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::Starlight, starbright… may I record your existence tonight?::
Ok, so it’s a tad late for wishing Merry Christmases…..
The blur of days that preceded Christmas since Japan and ‘Arare chans’ last post was highlighted by one enormous event.
Held in the galleries above the Carlton Hotel in Bourke St Melbourne it was the launch of Melbourne’s newest illustration agency, the Jacky Winter Group. The taxi drive in flash floods and hours of high heel shoe wearing were definitely worth it. Jeremy, our intrepid agent, was , as always, the hostest with the mostest. He looked even more the part with Oscar the bird on his shoulder. There were also three other birds, a cockatoo, galah and cockateil who spent most of the night on Kat’s her arm and pooed on her foot…. more photos can be seen here too!
For some reason I took very few pics of myself and also regret not getting a pic of me with Oscar the parrot, who matched my dress;-) … and who was such a gentleman all night. Many thanks and congratulations to all involved… it was a brilliant night and by all accounts a great success!
Also, in my last few days in Tokyo I found a selection of goods made by Marini Monteany
…. love it!!!
… and finally here is a photo of my AI2 showing me her mice… (take note of all the Miyazaki characters that inhabit her bed).
Ncha! He, he… (cough, cough). Well coming to the final leg of our tour here in Tokes and it’s getting a little nuts… why innocentgirl insists on a shopping frenzy just before she leaves and then discovers it impossible to carry home I don’t know!
Saturday 8th : We wake up, but not so early as we are still feeling the head colds, and get ready to head out into the streets of Shimokitazawa with Little Brother for some hardcore shopping. We prepare ourselves for this with a coffee at the cafe just opposite some shops in the street that leads to the station. innocentgirl notices some colourful buckets in one of the shops and says that they look really cool … next minute some passersby stop and assess the buckets, they buy one, no sooner has that person left than another does the same, and another… even Little brother is eager, he runs over and grabs the last purple one…. it’s become a bucket frenzy! It would appear innocentgirl’s powers of persuasion are quite strong today. If only she would use them for good and not consumer evil!
With coffees finished and buckets acquired it’s time for shopping. Christmas presents, clothes and some seemingly ‘useless’ items are the order of the day. Big brother has asked for more t-shirts from a cool little shop called ‘No more tears’ so we spend endless hours messing up neatly folded shirts, buy some and head off for more shopping. Basically what Shimokitazawa doesn’t have… isn’t worth buying.
That night we head to Shibuya to the bar of a guy we met in the Yakitori place just opposite Little Brother’s apartment… it turns out to be a huge restaurant and he’s the chef! Even though the place is packed they find us seats and treat us like royalty. At the end of the night the chef takes us to the register, bows and says it’s all on him!
We head back to Shimokitazawa on a train, packed with people, I am squashed in my bag and almost seperated from innocentgirl in crowd… just when you think no one else could fit in suddenly the doors open and more people cram in. innocentgirl tells me she always has the urge to start singing out loud just ’cause everyone is so quiet and trying to avoid looking at everyone else.
We have a couple of drinks at Little brother’s favourite bar ‘Ma and Ka’s’ and have some laughs with the bartender and the regulars that are frequently attached to the counter. Since I lost my shoes and I kinda look pathetic I have started asking for money… it’s a new trick I learnt. Whenever I meet a new person I ask them for money and if they give me some (I have a little bag) then I give them a kiss. I really ham it up and the other night I earnt 726 yen! innocentgirl says she felt a little uneasy about the whole thing but I’m totally fine with it.
The funniest thing was one guy innocently mentioned that he wanted a kiss from innocentgirl instead…. so funny when Little Brother swung his head around, stared him in the eye and said “What!”. Even funnier when he stood up, towering over him, and grabbed him by the collar… he he he… totally joking of course but the guy was really sweating bullets. Ha, ha Little brother is so funny!
Sunday 9th : We get up, drink coffee again and leave Little Brother at home cleaning while we head off to the Nurie Museum (a museum about colouring books!). It is hard to find and really tiny but there are lots of works on the walls and everyone is really friendly. The museum, although about colouring books in general, is dedicated to the works of Tsutaya Kiichi… innocentgirl has always loved his illustrations and was happy to see them up so close.
Then it’s off to the Edo Tokyo Museum, which is right near where the sumo train, we got to stand next to two big guys on the train ride there.. innocentgirl was fascinated by their perfect hair juxtaposed against their totally mashed, cauliflower ears….at the musuem innocentgirl saw the works of Hokusai and some really cool artifacts from the Edo Period… I, however, was left in a coin locker….huff!
It was getting really late and innocentgirl remembered she still had to pick up her portfolio from the Chance 10 exhibition at Gallery Lele… we made it with 2 mins to spare. Heading back to the station we went to the little coffee van that sits opposite the station entrance… best coffee in Tokyo… seriously. We stand there in the cold warming our hands on the cup and sipping our latte when a girl, who is also sipping away, asks innocentgirl where she is from… thus begins a conversation. We find out she was a ballerina her whole life until she broke her back, since that time she has travelled and lived in Switzerland, now she is back in Tokyo but wants to live in London and teach Yoga, her mother runs a macrobiotic restuarant in Tokyo and that is her part time job. We both agree that Tokyo is wonderful but with all that there is happening, but often people work too hard and make very little time to meet new people…. so many people but so much loneliness.
When we get back to Shimokitazawa we have a soup curry with Little Brother and then head back for an early night.
BTW innocentgirl was recently on the Awagami blog, cool! …. byecha! See you in the Antipodes!
Well it would seem all the cold air and walking and meeting and greeting and stuff has led to me and innocentgirl getting colds.
Still we must soldier on….
Here are some of the reasons we might be sick…achooo!
December 4th : After losing my shoe (and much complaining on my part) we headed to Tokyo station to meet our friend Kumi and Hime!! Hime is my bestest friend in Japan and we always have a good time. We drove out to Chiba where we had dinner with lots of lots of old friends… dinner was Shabu shabu.. you know “What kind of restaurant makes you cook your own food?” Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.
A boy called Pinku came and Jun and Ishida san and Akane chan and Yuriwa chan and even Dai chan. It was a great reunion followed by drinks at Joint bar and watching some weird Reggae dance competition of some girls wearing not many clothes… humans are so funny!
Yuriwa chan as a teeny tiny apartment but we managed to share a futon and a kontatsu together that night.
December 5th : We woke up kinda late, after getting to bed at 4pm, actually I didn’t want to get up at all until I found out we were having Tarako Pasta at Hime’s favourite restaurant. So good, then we had cakes too!
It was so cold and we couldn’t decide whether to go to an onsen or Disney Sea so innocentgirl got out her Magic 8 ball… best of three decided ‘Disney Sea’!
So we all packed into Kumi’s car and headed along the bay where we had some drinks in the bar there while we waited for the after 6pm cheap pass. Wow, Disney Sea was just as innocentgirl and I suspected… a totally surreal and bizarre experience. Everyone seemed really happy but it was the kind of happiness that is more of a maniacal grin than a smile. All the buildings are kind of twisted like cartoons and everything is just a little bit off in size… really kind of ‘uncanny valley’.
The rides were insane : ‘Tower of Terror’ which is a freefall drop in an elevator, ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ and some others I can’t remember the names of… all of them included a running commentary with intermittent screaming by Kumi… we all laughed more than we screamed really. We saw some show on the big lake which apparently had Mickey and Minnie singing… I got bored though… jeebuz those guys are such showponies sometimes.
We got back in the car and headed back to Chiba around 10 pm or so and ate some awesomely good Japanese food before heading off to share Yuriwa’s futon again. I realize it’s been some time since I laughed this much, something about Hime and her friends make me feel like I have no cares and I just laugh and laugh at their funny stories.
December 6th – Wake up feeling really sore and tired. Seems we have both caught colds…. we manage to find our way back to Shimokitazawa where we both fall onto the bed and sleep for a few hours. We grab a conbinni bento… so good to be able to find healthy food in a convenience store, that really is convenient! When little brother finishes work we go out to eat Oden, which is basically a whole lot of yummy things floating in hot water and you pick what you want. Seems little brother had a big night the night before so we are real keen on both getting a good nights rest…. ahhh, oyasumi!
December 7th – Off to Shibuya… we check the Tobacco and Salt museum but the lady says they don’t have my shoe … poo! Down the street though at Tokyo Wondersite is a real cool exhibition on Digital art… they have games on DS and even a Wii that makes waves in a ukiyo-e picture… yatta!
As promised innocentgirl takes me back to Harajuku where she buys me a new outfit… finally! She also buys some real cool toys for her nieces and nephews.
innocentgirl has been taking lots of notes and scribbling little pictures all the time… she tells me lots of new illustrations will be on the way soon!
We have more photos at flickr too…. until next time … ncha!
Well I gots good news and I gots bad news ….. Good news is : innocentgirl’s illustration appeared in the Dec/Jan edition of Nylon (US) magazine….. Bad news is : I lost my boot!
Still it’s not all bad, innocentgirl promised me a whole new outfit as compensation…. bye cha!!!
PS(This pic was edited and uploaded using Skitch a really cool app made by my buddies at Plasq).
Ncha! Arare again….
Autumn in Tokyo is making me feel very dreamy… have uploaded more pics to flickr and here’s the rundown on the past few days:
Thursday 29th : Quite a boring day for me really as innocentgirl insisted on drawing and wandering Shimokitazawa for most of the day. I stayed in my futon and kept warm…. I wish she’d buy me some pants! Oshiri wa samui yo!!!
Friday 30th/ Saturday 1st Dec : Little brother, his friend Nicos, innocentgirl and I head on down to Yokohama after dinner. We walk and walk for what seems like an eternity, or at least they do, trying to find the place where Sipmoc will be playing their gig. Finally they realize we have been wandering the street that runs parallel to the one we actually need to be in, jeebuz! Anyhow we step inside and find a nice little corner to hide in and wait for the band to come in. Kumi, Akkun, Yuriwa, Isamu arrive and finally I get to see my best friend ‘Hime’ again… yay! We danced and danced!
After the gig I was hanging out on one of the tables when this dude with a fro grabbed me and took me to the dance floor…. it was crazy fun! innocentgirl freaked out when she couldn’t find me though and ran around looking for me…. so funny!
By the time we crawled up the stairs to the street above it was getting light so we went for a breakfast at Denny’s and then hopped on the morning train home. innocentgirl and little brother had a surprisingly lucid conversation all the way home but I mostly nodded off… then we climbed into our futons and slept till after lunch.
innocentgirl slept like a log, the kinda sleep that leaves wrinkles on your skin, so when we peeled ourselves off the futons we all had showers and got ready to head on in to Shinjuku to a bar where Martine has an exhibition at the moment. It’s really big compared to most of the bars in the Golden Gai and you can even get meat pies and vegemite on toast. It’s called Araku.
I had an Asahi with the barman while little brother, Martine and innocentgirl chatted ’bout stuff.
Little brother went home but we went to Kichijoji with Martine to stay the night. I’ve stayed there before it’s a really big old house with a backyard even… she has a turtle too but I couldn’t play with her ’cause the cold gets her down so much that she practically stops moving altogether… man how boring.
Sunday 2nd : I am so excited I can hardly get innocentgirl out of bed fast enough, we have pancakes for breakfast made by a real, authentic Canadian guy, Greg (Martine’s housemate) with real, authentic maple syrup. Yum! Then it’s off to the park… the weather is perfect and the leaves and so, so beautiful! So many people are in the park and everyone is happy and laughing. There is this real wild, looking dude who is reciting manga and for a very small fee he will read you some, he even includes all the sound effects! innocentgirl and Martine take so many pictures. Then we meet Tyler, Darin and Kat and their new human Jake… he’s real cool but didn’t say much.
It’s so relaxing in the park that we almost forget to go to Shinjuku where a real cool art event is happening run by Tokyomade and Lade clothing. There is a DJ (who played some awesome tunes) and live painting and we get to hang out with Deanne and Masao and check out the cool goods on show. They make us feel warm and fuzzy… or was that the three wines?
Then it’s back to Kichijoji for some pasta at Moscow and back to Martine’s.
Monday 3rd : Get up early to have a shower and get ready to head in to Ginza to meet our friend (we met last time) Shizu Fujimori. She works for the Awagami Paper Company and she is so, so lovely! We went to eat Curry and we talked and talked about Art and Tokyo and paper and Australia… then she took her photo with me. Please check their website, they have been making beautiful paper for 1000′s of years.
Off to Shibuya for gallery hopping tomorrow!!! Byecha!