Tokyo, Thailand, the Manga Cafe, and Poems on the Train
posted on Monday, March 10, 2008 12:30 PM
The school term is drawing to a close here in Japan - the 3rd graders at my Junior High School will have their official graduation ceremony on Tuesday coming. So in true Japanese fashion there has been plenty of practice, and I mean PLENTY. I happened to pass by at one of the practice sessions - And I must say, I can't imagine students back home learning how to stand up, sit down, and bow in unison for over an hour - what a mind job. However, there was one moment that I was taken back by, which was when the 3rd graders all stood up, turned around and faced the 1st and 2nd graders and sang a song to them. Then the 1st and 2nd graders did the same together, and then all 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders sang together. It was a beautiful and very powerful moment, and already on many faces the tears had begun to flow. At the end of the day, I signed student's graduation photo books for just a little over an hour - it was fun!
Recently, I have been busy with the family life naturally, but also in preparation for my trip to Thailand this coming Wednesday to attend the i-genius World Summit. At the summit, I will be making a 3 min personal travel documentary video (aiming to prove 'yes or no' whether a social community like i-genius is beneficial or not), 2 min summary video of the summit (which i-genius will use as promotional footage for future summits), a filming workshop (talking about the basics of filming and what to look out for), on stage presentation (talking about my i-genius filming progress, and so on), and of course to have fun! I am really looking forward to this event, and I have a pretty good feeling its going to be an experience that will be remembered for a long time!
I went into Tokyo on Saturday to take some video footage for my video, which I mentioned above. I particular remember two interesting incidents - the first being a guy (half-drunk, or perhaps totally gone) singing Aerosmith's 'I don't want to miss a thing' to a van, with the aid of a portable stereo. On closer inspection I realised not only where there people sitting in the van, but they were in fact Keisatsu (police officers). It was absolutely hilarious! The second incident being a group of three guys holding cards that wrote 'Free Hugs' (it's a beautiful street trend that is sweeping the world over, which I believe was started in Tokyo). I took some footage of them, which I may use... but also got some love from them... yes yes, in true British fashion I gave them all a nice big hug!!! : ) I wanna go Free Hugging... maybe I should do one here in Chiba.
After I finished doing some filming I met up with my friend Nao (who I must add is a ultra cool and funny girl that I met when back in London - take note all my friends, you would like her very much - haha). We went from Shibuya to Kichijoji, had a ten-don dinner, and went to the Silver Elephant to watch my friend Ai (who is a wonderfully crazy girl and plays the trumpet amazingly) perform with her progressive band "locolo code". The live was very interesting, and I must say it was very refreshing to come across a band that is soo unique in sound, but also creatively unique on stage (tape recorder as their lead speaker, along with on stage eccentric dancing, and so on)... they are a band that I believe will go very far, and I hope they get signed soon.
When the live was finished, Nao and I then went to Roppongi to meet another friend of mine, Hami (who is a singer song writer and actress). We went to a Chinese restaurant and relaxed for a while. Hami and I are looking into the possibility of doing some work together for UK-JAPAN.net, and some short films - I'm interested to see what stories she has to tell. On a side note, Roppongi is a very dangerous place at night full of dirty foreigners and Japanese I add. It's like the dodgy end of Soho - upmarket, trendy, but full of weird and nasty people. I won't be going back there anytime soon... but let me say one thing - Roppongi at day time is very cool and safe - so please do have fun there if you go!
Well... relaxing with friends is always great! While I assumed the last train back to my destination was around 11pm something, I was in fact wrong... it was at 22:50... what a wanker... we all had a good laugh about it. Haha... I managed to get a train back into Chiba a few stops away from my destination. I then searched for a Manga Kissa (cafe) at 1:30am in the morning, and was able to find one in no time! I registered as a new member at the cafe, which took 2 mins... and I then enjoyed my first ever experience in a Manga Kissa.... awwwwww bless me... it was heaven. I spent three hours there (got the 4:50 train back home) for only 5 pounds. 3 hours = 5 pounds, is expensive you're probably thinking... but no. For such a small fee... you get your own private box, with a choice of a desktop chair, an armchair with a foot rest (which I choose), or a tatami imitated box. Then you have toilet facilities, fast internet access, free drinks, a choice of the latest manga (comics), DVD's, and of course playing the Wii or Playstation. In my box was a Playstation sitting happily in the corner - but I was far too busy replying to e-mails, and too tired to go and grab a game to play with it... besides I'm a Nintendo dude! Hahaha! Pro Evolution Soccer / Winning Eleven on the Wii is fantastic - revolutionary! It's safe to say that in Japan they literally think of everything, and I would recommend having a Manga Kissa experience!
Righty o' this will be my last blog until after I get back from Thailand on the 18th March. Below you will find a few poems (three lines each, and untitled) which I wrote while on the train back from work at my JHS last week Friday.
I say goodbye to a thousand smiles
my heart swells
Naked skin pressed against the bamboo
tight is her grip, heavy is her breath
as I come to rest deep within
Metal and fake brick flicker
trapping the sunlight on the window
face after face, they all look the same
Kimono and seifuku sit apart
a contrast in colour
a difference in time
Note: Seifuku is a school uniform