Love in the Time of Tequila
It's wacko weather time here. Sunny and hot yesterday, rainy and cold today. Ah, the rainy season.
So, Jeff's Birthday (Party) Present last Friday was a success. I think it was everything he hoped. Red Shoes is a really cool space, and a famous one, too, at least at its former location (Rolling Stones played there back in tha day, as well as Sheena and the Rockets, and other famous folks) .
On this evening, there was musical entertainment by Tequila Muchos
and DJing by several people, like Macky, Tomoi, Max, and Jeff himself, making his DJ debut.
Tequila Muchos, true to form, forced a lot of people to come up and do tequila shots to, you know, that song, including me (again I show my love -- everyone knows I despise tequila). Abby had Jeff's mom write a birthday letter, which was read by Macky and translated into Japanese by Abby (at least, I believe it was; I had to assume he wasn't supplying his own version). Accompanied by sentimental music, it was quite touching. Awww.
Abby also ambushed the crowd all night with his hooch-filled squirt gun.
Lots of friends showed up, from all our various tribes (this is just like the Society section in Vanity Fair or whatever, right?)
Golden, playing last and finally forcing me to recognize the guy sitting at the bar all night (Kota! What's with the mustache?!), was the hit of the night. Their performance was followed by an impromptu rendition of "Yokohama Hachi-ji No Densha" by Jeff and much dancing (DJ Max was under orders to get everyone up and dancing. It worked. Can't resist "Rockafella Skank").
At the end of the evening, Helen, Cynthia, Osamu, Jeff, and I attempted to find Whitney, who had theoretically absconded to a local place for some quieter conversation (all conversations at the Red Shoes were necessarily conducted through shouting), but we had to give it up as a wild goose chase. Helen, justifiably annoyed at our drunken Tokyo meanderings (she'd had a rough week), escaped in a cab, while the remaining quartet of us ended up at the Train Bar (used to Mistral Blue) in Rappongi. The owner/bartender treated us all to shots of Jameson's, which made my third shot of the night (I never do shots, ask anyone. I can't believe I was still upright, let alone coherent. Maybe I wasn't, I was hardly a good judge of that).
When Jeff and I walked out of there, it was full daylight, and lemme tell you, there are few sights less beautiful than Rappongi at the other end of a Friday night. We attempted to find a nearby love hotel that the Train Bar guy told us about, but that ended up another fruitless endeavor, so we hopped a cab to Shibuya.
There was another frustrating search, because, as we should have guessed, it's really difficult to find a love hotel in Shibuya with a vacancy at 6 am on a Saturday morning. But, we had success at last, in the form of a room that was twice as expensive as we had planned. But, at that point, it was totally worth it, and besides that was a "Living in Japan" box we had as yet unchecked.
OK, I guess I need to explain what a love hotel is to those some of you who don't know. Love hotels only exists for one purpose, and I bet you can guess what that is. The reason for them is that privacy is at a premium in large Japanese cities: a lot of Japanese live with their parents or other family members, because apartments can be very expensive. If you are lucky enough to have your own place, it's tiny and has paper-thin walls.
These are the official reasons for love hotels. Any others are not mentioned in the tour books, but you can pay for "rest" (an hour or 90 minutes) or "stay," which means you spend the night. You cannot leave once you are in your room. We were happy to find that our check-out time was 3:30 pm. Woo!
The room was nice, and a little what you might expect. It had no proper windows, so we were suspended in whatever time we chose (which was not daylight). The bed was round, and so was the bathtub.
Said round bed revolved, which may not be the best idea in our condition, but the controller was awesome, reminiscent of those giant buttons one finds working factory conveyor-belts.
There was the oddest vending-fridge, and lots of toiletries.
As for the rest, I'll leave up to your imagination. This is a family blog.
We rolled out of bed and took the train on a surreal afternoon to go meet up with our kids, who were in the patient custody of Jeff's folks.
We spent our last day with Rich and Mary Lou doing the Shibuya tour, which every visitor has to see at night (which came rather quickly due to our late waking time). Rich and I got yelled at for taking pictures from the Starbuck's upper window (which has the best view of the outrageous intersection), which is absurd. I guess our product-empty hands prompted such ridiculousness. Whatever.
We had a lovely Italian dinner at Jeff's favorite Italian place (really good, can't remember the name, but I must recreate the anchovy-olive-basil-capers-red pepper pasta I had), and we said our goodbyes to the elder Davises. I hope they had a great trip. They are, as always, easy guests, and are welcome to stay with us anytime. At this moment, they are basking in the Hawaiian sun, recuperating from their busy Japan vacation. Aloha!
I leave you with a PSA we spotted Saturday morning:
No, it wasn't at the hotel, it was at the train station. Read the fine print. Better than doing it driving. I've never been able to do that.