There’s not much connection between chickens and Tokyo, unless you count the two kg of chicken you can get for 500 yen at the wholesale supermarket on Meiji Dori.
Since I’ve got a houseguest who seems hellbent on seeing everything, I figured I might as well join him. Hence, the headless chicken dance.
Today we hit Shibuya, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, the Kabuki-za in Ginza and ate shabu-shabu in Ikebukkuro. If it doesn’t sound like a lot to you, I’d like to try whatever drugs you’re having.
It was a bit of something old, something new. Shibuya, Harajuku and Yoyogi Park I’d been to before, but Meiji Shrine was new, and all of them are fun to meander aimlessly around on a Sunday.
Meiji Shrine was a grand example of Japanese shrines – lots of wood, lots of flowers, and the most interesting bits closed to the public. However, there was a wedding ceremony that we caught a glimpse of, with the bride in a full wedding kimono.
After strolling through Yoyogi, doing a bit of CosPlay Goth watching and impromptu traditional dance observing, along with the standard Harajuku/Yoyogi nuttiness, we turned south to take the Ginza line up to the kabuki theater.
Shibuya’s NHK Plaza on a Sunday has always been a kind of clusterfuck. Today, there was a celebration promoting Niigata traditions in the main area with the stage, while all the wanna-be bands with big dreams and the crazies doing off-the-cuff adaptations of “Singing in the Rain” were on the promenade leading towards the station.
Ah, the Floating Kingdom of Contrasts…
By the time we hit Ginza and the Kabuki-za, the theater where kabuki performances are held, the sun had dipped below the buildings on the western horizon. Kabuki is a centuries-old Japanese style of acting involving elaborate costumes, melodramatic gestures (in a good way), a bit of audience participation and male actors playing all the roles.
The stories are fairly simple, which is good because otherwise I doubt I would’ve understood anything. This general killed that general, or his brother or sister or dog or ferret or something, and now somebody is out for revenge.
Even with my crap-ass Japanese ability, I can usually make out a handful of words here and there from TV shows or movies, and at least get the gist. In kabuki, they speak more or less the equivalent of Shakespearan Japanese, so even Japanese people sometimes have a hard time understanding the words.
Fortunately, the dialogue and narration are punctuated by sharp actions and harsh glares, long stares and the mental jiu-jitsu of trying to figure it all out.
However, it is damn repetitve. Worse than opera. It’s a good thing they sell one act tickets as well as the more expensive full-price ones.
The night ended with shabu-shabu, a glorious meaty and Japanese way to end a day that was gloriously indulgent of all that Tokyo can be on a Sunday.