Just over a week ago, Koenji had its fantastic Awa Odori festival, and I took many photos of participants, food & booze sellers, & other attendees. I’m going to post them over a few posts and a few days.
This barely legal guy literally has the price of beer scrawled across his naked back. I love the very DIY, un-hemmed red fundoshi he’s sporting, and the brazenness of his pitch. Check out below where this customer is juggling his cigarette, man-bag, and wallet to get boozed up as quickly as possible. This is Japan when it’s not working.
From my tipster Ericthefez, with this note: “Sorry the photo is such poor quality. I found this ‘ride concept’ at San Jose’s Christmas in the Park kind of creepy. I let <my only daughter, name redacted> go on the swings, but you better believe I kept a close eye on her.”
In related Xmas news, I heard my first “Last Christmas” song over the weekend, so yes, holiday madness is upon Japan. Fortunately, what Japan lacks in memory-crushing medicinal meds, they make up for in memory-suppressing booze, love for drinking, and end of year “forgetting” parties (bounenkai, perfect for work or friends).
BTW, which do you find more insipid, the George Michael’s original 1980s version of “Last Christmas” or Exile’s more recent cover? What would the Japanese royal family prefer? Please feel free to comment (without defaming our majesties).
A poetic sign for a small pub in Ni-chome, Shinjuku. Sponsored by American Express. Poetry, gays and booze.
Japan’s ex Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa found dead in bed by his wife this morning. He’s the guy who got fired for mixing booze and pain killers before appearing at the G-7 global Finance Minister meeting this spring. He was 56.
From the Wall Street Journal: “considered extremely intelligent but also noted for his temper, [Nakagawa] had served in parliament for 26 years. The seat had previously been held by his father, Ichiro Nakagawa . . . . The senior Mr. Nakagawa died in 1983 in what police said was a suicide.
And the Japan Times reports the presence of vomit, sleeping pills and alcohol. Plus this observation from his wife the night before: “When Nakagawa’s 50-year-old wife came home at around 9 p.m. Saturday, she saw him sleeping half on the floor with his upper body face down on the bed, but she did not sense anything was wrong, they said.”
The holidays remind me how fortunate I am to avoid almost all parties, especially work and family-related. And, until moving to Tokyo, I almost never drank.
Here’s a list of what one New York Times author has overheard at holiday parties. Doesn’t it make you feel safer to be at home in front of the screen?
- “We’re not really budgeted for a vacation this year, what with the exchange rate and my gambling addiction.”
- “I have to apologize for not reading your new book yet. It’s just that the last one was so awful.”
- “That’s a great outfit! It really shows off your breasts.”
- “What I really want is a job where you don’t worry so much about money and prestige. Are there any openings at your place?”
- “So I told human resources flat out, it’s not sexual harassment if I can prove I’m impotent.”
- “Has anyone ever told you that you have the air of a much more successful person?”
- “Sometimes accidental electrocution can be a blessing in disguise, but try telling that to the other mothers in the playgroup.”
- “Did you have some work done? Because, you know, too little too late.”
- “I don’t usually drink this much, but you’re insufferable.”
- “I had pants on when I came in, right?”
- “Aren’t holiday parties great?”
What have you over-heard at holiday parties? I am counting down the hours until the Xmas music is turned off in Tokyo. .