Tokyo Damage Report

Santarchy 2003



The "santa rampages" started in America around 10 years ago. In san Francisco of course. The idea was to protest consumerism and materialism by turning The Man’s iconography against itself: 100 santas would march through the streets, disrupting business as usual. who would dare arrest the kindly old bearded man beloved by millions? The rampages were different every year of course, but usually It would be around 100-200 Santas of various genders, races, and perversions. And usually there would be arrests. This particular santa rampage marked the first time that santas had come to Japan to spread their message of anarchy and anticonsumerism.

But, only 15 santas came, an Tokyo is a BIG ASS city. Because of this, the santas didn’t get violent enough to do the traditional call-the-cops rampage, nor did they change any of the locals’ spending habits. Instead of being super violent and riotous, they settled for just being loud and obnoxious: in other words, the exact stereotype of the average spoiled American tourist!! what’s even funnier? HALF THE SANTAS WERE CANADIAN.


Nonetheless, we had a lot of fun and many odd incidents occurred.

We met at the Dog Statue in the very jaded epicenter of Shibuya, where pretty much no one even noticed that 20 santas were drinking jim beam out of the bottle.

It took FOREVER to actually get the santas to start going somewhere: the downside of anarchism. Our first official Santarchy act of the day was, getting kicked out of the famous shopping mall called 109. actually, we weren’t even let IN the mall, because some of the more impatient, radical santas had already gone there an hour earler, alerting the fuzz to our presence. Here’s an amazing picture of us getting kicked out RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BIG PROMOTIONAL SIGN READING X’MAS HERO.

There was one of those Political Trucks at the train station: the kind with big loudspeakers on the truck bed, and some guy yelling slogans. As usual, the guy had no audience whatsoever. Which made it easy for 20 santas to get right up front and raise their fists in militant solidarity with whatever the hell he was babbling about. He was overwhelmed with appreciation. Or embarrassment. Or some combination, and lost his place in the speech. we marched off, fists still in the air, chanting "ho ho HO! . . . Ho ho HO! . . . Ho ho HO!"

Then there was santa purikura. This was the first of several events with the theme of, "HOW MANY santas can you fit inside a tiny Japanese-sized (____)?"

where "(___)" = booth, elevator, subway, jail cell, etc.

then some damn pervert led 20 santas on a forced march to the Used Panty Shop. It was amazing because two of the panty, um, vendors? Contractors? Panty-make-dirty-ers? Were there doing some, um, paperwork with the owner. So there was fully three times the embarrassment, when a vast amount of drunk Santas stormed the place.

next on Santa’s List was: "Find another liquor store". Easily done anywhere in tokyo, particularly shibuya.

i just noticed. . .the clock says "1:12". they’re already getting their second beer run on.Once the cold beverages had been purchased, Funky Santa and Soren Santa wasted no time in pouring a little out for their dead homies.

on our way out of shibuya, two more incidents occurred: first, we just happened to pass an establishment whose sign proclaimed it to be the ‘SEXUAL HARRASSMENT CORPORATION’. Some santas took this as a signal to grab other santas’ asses.

Once asses had been adequately grabbed, we proceeded. At this point, it becomes necessary to return to my earlier discussion of BLACK HOLE PHYSICS (t.d.r. episode 26). Recall how stars have a threshold (based on mass, density, equations of state, and rotational parameters) which determines whether or not they will undergo gravitational collapse? Well, apparently Funky Santa has a threshold of how much Asahi and screwdrivers he can drink before he starts jumping on some stranger’s Harley and making ‘brrrm brrrmm’ noises. The stranger seemed to be into it though. Kind of. Funky Santa passed one of shibuya’s many ‘hip hop’ stores and did some santa booty shaking. I have no pictures of these stunts, so you will have to try it yourself to really get the feeling of it.

Then we walked to Yoyogi park. On the way, we were passing out flyers to anyone foolish enough to come within flyering distance. "come with us!! Ikimashou!!" somehow, two Japanese women and two german guys heeded the call, and thus were issued the Temporary Santa Hat so they would fit in. kind of like when you go to a classy restaurant, and you don’t have a tie, they give you a loaner? It was like that, only classier. By the park, a bunch of bands were playing some rock music. Santas started dancing of course. But also Accordion Santa jumped up on stage and was all rocking out. One band . . .I should say, one SMOOOOOTH band, immidiately sized up the situation and segued directly into a lounge version of ‘santa claus is coming to town’. Hell of santas bumrushed the mike.

It was amazing. Singers of bands that were adequately into it, were rewarded (bequeathed??) with a santa hat.

even without the leather pants, this was easily the coolest person we ever saw.

above, the santas get a quick introduction to ‘para para’ dancing!

After that, there was an incident with a mother and a small child. Funky Santa later Insisted, "he was crying when I GOT there!"

we passed some 5 year olds playing soccer in the park. They quickly received reinforcements, to beef up the sizes of their teams. First one team would get an extra Santa, then the other team, just to keep things fair. This resulted in some kind of Drunken Santa Arms race, except no one got hurt.

Suddenly there was a great big roar. A crowd of bohemian, androgynous, earth-toned teens had materialized. Hours of loitering sullenly in the freezing cold had made them so bored, they were the perfect audience for us. There was dancing and accordions and clapping, and many many cell phones took pictures of the foreign drunk santas. One hipster guy put his arm all around me and was trying to explain something to me in engrish: "do you like punk? Green day is punk!!"

Further discussion on the punkness of green day was interrupted by the appearance of 3 gothic lolitas. It turns out that Santas REALLY REALLY REALLY like gothic lolitas. The scene which followed was I swear to god straight out of a Tex Avery Cartoon. This one girl was literally chased (on 5 inch platform heels no less) around the park. yes, that’s a reindeer in his pants.

From then on, I became Cock Blocking Santa: whenever anyone would be chatting up a lady in English, I would be all creeping up behind her and stage-whispering in Japanese "ki o tsukete. . . santa wa hentai na hito" ("please be careful. Santa is a sexual pervert").

Things turned up another notch when we actually hit Harajuku Train Station. Two santas went up behind some unsuspecting Japanese guy and proceeded to lock arms with him, dragging him along with our parade. "you’re coming with us now."

He lasted 5 minutes of this, which was a long time and we were all impressed enough to let him go. Then we were offered some more hip-hop flyers by these two ‘lappers’ who were flyering the street. I kept asking them to "bust a santa freestyle in Japanese" but, even though they clearly understood what I meant, they didn’t. so fuck it. I busted one. Then Sneery Santa revealed that he has a majestic Chuck D baratone voice, and we went into an acapella cover of MYUZI WEIGHS A TON by PUBLIC ENEMY. We stopped at the HUNDRED YEN STORE to buy el cheapo santa hats for the new recruits. Also Accordion Santa bought some ‘gifts’ for people: inch long individually wrapped mint flavored sausages.

Once we were adequately provisioned, we marched down Takeshita Street. This street is straight and narrow: the perfect place for a Drunk Santa Conga Line. I guess I’m not an anarchist at heart, because I thought this very structured activity was possibly the funnest thing that we did.

On our way up the street, the LAFORET building (next to 109, the most famous ‘young people’s fashion’ landmark in Tokyo) was hosting a little electronic dance music performance. This inspired santas to new heights of booty motion.

At this point, caroling began. I think this started when Santas, in the spirit of multiculturalism changed the usual "merry Christmas!" to the more native-sounding "melly chlistmas!" from there it was a short step to drunken, sub-weird-al song parodies like "we wish you a melly kiss-my-ass!". . . and these carol parodies then gradually segueing into carols that were wholly original, such as, ‘getting arrested in ginza’ and ‘bring us some fucking schoolgirls.’ which provoked some rebukes from the more sober santas. More being a VERY relative term at this point.

Next stop was the subway. I don’t know if you have ever had the privilege of getting on a quiet orderly subway car only to look up and find that two dozen disheveled, drunk santas, beards all askew, breath reeking of jim beam and asahi, brains full of nasty thoughts about gothic lolitas, are your new seatmates. SANTA GANG RIDES SUBWAY. . . . I swear it was like The Missing Scene From "The WARRIORS." Or something.

There were more carols. In fact, this was one of the most bizarre moments: singing VERY QUIETLY a version of ‘rudolph the red nosed reindeer’. Singing in a slurred and mumbling, almost subliminal way, not looking each other in the eye . .. that particular moment was so different from any of the other stunts, it was kind of eerie and scary. Then of course things got back to normal, and at one point a Santa hung upside down from his boots, off the subway luggage rack. Then there was the whole Santa Dogpile On the Subway thing. Yes sir, back to normal.

We managed to get off the subway without being hassled by The Man (or the Clown Gang, or the guy clicking the beer bottles together) and we were suddenly in Ginza, the ritziest part of town. The idea being, that we would disrupt the commerce and make the rich swine uncomfortable. Which was kind of hilarious, considering that every single santa was operating a totally expensive digital camera at the time, most of which were made in japan. for some reason our first stop was the apple computer store, where everyone applauded us and no one kicked us out. Santas were very distraught and disappointed by this turn of events, so they all went upstairs to check their email on the free computers.

(above: how many santas can fit on an elevator?)

by now most of the santas had lost focus, and were wandering in different directions, complaining of empty bellies, sore feet, and low blood alcohol levels. But they announced that they would continue until dawn. Being an innocent and easily shocked, and deeply moral person, I excused myself from further mischief and went off to my friend’s dinner party where I ate nothing but wasabi the whole time. But that’s another story.

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