Saturday, January 9, 2010


Happy New Year! Winter holidays are over and it’s back to work. After Christmas I spent most of my time showing a friend around Tokyo and its surrounding areas. We got to see a kabuki performance, which was lucky, considering the famous (and very old) Kabuki-Za theatre is being torn down in a couple months and being completely renovated.
We also played some pachinko. Pachinko is way less fun than it sounds. And it sounds horrible. When walking into a pachinko parlour you’re met with the sound of a million million steel balls ricocheting off the pegs inside the game. It sounds like the engine room of some great ship. Couple that with second-hand smoke and flashing neon lights, the whole experience is a sensory overload. Oh, and the chairs are designed to pull you right into the machine, should you push away or lean back. It was like being inside the heart of some giant out-of-control manic robot clown.

New Years was spent drinking nihonshu (a mix of sake and shochu) in an izakaya in Tokyo this year. We did the countdown with everybody else in the restaurant, except for the table adjacent to ours, who did theirs two minutes later… which struck us as odd. What did they think was going on beforehand?

My New Year’s resolution is to stop carrying around so much shit in my bag. I never wanted to become one of those girls with irritatingly full shoulder bags, but I find myself reaching in for my wallet when it’s time to pay for something and embarrassingly grope away like a 13 year-old boy trying to get to second base. Here, then, is what’s in my bag:

-emergency battery for iPhone
-assorted tea bags (this month is Lady Grey and popcorn tea)
-pamphlets/tickets to things/receipts
-extra pair of underwear (black, if you must know)
-broken South Africa keychain
-book (currently reading Kafka on the Shore) (So guhd)
- 2 spoons
-no, wait, 3 spoons
-lip shimmer
-insurance application form with scribbles all over it (this is telling, don’t you think?)
-packet of soy sauce
-maple candy I brought from Canada (I don’t like maple. I brought these to give to other people, but now they’ve gotten all scummy and manky at the bottom of my bag and would likely give someone a bad case of thrush)
-glue stick
- earrings I thought I lost
-broken pens

…I may have issues.

Tokyo is a walking city, but after a while we were able to duck into a basement cigar bar near Harajuku, where we sat down like rakish highbrow types and ordered port and sat in high-backed leather chairs and exchanged sly witticisms while smoking cigars etc etc. Struck with the realization that I had an opportunity to indulge in some bad-assery, I opted to try the whiskey, mainly to satiate my preoccupation with Captain Haddock. Nope. Still can’t drink the whiskey. But going to places like this may ruin my life in the most magnificent ways.

I was recently made aware of a place in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district (lit. “pond bag”) called Nekobukuro (lit. “cat bag”) where you can go and play with cats all day. If everything is born of necessity, places like this is what makes Japan so bloody peculiar. Adam’s allergic and I’m in kitty-withdrawal, so I made a special trip with Juan to see this place, which is just a big room with cats comfortably tucked into every nook and cranny, as only cats can do. They’re used to being pet all day so they’re completely indifferent if you go up and poke at them while they’re trying to sleep. I happened to have some string with me, but I was popular only as long as their attention spans held out. Either way, they were soft and cute so I was happy.

Overall, it was a busy and tiring holiday. However, Adam and I weren’t so worn out that we couldn’t appreciate the novelty of this enormous carrot, which provided suitable entertainment for an entire evening.

What small lives we lead.

1 comment:

  1. That is indeed a very large carrot. It's kinda sad that a carrot like that wouldn't make it to the market to sell here in Calgary, it would probably be cut up and put in a plastic bag. I did find brussel sprouts on the stalk at the farmers market though, and it made me squeal.

    I too carry way too much in purse, to the point where it causes mild shoulder pain... but my life... it is in the purse!