Saturday, October 28, 2006

When you least expect it...

What a weird but great day I had today. Natsumi and I woke up early so we could call Mom and wish her a happy 50th birthday (again, HAPPY 50th MOM!!!), and were contemplating what to do with out Saturday. The weather was nice, and we figured we should get out of the house for a while and do something.

We decided to go to the Ueno Park Zoo. However, when we got to Ueno Park we noticed that there were all these random 'buskers' doing their acts at various points around the park. The performers varied from mimes, 0ne-man-bands, marionette artists, and acrobats. We quickly ditched the idea of going to the zoo and decided to explore.

One of the artists that we saw was a group of high school girls who were playing accordion/swing music. Might sound a bit lame, but the girls' musical abilities were top notch. Also, there was a guy who was doing a marionette show that was completely mesmerizing. He had 2 marionettes, one was a little edo-period doll that he made to seem like it was super drunk on sake. The other looked like the chinese-dragons that you see in parades with 2 or 3 guys working the head and body, but this one was all controlled by the one guy. Neat.

Then this really weird alien-like creature came cruising by. It was named the Darkrakou (no idea of the meaning, the guy comes from France though). The creature was so eery looking and moved in this totally creepy fashion. It would rove around the park and freak people out, children chasing after it. I can't really explain it so please check out this link and look at the video of it. Talk about the ultimate Halloween costume.

After that we saw some acrobats (also from France), musicians, and weird statue-like people. But the main event was this group of Chinese "acrobats". They performed the most amazing routing of balance and contortion that I have ever seen. These little Chinese women would twist themselves into all sorts of weird position, get flipped around by the men, all the time balancing a stack of bowls on their head. At the end, one guy stacked a whole bunch of chairs up and did some jaw dropping moves atop them.

We walked away from the park feeling great. We had lucked into a great day. Neither Natsumi or I had heard anything about the day's events beforehand, but we just got there at the right time. It's days like today when I can really appreciate Tokyo and that feeling of surprise and newness comes back, just like when I first arrived here 2 years ago.

See the pics, click here.

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