Monday, March 7, 2016

Weekend (1.16 - 1.19): Entertaining Mr. Patrick

Way back in January, just before Getting Sick 2016 happened, Patrick came from Seoul to stay with us for a week, because during his several years in Korea he'd never really been to Japan, and he's probably going home pretty soon. 

He flew into Narita so it took him a solid three hours to get to our station. Let that be a lesson to all of you.

Even though he was pretty tired because he hadn't gone to sleep the night before flying over, we were determined to take him to a show at Earthdom and show him a good time, whether he liked it or not. 
I decided to go the route I take to work in the morning so we could show him the shiny flashy center of Shinjuku before walking over there.



Okay, obligatory Godzilla sighting complete, move along, nothing else to see in Kabukicho

The headlining band was Saigon Terror (all they have to say about themselves that I've seen is "Fuck you we're from Koenji!"), and apparently one of the band members having his 9-ish year-old son sing one of the songs is a thing they do. Everyone flipped out over it. I mean, what a cool childhood, right?




A cool sticker I hadn't noticed there before


The next day we eventually got up and went to Roppongi to see a big Takashi Murakami art exhibition I'd really been wanting to check out, and that the guys had said they'd been down to see. The Mori Art Museum is on the 54th floor of the Mori Tower, but down at the bottom, there's this guy, which I definitely didn't notice the last and only time I was there (to open a Shinsei bank account): 



Aw yiss mothafuckin spider-pocalypse




There's this one large, hardcover art book with a cover much like this one that I've been wanting since I went to a guest lecture at my uni by the guy who wrote it, but it's like almost $200. 















Got a postcard of this one.


And a pin of this one.


Look at this texture. LOOK AT IT. 
The thick black two-dimensional lines are a deep sparkly outer space blue when you look at them from an angle. Tiny repeating patterns like this are very yes, I want it as a shirt.




many classic. so color. much skull. uwauw.



#nofilter

Hannes wasn't feeling too hot, unfortunately; I think it was the combination of a slight hangover and the super fast and smooth rocketlike elevator ride halfway to the moon.







A little bit of background: arhats are like bodhisattvas, people (re: men) who have attained enlightenment but stayed behind to teach others/generally do good. 
The main difference seems to be that arhats have interesting stories about how they've each done it in their own way, like this one tall bald doofy guy who was depicted (it might be that one in the melting Technicolor dream coat next to the goat tree thing, actually) apparently scrubbed floors until the meaning of life hit him one day and he transcended this existence into one of pure, magical, derpy bliss.


The king of all cheerful flower pillows watches over them, unblinking, from his flat cushy throne




This is how he feels about massively overpriced collectibles, decorations, and accessories






"lol but why though"

I had been super excited about going to the limited time themed cafe that's open for the duration of this exhibit, too, and the decor certainly didn't disappoint.



Even the floor!


Yet more things I'm not supposed to eat but wanted anyway, but guess what? SOLD OUT. 
Major party foul.


Hannes and Patrick did get the lattes, though.




I intentionally soiled the pristine table



After the Murakami Flower Cafe we walked over to Gonpachi, the famous restaurant that inspired a fight scene from Kill Bill. Hannes has taken visiting politicians and other degenerates there for work outings before, but I'd never been.




It's pretty cool, and kitschy, with intense ethnic music






You can watch as they cook everything, and accidentally keep letting the yakitori catch fire


Hannes and Patrick had the course menu, which was apparently good but to me seemed pretty sparse with long waits between little plates.




Shouldn't have soba (almost always mostly wheat) or soy sauce, but once again, whatever!


The seaweed salad was pretty good and totally allergen-free, though.


Oh hey, look who's been here.

Walked by this ridiculous-looking place on the way to the Geronimo Shots Bar


We didn't actually do any shots - I mean, it was a Sunday night and we were pretty tired - but we watched as a group of friends did 15 rainbow ones in a row to get little gold wall plaques like this. Looking for the funniest, most wasted quotes is a good way to spend an hour or so.


Blade Runner-esque, no?

The next day was, completely unexpectedly, Snowkyo 2016.

We were like, wtf. Does this happen here?

Getting to work was completely miserable. The whole city nearly ground to a slushy halt and all day everyone talked about how hellish their train commute had been. I barely made it in to work on time, my feet completely soaked and numb because the rain that was driving face-wards was building up under the snow until it was a couple inches deep; the worst story I heard was from someone who spent five hours getting to one university class because they needed to be marked present for credit.




It still looked like this when I got home in the late afternoon.
Patrick had stayed in the whole day after I'd told him what was going on.


Lumpy the snow derp hahah

The rest of the week was pretty fun, too; Patrick is laid back and our schedules fell into sync. He came back around dinnertime when we got home from work and we usually ate together. Each night he was here we watched a movie, too. It was nice having someone to chill with after having been largely starved of friendship for a year.
The day Snowkyo happened we were supposed to meet in Harajuku, so we did that on Tuesday instead because my night class had been conveniently cancelled. After walking down Takeshita-dori and having Mexican food (the side effects from my burrito were pretty worth it), we went over to the Kawaii Monster Cafe because we didn't have any better ideas. I decided to make a separate post out of that; it was pretty alright, but I think I'll only go back if someone else who's visiting on vacation is interested.

Afterward we checked out a music store with synthesisers and stuff that Patrick had wanted to see, but of course, they're closed on Tuesdays. Tired of wandering around, we went around the corner to Omotesando and had some interesting cocktails (whiskey tea?) at a spacious half-basement cafe before walking to a distant station to meet Hannes at Akasaka Mitsuke once he'd gotten off work.

We stopped at Kiddy Land on the way because we had some time.


These little individually-wrapped chocolates seem to be a kind of trend; 
some of them are made for spelling things




So cyberpunk.


We went over to this neighbourhood, one stop from where Hannes works, because his coworker had shown him this little back-alley izakaya and he likes its authentic feel. The employees looked a little shocked to see us and were very emphatic about no one there speaking any English, but it was fine.


Wee fried river shrimp




"Um, slimy saucy sea squid thing, could you maybe just not?"


We also got maki, and had some of that "real" wasabi people talk about. It punches you right in the sinuses and then disappears, it's so weird and intense. I can't wait to feed it to more people, haha.

About a month after Patrick was here we had a guy from Hannes' hometown who lives in Singapore here for a week, but I was still sick for most of it, was off work, and had no energy. 
The next people we've got coming are Nico, his mother, and Hannes' parents, so here's hoping we can finally get down to Hakone for some views of Fuji when they're here. After that, no one else until Halloween. 
Since we're not sure how much longer we'll live here, the invitation is still open to anyone else who can find the time and pay for the flight, too!