Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wrong Side of the Tracks

A perfectly nice day in a perfectly nice SEEMING town. Like a Transformer (tm), There is more here than meets the eye!

The other day, I ended up walking home from a different station than I usually do. It was a nice day, and the walk through the quiet neighborhood was peaceful and relaxing.

That is, until I noticed THE SIGN.

The sign in question was a yellow paper, your standard 8 1/2 x 11 page, laminated, and taped to a fence.
It looked like a haiku, and since I like that kind of thing, I stopped to read it.
It said:
変な人 (hen na hito)
話しかけられても (hanashi kakeraretemo)
話しちゃダメ (hanashicha dame)

Well, THAT's not in 5-7-5 verse! I scoffed superiorly, until I did a comedic mental double-take. WHAA?
Wait a second, did that sign say what I thought it said?

"Strange people
Even if they talk to you
Don't talk back."

Well, there goes my plan to start random conversations in that neighborhood! *budum-ching*,
I joked to myself, and continued on my merry way.
But my merry way was littered with these signs, posted on windows, doors, gates, fences, all different, all creepy.

Slightly troubled and bemused, I went around snapping pictures of the signs.
Which of course in retrospect seems like a stalkery thing to do, and I'm probably lucky I wasn't arrested by a clearly traumatized populace.


Anyways, in a move of support and solace, I am posting these up here for your amusement sympathy.

minna no me
kodomo wo mamoru
bouzai kamera
warui hito!
boku-tachi minna mo
miteru kara!
anata no mirai
minna mimamoru
Everyone's eyes
Are child-protecting
security cameras.
Bad People!
each and every one of us!
Are watching you!
Mr. thief
Your future
is hell-bound.
Help each other
Watch out for one another

This was the other side of the train tracks from my neighborhood, literally, and even though it looked like a perfectly nice normal place, I can't help but wonder. What the hell happened to you, my neighbors?!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Tokyo Geeks

What? I've not been writing? Sorry, sorry. Everything is fine over here (well, as fine as it could be considering). The cherry trees have blossomed, bringing the gentle spring breezes and cheerful optimism that comes with the season. Cheerful optimism for people that don't have pollen allergies, which is ten times stronger this year (it was really hot last year so even the trees are cheerfully optomistic that now is the time to have seedlings). Anyways I didn't have any allergies that I know of so I'm pretty cheerful! Haha.

As for what I've been doing with myself... good question. Now might be the time for me to introduce a meetup I found called the 'Tokyo Geeks'! (drumroll please). This is a meetup group where, you guessed it, the self-proclaimed geeks of Tokyo get together every now and then and do geeky activities like playing board games, 'rock band' (tm?) hanging out in Akihabara, etc etc. After arranging a few anime screenings (what? I haven't watched any since I moved to Japan! I have a right!), I started to schedule different kinds of events. Right after the earthquake, we went to a bar in Shibuya called 'Famicon City', where you pay 2500 yen for all you can drink, and more importantly, you can choose from a huge selection of games from the beginning of video game time to the most modern games, on any console, in a comfy living room like environment. (my couch chose Smash Brothers on the N64).

The week after that I got an invite, casual like, to walk around the entire loop of the Yamanote line, and had a goal to finish in 12 hours...with a bunch of people at Oxfam Japan. 'It's for charity', my friend said. Well, how could you be heartless enough to say no to that? Our group of four (the Kit-Kats, or 'kitto katsu' which means "definitely will win!" ) made it around the whole 34.5 Km loop in, well, 13 hours, but we got a picture of every station and some interesting places in between. Like the Sky Tree, the new tower in Tokyo that is freakin' ginormous, breaking through the clouds. Then the VERY NEXT DAY (yes I'm a masochistic planner), despite the misguided calls from Tokyo's mayor Ishihara not to celebrate the coming spring with 'ohanami' - cherry blossom watching parties, or picnics under the trees with alcohol - we decided buying sake from Tohoku , the afflicted areas, was probably ok and had a picnic anyway.
So we went to Yoyogi park with our bottles from Miygi and Fukushima and Iwate and had a kanpai under the pretty blossoms.

Finally last week, we went to the Suginami Animation Museum, a small but well equipped place near Ogikubo station, where you can try out dubbing your voice to cartoons, and watch selected movies on the big screen. After that we went to Nakano Broadway 'the mecca for geeks', as they proclaim themselves. It was a four story shopping mall dedicated to figurines, vintage comics, costumes, anything your geeky little heart could desire. I bought a book of illustrations done by Inoue Takehiko (Slam Dunk, Vagabond) and a how to guide on the proper use of markers.

As you can see, I'm quite the little busy bee. I think I deserve a little rest from all that planning. well...at least until next month, when the Ghibli Museum is supposed to be planning three new exhibits... including a neko-bus from 'My Neighbor Totoro' that grownups can ride!... we are so there.