Because I was cruisinbg around the city over the past few days I decided to hit the breaks a little bit and go around the neighbourhood of my host’s house during the day instead of chasing after tourist sites the whole day. It turned out there was just as much to see as in other, perhaps more famous places.
I first wandered around the block of the bus station. I still haven’t really understood the whole concept of how streets are named here, but I think it works more as blocks than with streets. For example, there are street names, but the address of the house depends on the name of the block. The station I usually get of when I return from Kishincho is named “Kitasuna ni-chome”. That “-ni-chome” could be the name of the block, but I’m not quite sure. Anyway, so I wandered around a little bit and came a small temple, maybe one for the neighbourhood. It had a pole in the yard on which in different languages and with european lettering was said that “peace shall prevail on earth”. What’s interesting about those neighbourhood temples is that they sort of look like any other house, only that it looks like a temple. Usually there’s a car parked in front of some house on the area, sometimes it might look a little bit run down. But it’s completely different from the enormous presence of a church in Europe. It has more of the feeling of “I’m here but don’t fel bothered by me”. Very considerate and humble. Around the corner was another unfamiliar sight where I ran into a cemetary which was located right next to a multistore car park. Very unusual for european eyes.
A little further down the line I came to a small park like area with little channels so I decided to continue my walk there. It looked rather modern, but still very refreshing and peaceful, and do I have to metion that it was clean as well? What I noticed were the numerous signs warning the pedestrians and bicyclists of watching out for each other. Now while Germany might be the country with the most signs which tell you what you cannot do, Japan might be the country with the most signs which remind of things you should look out for. It never says “forbidden”, it always asks you to be considerate and relies on your cooperation.
After grabbing a snack at a convinience store, those really helpful 24/7 mini supermarkets which can be found all across the country I went back to the house to eat it there. I especially wanted to eat something called “melon pan” (Melon Bread), although it dones’t taste like melon at all, it’s just sweet bread. The other thing I ate was different though. Okonomiyaki bread is bread with an okonomiyaki filling, some sort of pancake with meat and vegetables, which is famous in Osaka and Hiroshima. I got an Hiroshima styled bread this time, which also included noodles, as this is the Hiroshima speciality.
In the evening a german friend of mine invited me to a live concert of her boyfriend so we were meeting at Shibuya station. Shibuya is one of the hippest parts of Tokyo and as soon as I came out of the train station I knew why. Enormous amounts of people were swarming the streets and the junction in front of it was covered by people walking across it every 45 seconds. It is impossible to find out how this all works, but I was happy someone came to pick me up, because I would have been lost for sure. The show itself took place in some small club a few blocks away from the station. Five bands were scheduled to play and the boyfriend’s band Olde Worlde was the opening act for the evening. When they started the room was already packed and people seemed to like it. Although it has to be said that a japanese audience is very reserved. There is almost no talking in breaks between songs and everybody listens to what the band has to say. Still the band doesn’t complein about it. Completely impossible in Germany. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to remember the other bands’ names I also saw. The next one had their best moments when they were playing a very energetic blues sound, but the third band blew everything away. Completely out-of-mind hip hop with Sega and Nintendo like melodies and an overly energetic MC who drove the crowd nuts. They absolutely loved it. We hung around outside a little bit before the fourth band was to start who was to feature a member of Numer Girl, I band I heard of before. But when we got in the place was so packed we were only able to watch one song. Which sounded very promising though. I might ask someone to pick up a record for me.
So instead of hanging out at the show we went to a ramen store to grab something to eat and that was very delicious stuff. With a refilled stomach e headed back to the club, grabbed the boyfriend’s bass and took of for Shibuya station where I was handed over safely to my host who just came from a DJ set of her own. Back at her home I was introduced to her oldest sister, so now I have met the whole family. The only one’s missing is the oldest sister’s husband, who was already asleep when we returned.
Tomorrow I will go to Nikko with a german friend, so I have to get up early. There’s new pictures at the flickr site, so enjoy.