Sunday, April 15, 2012

A walk in Kōenji (part 1)

It's been a week today, and as usual i feel like we've been here forever and just got here, all at the same time.
I'm enjoying being here so damn much, and every day is full of awesomeness. And that feeling of not doing enough? Gone!

On Wednesday (i think... right?) i wandered around Kōenji and its adjoining neighborhoods.
Some days just have a magical glow, you know? This one was so strong it had me walking around with a stupid grin for hours.

I started at the post office, sending a package i'm almost a little surprised hasn't arrived yet.
Then i went and got some lunch, which i ate at the park near the cemetery, and after that i went to Lawson to buy a concert ticket for myself.
See, i'd noticed that my childhood guitar hero and longtime imaginary boyfriend, Nuno Bettencourt, was playing in Tokyo with his band Extreme. Actually, i saw that even before coming here, but at that time i just laughed and went: "that's funny, they still exist" or something like that. But when we got here, and i started seeing posters, i realized that i actually really wanted to go to this show. And i hate going to shows, especially alone.
But this band, however awful and embarrassing, used to be my whole life at one point. So i started thinking about it and the final drop came when i saw that 1. they were playing my favorite of their albums in its entirety and 2. that their two first shows where sold out, and they'd added a third. It was clearly a sign.
So anyway, i went to Lawson, and quickly gave up on the all-Japanese ticket machine, and got a clerk to come and help me. Because it was an extra show, it wasn't on the list and he had to call the head office to get the code. But every time a customer needed to pay for their groceries, he'd excuse himself and run up to the counter to help them, and at one point he just handed me the telephone! Good thing i know how to say "just a minute" in Japanese. Anyway, it was pretty hilarious, and we finally had success, and i actually had a super fun time just buying the (really expensive) ticket from this guy. When i'd paid and was about to leave, he even gave me a little air guitar solo and banged his head! I live for those moments.

After getting the ticket, i felt so stoked and energized, i just needed to walk, and walk i did.
I took a small pedestrian path to Asagaya and took sakura pictures with my camera and phone on the way.
As i stopped at a particularly nice tree to climb halfway up into it to get a closeup of a flower, an old Japanese dude walked by, glanced at me briefly and said, in a cool voice with a sweet Japanese accent: "nice tats". He didn't even slow down.
It's probably the single most weird thing that's ever happened to me in Tokyo, and i've had some weird shit happen to me. I don't even think my tattoos were showing that much, but that's not so much the point. How do little, old Japanese men know what "tats" is??

Anyway, it was like my day just kept getting better, and i kept walking. Getting myself lost, and finding new areas and even a nice little park i didn't know existed.
I think i walked for over two hours and when i came back to the shop, i felt like i'd been gone all day and that the world was somehow a better, friendlier place.

Thursday was our day off, and it was nearly perfect too.
We had breakfast at our favorite café, then took the train to Shibuya.
We walked from Shibuya to Harajuku, and went to Yoyogi park.
It was a crazy hot day, and we ended up going on another, less prepared, hanami! 
I don't know why it's been so long since we've been to Yoyogi park, cause it's seriously a wonderful place.
It was a little windy where we sat, and with every gust, thousands of cherry blossom leaves fell down on us, like pink snow. So, so pretty.
After hanging out, and walking around the park, we walked back to Shibuya and went shopping at Tower Books. It was night when we hopped on the train back to Shinjuku, where i'd decided to go shopping for photo albums at Tokyu Hands.*
My feet were completely busted when we came back to Kōenji, so we went to a burger restaurant where they have comfy couches, so i could have my feet up. Large amounts of fries where eaten.

 On the path between Kōenji and Asagaya

One of my many dream houses... what i wouldn't do to live there...

Our old apartment

 I had a nice talk with this guys owner too. Also and old man of course!

My new park

This is actually a hair dresser's sign... cute, right?

We had dinner at a cool izakaya that night, with Hata and three of his friends

From Yoyogi Park the next day, where Suzuki-san here had gotten the job of reserving a hanami spot for the company... not a bad job, considering the perfect weather

We hadn't brought any lunch, so we bought some yaki soba from a park vendor, and sat on my scarf until a nice couple offered us their plastic tarp (which we gave to four office ladies sharing an even smaller scarf when we left)

Seriously awesome park

On the way back to Shibuya

We had cold coffee drinks on the way

Shibuya seen from Tower Records

I'm a little tempted to just keep uploading photos and write about the following days, but i have other stuff to do before meeting the guys at the shop, so i'll save those for another time.
But i do have analog photos from my Wednesday walk. If i wasn't so weird about not mixing my iPhone and Canon photos, i'd just put them in this post, but i am. Weird, that is.
Maybe i'll just start by uploading them and see what happens!

*I need little things to look forward to about going back to Denmark, and printing out some of my analog pictures and putting them in pretty albums is one of them.


  1. I'm glad you're having such a nice time :) 

    I just youtubed Extreme cos I wasn't sure I knew them. 'More Than Words' just makes me melt, what a gorgeous song. I used to love that when I was younger :) Have fun!

  2. It sounds like you are having such a good time. It's funny, when you write about Japan I get a feeling, like it really is a magical place (I probably sound a bit of a freak but i don't mean to). I've never been but I really would love to go. Your blog posts and pictures make me want to even more.

    Aww Extreme! What a blast from the past. I remember the days were I would listen to their tapes in my room haha! Pity you are going on your own... If I was there I'd keep you company but you have to go and see your childhood love!

  3.  Thanks! That's the only song i've ever been (almost) able to play on guitar. I was such a mega fan nerd!

  4.  No, not freaky at all, in fact i'm glad the way i feel when i'm here somehow shows on the blog. It really is a special place to me, and i can never quite explain why, i've just always loved it here.

    Normally i'd just force Allan to come with me, but in this case, it's better that i go alone. Although i wouldn't have minded some company. But i'm sure it'll be an interesting experience!

  5. Hahahah "nice tats," that's hilarious.  Sounds like you're having a great time, glad it was such a lovely day :)

  6. I don't know who that Nuno guy is but I have a feeling it'd be like me going to see Pearl Jam. I LOOOOOVVVVEEEDD Pearl Jam when I was about twelve. I really like going to shows by myself, I have a much better time. I feel like I can really just pay attention to the music and the show, not worry about where so-and-so is or whatever.