treasure-in-mind, and yes, it made Jeff very happy.
Speaking of Jeff, we went to see Shonen Knife at Shinjuku Loft last night (it was our secret-anniversary celebration. 14 years!). For those of you who don't know them (incredibly) they are a Japanese girl band that gained mild popularity in the US in the '80s and '90s, far more than in their native country. But they totally rocked and I have never seen a Tokyo crowd so excited. There was a mosh pit and some crowd-surfing and lots of sweaty pogo-ing fans were happily bouncing around. There was a heavy gaijin presence. Maybe that had something to do with it. (There was this little mohawked guy who totally reminded me of Tom Smurfski. Few of you will know who I'm talking about. Val, are you reading?) There was a new bass player, about 20 years younger than the original members, with a huge, permanent grin. And they played the most rockin' version of "Top Of the World" I've ever heard, for an encore.
It was also a night of amusing train ads.
Read this one fast.
And this one reminds me of the conversation Shannon and I recently had about nonsense phrases. You know, those meaningless syllables you say when someone is rambling or saying something that makes no sense? Personal extrapolations of "yaddayadda" and "blahblahblah." Seems like a lot of people I know have had those things, like "orble-jorble" or "ee-ba-dee." This one is Shava-Dava. I don't know what it is, but it's a funny name for a drink.
Today I am back to Tokyo (been spending a lot of time there lately), for lunch with Helen, and an evening of karaoke with Martine and the Kichijoji crowd. I get to meet the illustrious Innocent Girl, visiting from Australia, at last. Looking forward to it.