Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park

Blah blah blah, nothing much to report here, lol. But I took pictures, so I'm posting, lol. On Sunday, I didn't have much to do (a bizarre rarity) and I decided to do a little solo-adventuring before it got dark. I'd realized that, for all the bajillions of times I'd gone to Harajuku, I had not once bothered to take a look at the weirdo bridge next to the station or Yoyogi Park on the other side of the bridge. These are all known to be "crazy places" so I figured, what the hey, let's check it out, lol.

Truth be told, I'd been to these places before, four years ago. So, being a typical jackass tourist, I crossed the bridge (I'll talk about the bridge later), bypassed Yoyogi Park, and decided to take a gander at the Meiji Shrine area. You'll see what I mean by the pictures later, but the real irony of the Meiji Shrine in Japan is that you have to cross that freaky, goth/cosplayer bridge to get to the shrine. You see many a bewildered foreigner who is heading to the shrine glancing fearfully at their maps trying to figure out where they went wrong, and why a man in a tutu is waving at them. But enough about that! Here are some shrine pics.

This is the big "tori" gate on the way to the shrine:

I think the forest-path is quite lovely:

Big... thingies. I dunno, lol.

Another tori thing:

Aaaaand another one:

Here's the shrine place. It's famous for its weddings and you're almost guaranteed to see one. Sure enough, when I got there... a whole wedding procession was going by, lol. I would've taken pictures, but herds of foreigners were crowding around blocking the view, lol.

There was a big flower exhibit going on, which was nice.




Then, for some reason... I had this bizarre feeling that I shouldn't be at the shrine. Is that weird? I dunno, sometimes I just get these spooky feelings, and I don't ignore my spooky feelings, lol. So I went up the stairs to the shrine, and never crossed the threshold. I didn't go into the shrine or even wander around the buildings, lol. For some reason I just had this feeling of dread, turned around immediately before the wedding procession was even done, and fled the shrine area, lol. I don't argue with higher powers, haha.

Anyways, I should just add that all of Harajuku was nearly crammed to a standstill because a MASSIVE protest of some sort was going on. It lasted for hours, with miles of older people carrying pickets signs marching all over Harajuku and screaming on megaphones. I don't know what they were protesting, exactly, but their signs had a lot of percentages, so I'm thinking it was some kind of "disgruntled worker"-type rally, lol. Unfortunately, they were grinding commuter-traffic pretty bad and making it really hard to get around (plus they were loud and annoying as fuck, lol). They also scared off a lot of good attractions around Harajuku, hence why this trip was a little blah and uninteresting. I'll come back on another Sunday and get better pictures and stuff, lol (you have to go to Harajuku on Sunday, that's when all the really crazy shit goes down).

So, to make it to Yoyogi Park, I had to cross over the bridge again. The bridge and Yoyogi Park are where Japan's extreme "exhibitionist" side really shines. On the bridge we have... um, a goth girl and a dude dressed up like a goth Arab playing music and twirling knives. Like, that's literally all they were doing was just dancing and twirling knives, lol. That goth thing on the left was really creepy and was usually just standing there holding out his arms like he wanted us to "look at this, damnit." But I don't know what he wanted us to look at, lol.

Our lovely knife-wielding duo (ignore the protest-van in the background, sigh):

Uuum... a fruity girl with a dog in a top hat? She was wearing a mask too, but I couldn't get a picture of her facing me because, once again, crowds of foreign men were hogging all her attention with their cameras, lol.

At the entrance to Yoyogi Park, we have these guys. Unfortunately, I either missed their show, or came during some huge intermission, so I didn't see much. But these are the Rockabillys. This sub-culture has been dancing it up in Yoyogi Park for over twenty years. They dress like they're in the greaser 50's and dance to 50's music, lol. They're actually quite popular. Their pink Cadillac was parked next to the curb and they were standing around smoking and drinking beer in their leather jackets and faded jeans. Their Rockabilly girls were also wandering around in their poodle skirts and ponytails, lol. A lot of press was there, as usual. One of the Rockabillys seemed to be getting interviewed for some British news station. But, as I said, they didn't seem to be performing during the half-hour or so that I was around so I didn't really stick around much.

This is Yoyogi Park itself. It's quite peaceful, lol.

But the thing about Yoyogi Park is that... the whole place is somewhat frozen in the 60's, lol. To really absorb Yoyogi Park, you have to do a bit of a time-warp and accept flower power all over again, lol. All around Yoyogi Park are hippies in flowery dresses, rainbow-colored clothing and ponchos, dancing and running with streamers, juggling, flying kites, playing guitars. Plus, there's other odd stuff too. I saw high school boys practicing kendo (sword-fighting). There were a bunch of kids showing off basketball stunts. Skateboarders. Guys doing magic shows for money. Here was an odd group. Two Japanese guys and one white kid who seemed to think he was Kurt Kobain, lol:

Yeah, it's like some kinda casual Woodstock around here. The place is so "chill." Some time I'll take better pictures and video cuz these pictures really don't show what I'm talking about, lol.
I crossed over the bridge again and the protest was FINALLY gone. As such, the goths and cosplayers finally came out of hiding and crowded the bridge again, lol. Here's a whole goddamn herd of them:

Lolita-esque girl. She was just flat-out posing, lol:

More goths and cosplayers. Some of them were sitting around eating bento (boxed, compartment-style lunches), lol.



Weeeell, that about sums that up, lol. Not very interesting, sorry. I'll go back on a day when Japanese workers haven't decided to rampage Harajuku with picket signs and megaphones, lol. See y'all next time!

2 comments:

  1. LoL!! In that pic where the bridge people herd back after the protest, I see 3 MUCC cosplayers.

    You might not have seen their most recent photoshoot, but I bet once you do you'll spot the Tatsurou in on second. There's also two Yukkes but one of them has brown hair (something Yukke only occassionaly does)

    www.55-69.com
    Check out their profile section for the most recent Tatsurou (the full band photo will be easiest to compare to when looking for the cosplayer).

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  2. Yeah, I had actually suspected that there were some MUCC cosplayers mingling around in there cuz one of them REALLY looked like Yukke from the front, lol. I wish I'd gotten a better picture without a pole (again, I was avoiding fat gaijin) cuz there were some people with some pretty crazy make-up in that crowd. There may have been more than just MUCC cosplayers but I couldn't get a good photo *sigh*.

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