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"I was Changed By Rock and Roll"

Musings on shows and introspective resolution. Yeah right.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Live at Bukkodan

There's so much to cover about the last two days. It's been whirlwind.

Got off the plane yesterday at 3:30 or so and immediately realised that Jack's comment about Japan being an alien planet was completely dead-on. Even the airport felt like a different world. Unlike anywhere else I've been, the language is SO different than english (and the writing, too) that it doesn't even seem phonetic; from now on when I see someone Asian speaking English I'm going to think it's strange.

My Hotel is (of course) on the other side of the city from the airport. By the time I figured out the bus system it was 4:30, by the time the next bus left it was 5:30, by the time I got to my hotel it was 7:30. So much for my first day.

But push-push-push was the theme. I got settled, figured out e-mail, sent a couple out. Ate. Terrible food. Buffet and they were going for Western; why the fuck should I eat western food in Japan? Oh yeah, it's free.

At the desk, I found an english speaker and asked her where to go out at night. I told her I wanted crazy. "Did you see Lost in Translation?" Yeah, of course. "That's Shubuya. You don't want that crazy." Um, yeah I do.

She hands me a map of Ropongee. "This is easy to get to," she says. I think about all the cities I've been in with a "nightlife" that turns out to be a letdown.

I leave the hotel, and walk through a mile of moving walkways, corridors, and steps before I reach the train station. Different planet? Um, yeah.

How the fuck am I supposed to read the subway map?

After a bit it becomes obvious that the map does, in fact, have English translations; not only that, the announcer says (in a Japanese accent), "Next stop, sorinjariku station." AND each station has a different name! there's Seibu-Senjuku, Higashi-Senjuku, and Minami Shinjuku. And, of course, Shinjuku.

Actually, the subways are great: they run on time and the station-masters all speak english (kindof) and have been exceedingly helpful. I've only had two disasters. The first was when I was standing, lost, in a station and a woman offered help (this seems to be unheard of here; even when I've talked to english-speaking people they seem to eye me with more than a little distrust). The second was after Bon Jovi (yes, I saw Bon Jovi. It was awesome, mostly because of the un-ironic fandom of the guy in front of me, and the fact that 52,000 people phonetically sang along with "Livin' On A Prayer" while I sat in the back row gleefully taking notes and thinking about how I'd spent more on a ticket for fucking BON JOVI then I'm going to spend on the rest of the trip combined.) Anyways, there are two different kinds of lines, the regular lines and the JR lines (as far as I can tell, this does not mean junior.)

Long story short, JR lines aren't marked well and I ended up in the wrong place. But I found my way back.

Where was I? Oh shit. We haven't even gotten to night one.

So she sent me to Ropangee, and said it was tame. Which it is, if you've been spending your life drunk, high on cocaine, and sleeping with hookers all while eating raw meat and listening to Hulk Hogan records in Amsterdam. Seriously: this place made every "nightlife" scene I've ever experienced look like the nonexistent bar next to Pirates of the Carribean. I was offered a "Massage" as I got off the subway (no, Mom and Dad, I did not accept. I had that chance once in Amsterdam, I did not take it, I will never take it. She was cute, though.) Then, walking through the street, pimp after pimp invited me into their "bars." These are places with pictures of naked girls outside and free beer offered. And I did not accept. Why?

Because I've heard too many horror stories of foriegners leaving places minus body parts and I'm a scardey-cat about that shit. And I'm not here with anyone.

AND: There was a beatles cover band!

They were all japanese, and were fantastic. I shared a table with a japanese couple (who I think had previously been massaging each other); the three of us (and the rest of the packed crowd) sang along to "Eleanor Rigby" and "Two of Us." And I came back, put on "Lost In Translation" -- and promptly fell asleep.

Which brings us to day #2. Again, where to start? This morning I searched Craigslist and found another American alone in Tokyo, so I offered to meet up with her. I have no cell phone. This did not work. If Roberta is out there, I waited 30 minutes for you before perusing the chachki shops and eventually finding food.

Did I mention it was sushi? Did I mention it was delicious? Did I mention I spent $10? Did I mention I stuffed my face? Did I mention even I'm jealous of myself? I didn't? Now I did. MMMMM.

Other things I did: Went to the bridge where the Harijuku girls hang out. Now, here' the thing -- pre Stefani, I wouldn't have known nor cared where Harijuku girls hung out, 'cause I'd never heard of them. To explain the freakishness -- let's put it this way, one of the girls was in a Pokemon outfit, with white face makeup and somehow looked goth. Basically, it's schoolgirls in fetish outfits, but not sexual in a weird way. And everyone wants their picture. So it's exhibitionist. But not. In a weird way.


I went shrine-seeing, ended up at a chachkimart/amusement park/farmers market, and then realized I was only two subway stops (on the cursed JR line) from the Bon Jovi show. It was 5:45 pm; I HAD to at least check it out, right?


Unfortunately (and unbeknownst to me) the show started at 5pm, promptly (that's something about these Japanese -- they. are. prompt!) But I really didn't need more than an hour of the Jovster, and I had the cash on me (yes, the ticket was expensive, no I didn't pay for the trip, no I don't want to think about the fact that the "massage" would have been less expensive than an hour of Bon Jovi).

So what'd I get?

Bed of Roses -- with a rose on the enormo-dome screen.

I'll Be There For You -- "From the album New Jersey" (no screams.)

Bad Medicine -- With clapping and singing.

The Jovster: "If I were a Baseball player at 44 years old, Id be retired!"

Raise Your Hands -- With Unironic hand raising

Some new slow song. Bathroom.

Living on A Prayer -- I love that I was the only one in my (nosebleed) section who recognised "You've got to hold on to what we've got" as the Jovster strummed his acoustic to intro the song. Oh yeah.


Some new slow song. What's up with that, Jovster?

One Last Cigarette -- featured a really dedicated fan trying to jump the 15-foot security barrier and getting grabbed and thrown to the ground by the beyond-ubiquitous security. Dude, give it up! Jovster: "Another Satisfied Customer" (note: he said this at least three times in the hour of Jovi I caught)

Runaway -- This song sucks

Keep The Faith -- this one sucks even more. But everyone clapped, which kind of made it cool.

I left after this, when the Jovster said "Thank you Tokyo! Gracias! Bonisima! Aragatto!" Apparently there was more, because I thought I'd beat the rush and have some ramen, but as I was finishing dinner the show ACTUALLY let out. Which kind of pisses me off, because it means I could have seen "You Give Love A Bad Name."

So my one regret so far is that there has been no karaoke to speak of. That may change tomorrow (I hope so.) I wanted to rally tonight, but my bed's looking oh-so-fucking-good. I will sleep...

Aragato, Gracias, Thank You,
Another Satisfied Customer


At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Anna Farris sightings?


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