Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shibuya Menagerie

Down, the busy steps. The turnstile opens with a touch of the suica. Pass the racks of travel brouchures for people who wish they where anywhere else but here. Out side in the hot humid air of a mid July night, a street performer plucks a traditional shamisen as curious onlookers gather around while they wait for the light to change. The sound of the plucked strings mixes with the hot air, and adds an exotic oriental spice to it. The light changes, past returning salarymen, some revealing low cut haltertops, and a treehugger trying to garner donations for some humanitarian charity. As I pass under the brightly lit underbelly of Mark City, I get lost in my thoughts. I had just returned from a glamourous wedding reception. 5 course meal, yacht cruise, fireworks, it had it all. Would I want something that that? Definitely not. Not my style. I'm a loner, a drifter. Low key is my flavour. I'd make sure not to invite anyone to my wedding who would possibly get offended by my straight talk and refusal to submit to the societal norms of etiquette when it comes to speaking my mind. It would probably be a very small wedding. But that would suit me just fine. Down ramen alley, a photographer and his assistent are setting up to shoot a picture of this non-decript looking man in a suit, alongside this very young looking girl dressed in casual wear. They are probably shooting an ad, or a hentai film. The sweet smell of gyu-don wafts over me as I pass be the open back door of a yoshinoya. Stopped at the lights again. The background noise from the giant LCD tv displays drown out the sound of the pachinko parlour behind me. I look up. "Play Hard, Land Soft" a Nike ad instructs me. I stride on. Dodging the thick pedestrian traffic that is the norm in this neighborhood. I get cut off by a fellow holding a video camera. Obviously on his way to finish off some independant film project on the steps of 109. Where better indeed. Straight forward, a thin attractive woman walks locks gazes with me. "massaji?" I was too tired to respond, even to tired to give my usual think lipped smile and shake of the head while avoiding their succubus eyes. Next in line, a man in a wrinkled white suit, starts offering me something, I don't need to hear his words to know what he is selling. I push on, refusing to acknoledge his presense. Different people from different walks of life walk past. A couple hand in hand, a group of loud foreigners discussing the next bar destination, 3 gaudily dressed jailbaits with tall heels, more salary men. Out side of donquixote a crowd lingers. English, chinese, korean mix with japanese to fill the murmur of background noise. Passing a quiet corner in front of the closed department store, a group of punk teens sit on the floor, as if having a picnic. Their disregard for common cleanliness demonstrated by their willingness to sit on the ground matched only by their bad taste in hairstyles, with their anime inspired dues, torn jeans, and big loopy earrings. I look up, to be greeted by a 20 tall 2 Dogs billboard above my favourite french patisserie. Immediately following, 2 long legged dykes in short summer dresses walk past, cuddling arms entwined. On the right, the Luxor sign beckons, but I resist the urge to pop in for a smoke, not today. Today, I'm just going straight home.