Sunday, September 10, 2006

Harajuku and Sumo

Sunday, September 10 - After a quick bowl of Cheerios (not very Japanese, I know), I'm ready to head back into Tokyo. Teena's good friend (and world-famous massage therapist) Hiroko enters our lives, armed with sumo tickets, and ready to lead the charge into Harajuku. Teena, Nana, Deb, Hiroko and I head out and hit the trains.

The Harajuku girls are something to see. Some rock the Goth look to the absolute extreme. Others are crazy colorful and cartoony, like walking manga creatures. I hear some truly cool music in the distance, and find a teen playing original J-rock through a portable Crate amp and sounding like an Asian Jack White. He stops mid-chorus and unplugs his Telecaster just as I get him in the crosshairs of my Canon Powershot. I try to sneak a photo of a fishnet-wearing transgender biker with red hair. She politely says no, claiming she doesn't want the attention. Anyway, we do some shopping and hit lunch at a popular cafe. Steak salad for me. (not so Japanese again, but still funkalicious.)

So then it's off to Sumo it up at Tokyo's Kokugikan Stadium. Turns out Japan holds tourneys 6 times a year, and we're in town for one of 'em. Opening day, in fact, which is a big deal. The prince and princess even show up for the last hour or so. They get a standing ovation like they're Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon at the Staples Center. Lots of fantastic matches, and according to Hiroko, a bunch of big upsets. A great time, even though my hot dog (again with the round-eye cuisine) tastes more like a skinny kielbasa than a Nathan's frank.

Then it's off for a quick dinner at a place called Garlic Jo's. We've managed to spend a day in Tokyo and not have one lick of J-food. Who cares, I needed a break from fried shrimp heads and fish eggs anyway.

Tomorrow, Nana and I explore Japan without our trusty Tour Guide Teena. Wish us luck!


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