The second big event of our third and last cherry blossom season in Tokyo last year was hanami, or blossom-viewing, in Yoyogi Park with the usual suspects we'd gotten to know by going to shows: Jharrod, Meika, Daigo, Jordan, Aaron, and Audrey, mainly.
One of those people was also Leif, who you might remember from a previous post about how I finally hung out with him in person this one day, all day, after we had followed each other on Instagram for like two years (owing to a mutual appreciation for street art) and just kept missing each other by one venue, or one weekend, and otherwise never got the chance to meet face-to-face.
Hannes had met him a couple of times at those shows while I was sick at home. He's heckin' nice, and a big guy famous for his "weird moshing", which I can't even try to describe because, again, I never got to see it in person, but it sounded totally over-the-top and hilarious.
Most everybody else knew him too, at least a little bit. He played in a band in Tokyo called Hipster Funeral that I also regret not seeing. (I went to see Guevnna for "free" this one time at Ruby Room instead, because my friends were all going, but I felt ashamed, and Leif was like, "Come on, it's not like you're never going to get another chance to see Guevnna again," because they really do play all the time, hahah.)
But so, that one time I did hang out with Leif and do a thorough street art walk and visit a penguin bar - which is horrifically sad like most animal attractions in Japan, don't go - and sit outside drinking convenience store gin in the rain was just a couple of days before he left Tokyo.
He came back to visit, several months later, with his friend Lisa, and this hanami party was thrown for him.
And actually, Leif visited again this year, and the same drunken-picnic-under-the-flowers thing happened again too, so yes, this post is very relevant one year later, thank you very much!
I've also not shared all the photos Hannes and I took that day, and there didn't seem to be too many taken (or at least posted online) this year, so here you go! Enjoy the throwback.
Hordes of people on tarps, that's how this goes.
Daigo is one of those brave souls who organises these things, shows up hours early with a tarp, stakes out a spot, pins it on the map, and holds it until all of us other lazy assholes eventually get there. Yes, of course you can have one of those bottles of cider we brought. Cheers.
Trying to catch grapes
... Catching grapes?
This here is Leif (in the middle, with the beard)
And that's Lisa, to the left of my derp face.
Hanami parties tend to blend together, people come and go, and groups in different locations visit back and forth; I have no idea who all those people are aside from Lisa, and this small blurry section of Jharrod's head.
On this particular day we discovered that Hannes has a real talent for taking up-close portraits, which came as a surprise even to him (he also took the picture above, which had been standard for him up until he tried this).
Aww, I miss Meika..
And I love this one.
Pensiveness intensifies, intensiveness pensifies
This looks like a movie scene.
This guy next to Daigo is Taku, who fronts another grindcore band
called JK肉壺切断, read "JK Nikutsubosetsudan".
Honestly I was probably just trying to listen to a story while my contacts dried out with the drinking, though resting bitch face is equally likely
Here's Audrey, being very French per usual.
Leif was clearly nostalgic and emotional all day, reminiscing about all the good times he'd had, and feeling sad about his time in Tokyo doing things like this and drinking chu-his having come to an end. It was tough to get a picture of him smiling, the whole thing was so bittersweet.
Something about settling this with drag racing in vintage cars
That's cheap convenience store plum liqueur, I think.
Jordan doesn't appreciate our efforts to document it and neither does Jharrod
Another excellent one Hannes snapped.
Aw.. See what I mean, though?
lol okay well that last candid one was really nice!
Lisa adapted to Japan during this trip, her first ever to the Land of the Rising Hangover.
There we go, that's the nice one.
I also exchanged details with this woman but never spoke to her or saw her again; she didn't go to shows, at least not any of the same ones, and she didn't make it through my last Facebook friend purge. RIP Sarah
Also looks like a movie still
This is Daigo's elfin girlfriend Miho.
I like this one a lot too. These particular shenanigans, I think, ended up with whatever this trick was supposed to be lighting the inside of Daigo's pocket on fire for a second.
Okay, now the really adorable ones of Jharrod and Meika start, steel yourselves..
Definitely got a winner here
And here. Who would have thought that Hannes had this talent?!
Eventually it got dark, and people started getting blurry and spectral.
"Oh well, it's too dark to see anything, except every line and smudge and zit
when you use the flash Hannes, goddamnit"
I can't even imagine what happened here
I would say something critical about Hannes using the bright-ass flash again and robbing us all of our precious sight for a few confusing moments, but he caught Jharrod and Meika really well again, so it worked. This time..
No one really wanted to go home, but the group did split in two at that point, to go to two different shows. The bulk of us headed to Earthdom, one of our regular spots (along with Pit Bar and Nakano Moon Step).
Still not appreciating our efforts to document this outing,
still probably planning on settling this with a vintage muscle car drag race
The train was fairly packed. But, like, in the way that the Yamanote Line always is.
I look like I'm trying really hard to find a happy place but I was well used to it by this point lol
Hannes also took these. This Japanese guy plays in The Erections, and is a friend of Jordan's.
Is this art, or is this art? I say it's art.
I'm jealous that I wasn't the one who took it.
The same crust punk band as his back patch, as you can plainly see
Honestly I didn't see much of the show; I was at the adjacent convenience store wrapped up in a conversation with Audrey for a lot of it. I'll leave out the details about how she and Jordan were wrestling on the narrow busy sidewalk in front of the venue before that :P
We were also too drunk to find appropriate camera settings
and this venue is super dark, so everybody stayed blurry and spectral.
Warp Speed, captain!
But at least the all-important toilet is in focus, right?
Finally, this is our old street, with a light pink halo and matching carpet all along it,
as we were walking home when it was finally time to call it quits and sleep everything off.