March continued to be awesome after the Moonstep show with Pangrok Sulap and my newfound satisfaction with my job right into this most epic Sunday with Rejon.
Hannes went to Berlin on business for a week, and since the near-full-time contract I'd been working on at the main office had ended just about then, I only had a few hours of work each week and way too much time on my hands. It was really weird, actually; kind of like a combination of being back in college again and being back in Korea and single again, working what we called "the true split" (only the first class at 6:45 A.M. and the last at 7:30 P.M., because Berlitz was going under and didn't have anything else to fill out our schedules with) that left my days almost entirely free.
So I had seen this Scandinavian Lifestyle Market event going on at the popular UNU Farmer's Market in Omotesando and we decided to go, then play it by ear from there.
It was overcast, windy, and chilly, though
I think I approved of that more than Rejon did.
Hrrnng cute useless nautical ceramics
Hrrrnngg cute useless Swedish sugar cookies
Hrrrnnngggg those candles smelled AMAZING why were they so expensive
Hrrrnnnnnngggggggg why am I looking at these?! No one needs loose ceramic tiles!
... Not even if they're beckoning you, damnit!
All of the handmade and vintage household items, furniture, food, tasty overpriced coffee, and knick knacks were pretty adorable, though, and a small sampling of what I hope my life eventually looks like.
More dedicated friends and relatives may remember the post I did years ago about the minimalistic, natural, Scandinavian Christmas aesthetic, and that I've always had what amounts to a huge crush on those countries. Now that I realise how irrelevant, dusty, hateful, and nonsensical Japan is, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark have that mental pedestal all to themselves, so here's hoping their respective governments get the whole issue of migrant integration more or less worked out.
The Farmer's Market has a bunch of produce stalls and food trucks out front.
I asked meat wagon guy if his soup was vegetarian.
Guess what his answer was.
Guess what everyone's answer was.
But that's okay.
Shibuya has more street art than anywhere else in Tokyo, because it is the hip place for people who are cool. Mostly I really dig slaps, and mostly street artists here work in the medium of stickers, but there are a lot of tags and pretty decent graffiti around, too, as well as some murals that I need to hunt down and take phone pics of one of these days.
Rejon and I had looked up a few other options for our day, and we decided to walk over to the central part of Shibuya near the station to find Only Free Paper, a purveyor of local zines. Can you even "purvey" something if you're not charging? Oh well.
On the way there she was super patient with me while I took what amounted to about 40 photos; I was way too excited about the dense stickerscape all around us.
How interesting are these ones? Moored ship from an interesting angle photo?
What does it mean?!
Unsurprisingly, this ended up being a local brand of, wait for it:
Rejon: "Oh, hey, a vagina."
Finally, Astro Boy, at long last!
I had never seen any of the famous and widely-shared Invader pieces around central Tokyo, because using one of the maps you can find online kind of kills the joy of it if you have enough time to just walk around and spot some on your own.
Here's a really interesting article about the changing graffiti art landscape in Tokyo that helps explain why slaps tend to be the chosen medium.
Recently a number of spots in my neighbourhood and along my various work commutes even got scrubbed clean of their stickers, which I thought was especially pointless and shitty considering how dingey and dull things like electrical boxes are. It's not like they were covering any text, numbers, or instructions, or disrupting the functionality of the things they were stuck to. Lighten up, Tokyo metropolitan government workers. Those cool stickers brightened the place up and made it more interesting than bureaucrats with paint scrapers ever did.
Also, the Only Free Paper location in the Parco department store actually just consists of two or three small bookshelves placed against one of the building's pillars (We were like, Okay?) a few floors up. Based on the Time Out Tokyo photo, though, wherever their actual storefront is, it looks really interesting. Does it still exist? Does anyone know? Another mystery for the ages, probably.
We ended up eating at Viva Goa, an Indian restaurant just off Takeshita dori and yet totally separate from it, because we were in that dreaded mid-afternoon time gap between lunch and dinner when most Indian and Thai places are closed. They had simply kept their lunch buffet going because they still had customers, and their fluent English-speaking owner accommodated me with all kinds of vegetarian extras.
We feasted like lords and I totally think you should go there.
So we ate Indian food and walked all around the back alleys of Harajuku because we had decided to go to an owl cafe - Owl Village to be exact, which is right across from the modeling agency we both signed up at last year - an were waiting for our scheduled hour to come in and interact with the birds. I was pretty surprised there was still a time slot available and was overjoyed at the successful impromptu decision to finally check it out.
The 1500円 admission price includes one soft drink (that denim and glass bottle, classic ad material, right?) and one small gift; I think Rejon chose a tiny glass owl figurine, and I picked a pin/button.
Look at the little pissed off one!
The hour of admission you pay for includes, I think, 35 minutes in the little room with the owls themselves. The drinks are separate and you of course must sanitise your hands and check the guidelines before touching and holding the birds.
Don't, like, try to fight them or whatever. You'll lose.
"Ohh my god!"
Oh my tiny feather moustache he has woken up.
-heavy breathing intensifies-
(tiny voice) You! Upon what do you fix your revolting human gaze?!
I am majestic! I am ineffable! I am fluffy!
"Oh, I has feets"
-180 degree turn-
"Oh, he has feets"
"And you has feets."
It went up and perched on her head
It's on her head
"Lemme just get this offa here.."
"There we go! Majestic hat photo op."
(clearly she did not actually say this)
He's so tame, the handler and probably anyone else he likes can cuddle him like a baby.
-blacks out from prolonged intense heavy breathing-
Can someone who knows owls tell me what the fuck this one is sitting on?
I mean, I thought they stood on their feet. This one is sitting like a human.
Physiologically, what is happening here? Did he evolve a butt after a lifetime in captivity?
It looks so unnatural, I have so many questions.
He's making a little pathetic shrieky "I want attention" sound but it looks so much like genuine befuddlement. I am smitten.
Raw chicken time.
This is their biggest owl, Bob. For how large he is (his taloned feet are almost as big as my hands, dude), he's amazingly docile. Every now and then he makes a chirping sound that seems way too tiny for him, and the owners of Owl Village insisted that he's very huggable, but neither of us wanted to try going in for a full cuddle on the first date.
The white barn owl took a big 'ol shit of liquified, digested raw chicken onto the floor, mere moments after being peeled out of the pink and white hair of a Dutch woman who was in the room with us, narrowly missing us all and spraying my black boots with a fine, white, stinky mist. When the owner whipped out the mop (the Swiffer kind, with disposable wet wipe sheets) to clean it up I was like,
"... What is that one doing?" -gestures toward extremely agitated owl-
"Oh, him! He hates the mop. Haha."
-whispers- "Hates it."
-owl intensity intensifies-
The little moustachioed one woke up! When I looked at the pictures later I was like, "Aww, it looks like you're crying in this one!" to which Rejon replied, "Yeah, I probably was a little".
The next night I headed out to Earthdom for the P.L.F.show (I can definitely count on one hand the number of Monday shows I've gone to) and to meet who was our brand-spanking-new friend at this point, Jharrod. I guess we actually met at that same venue during the Warfuck show two or three weekends before, but it was one of those rare nights when all the foreigners crawl out of the woodwork and are drawn like moths to a flame to one very special place, and the planets align and mystical forces converge, and I was also too drunk to remember.
I asked Self Deconstruction's guitarist Kuzuha if this ensemble was Meta, the lolita brand I coveted as a 15 year-old who still watched anime, but he was like, "No, Angelic Pretty."
and at that point sempai ceased to notice me. I am shame.
These are from Bodyline though, right? Right?!
P.L.F. have been doing this for well over a decade and play an extremely tight set.