Tokyo, and ahhhhh.

I’m in Tokyo again. Looks like I’ll be there until sometime on Wednesday evening, when I make my way to Yokohama. If there’s anyone in Tokyo who reads this blog and feels like meeting up, email me! (I’m not expecting anything, but I do get some hits from Japan — in fact, more official hits from Japanese servers than from Canadian ones! — so whatever, hey? Email me, we can do lunch or hit an izakaya or something.)

My feet are much happier now now that I have some new sandals and took care of my feet a little. It’s kind of hard to find things like a file for your foot when you don’t know where to look, but I got one.

I just spent about 40 minutes tonight standing outside of Ikebukuro Station, listening to a folk brilliant little folk duo — harmonica, tambourines, stuff like that. Bought a couple of their CD-singles. Sweet kids, and they sang their hearts out. I wish we had more street buskers in Seoul.

This evening, just walking around, I saw:

  • a throat-singer accompanied by a lute-like thingie (not a shamisen, not anything I’ve ever seen before, I seriously have no idea what it was…)
  • a bunch of guys banging on African drums
  • some skaters in a skate park; they sucked, but who am I to judge?
  • a quartet of tap dancers who were trading fours, and seemingly improvising rhythms that made my head spin — not because I couldn’t track them, but because I’d never seen someone who wasn’t a trained musician doing things with rhythm like these four young people were… and they had style to boot
  • a crowd of people just dancing in a park, and I don’t mean standing around in a circle pushing one another in to try a 3-second dance move they saw in a Hyori video, followed by embarrassed hiding of the face and flight out of the circle and back to bending their knees slightly to the beat; this was real dancing, in public, some of it perfectly awful, but most of it quite gleeful
  • numberless folk and rock acts singing all over the place, some of them really good, some of them bad, but a good number of them quite tolerable and not one amplified to the point where it hurt my ears to walk past them

I wish I could see things like this in the streets of Seoul. I wouldn’t have time to do it everyday, but it’d be nice if it were possible on a random Sunday evening. The kinds of things I miss from Montreal, bits of a vibrant youth culture and of cultural atmosphere in general that I have seen loads of here without even trying hard, but have to really search to find in Seoul.

Am I just not looking in the right places? And if I am not, where should I be looking? (Outside smoky clubs, I mean.) I know about the Flea/Free Market in Hongdae, but surely there’s more than that?

Ah well, in all, I had a good day.

2 thoughts on “Tokyo, and ahhhhh.

  1. I love Tokyo for those very cultural aspects! It’s such a homogeneous society, but there are always the nonconformists who jut out and are so delightful. In Korea, it seems the noncomformists are hiding somewhere.

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