Ok, now normally I would rest up after a 20 day trip. After all, I am over 49 years old and with a wooden leg and glass teeth and all. But I still have one day left on my Japan Rail “travel unlimited miles for free” pass so I figure I should go to fucking Osaka. I only know one person in Osaka but as luck would have it she is coming to Tokyo during the exact period I am going to Osaka!
Anyway in Osaka, get a hotel and then go to the aquarium. On the way I get lost so I ask some walking-down-the-street-with-a-mohawk-kind-of dudes and they say, “oh we are playing a live next door to the aquarium come with us” so they show me the way. I heartily recommend punk escorts as the best way to get to know a city and its marine life. On the way we pass a whole class of 6 year olds in full sailor uniforms. I ask the punks, “is that your audience?” “oh yeah yeah!”
In the a.q. I drink like 2 one-cups just to get in the proper pirate spirit, matey! and it is totally excellent. The alcohol slows me down so I have the patience to watch fish for hours and hours.
i find the front mouth parts of a crab to be uncomfortably vaginal.
the aquarium’s claim to fame is a whale shark (largest fish on the planet, etc), but i was mot amazed by this fucking crab which is like a meter tall. what the hell, people??
The only bad thing about the aquarium (aside from the mysterious lack of squid) is ? except me it is all families and couples on dates. No matter how many times I visit an aquarium I always make the same mistake ? I figure the patrons will be , like me, single people with a passing interest in science. And I am always surprised and baffled to see families and couples there. It is too bad that something like sex gets in the way of an aquarium visit, because that is really has nothing to do with it. It’s like if you were going to take a dump and on the inside of the toilet stall door was a huge poster that said HA HA YOU ARE SINGLE. Is that really necessary??
Then I go to the random band’s live show. They are surprised to see me. It is kind of a lame show because the venue is super huge but there are no customers?New Band Night or some shit. but the band is pretty good, happy pop-punk, plus their name is ANTHELL. not anti-hell, but ANTHELL, like a picnic where everyone gets stepped on all the time and can’t even get a crumb of bread or jam.
Take off after that and head to the fake-shinjuku area of Osaka called Dotonboro. It is part of a larger entertainment district called Nanba, which I really am disturbed by because it is a combination of Nanpa and Nambla. But in fact, Dotonboro is way less sleazy than Shinjuku though. Way fewer homeless and foreigners and barely any gigolos. Certainly no transvestites wearing plastic bags promoting a smoke-free environment, as has recently been the case in kabuki-cho. Osaka women are still into the ripped-jeans fad that hit Tokyo back in spring. Also I guess Osaka women are way more likely to be Jafakin. This is a whole huge thing, some kind of cornrows and hotpants and shaking your ass to dancehall music. In Tokyo it is more like being a fake j.lo or fake beyonce. The wonders of culture!!
Anyway I go to some punk-looking guy who runs a little t-shirt store and ask him to recommend some shows, and he is like, “I am closing the store, do you want to go drinking with me?” which makes me really like Osaka.
THURSDAY 22 — OSAKA
Today is as lame as yesterday was awesome. Walk around the osaka castle, and then go back to the dotonboro and hike for hours and hours and don’t make any new friends, get my feet so exhausted that they will still hurt a week later, and just get depressed that everyone here is all having fun with their pals and their pre-ripped jeans and junk. The only bright spot is that OSAKA HAS THE MOST AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD IN JAPAN. I recommend EL PANCHO in particular. It is right across the street from tokyu hands, at SHINSAIBASHI STATION and makes a red-hot veggie burrito with caramelized onions that made me swear I was back in san francisco.
But after that it was all downhill. Finally decide to just go back to my hotel and drink alone, but the final punchline was ? none of the convinience stores near the hotel sell liquor!
FRIDAY 23– OSAKA
Wake up surprisingly not hung over. Go to tennouko temple. It is kind of like the Osaka version of Tokyo’s asakusa ? this kind of grimy postwar style area with lots of grimy old people and a big temple. But this joint has a big tower too, totally spikey and gnarly and brutal. Plus I swear EVERY bicyle is in a contest for noisiest brakes ever. And somehow they all win! I sort of picture astroboy hanging out round here ? it has that kind of 50s-trying-to-be-futuristic style.
The only problem was I got off at the wrong station so basically I had to walk around the entire zoo to get to the garden and then I had to walk around the entire garden to get to the entrance and then had to walk around like almost the whole garden again this time from the inside, to get to the entrance of the particular part I wanted to go to. By the time I finally got there I was exhausted. Sat down by this cool japan-style pond and read and did kanji
AFTER THAT–DOOM METAL SHOW!!
First band was 緑血 (GREEN BLOOD). 2 drums and a fretless bass with a stainless steel ? mirrored neck!! They played this neurosis kind of thing but with asian scales. Unfortunately they kept speeding and slowing and not keeping a loop going. I mean, normally I like dynamics and all but when you are doing some tribal shit damn dude get your groove on. But the sound was totally heavy and odd meters and such so basically I enjoyed it.
After that was TECHNOCRACY which was kind of 80s thrash mixed with fake Sabbath breakdowns. The guitarist had this amazing tone and did mysterious poses but the rest of the band was lame.
The sound lady was fucking so muscular I was in love.
Then GARADAMA played and were just fucking awesome. Totally raw simple repetitive doom. Their fans were doing this crazy ridiculous dance that was a mix of old-school headbanging and that new-school-hardcore human windmill thing. It was pretty impressive because there were like 5 of them all in sync. I had pretty much polished off an entire big bottle of jinro by this point so I was singing along even though I did not know the words, so I just substituted lines from the chris elliot movie cabin boy in a heavy voice. I totally recommend this as a method of enjoying things in general.
ETERNAL ELYSIUM headlined and for some reason an American lady was in the band looking like rosie the riveter. They were kind of mid tempo stoner rock. Mostly I enjoyed it because I was drunk.
After that, still don’t stop. I bounced to the aquarium-side live house again. It was a dancehall event, my first.
The good side was, compared to a hip-hop event, no rappers!! And also, no r and b!
Bad side was, the djs would talk over the music a lot. Which was fine, but sometimes they would cut the music out to yell, which kind of disrupts things, especially when they are cutting out the music to exhort us to dance. I was like, “I WAS dancing until you cut the music out, ass.”
Instead of rappers, the Featured Entertainers are these jafakin girls in hotpants and weaves doing this stripper dance. And these are famous women, not just random hoochies. It was like maybe 4 different dancers throughout the evening but they all had this same move which was basically called HERE IS WHERE BABIES COME FROM. Like, standing on their head and making this kind of tuning-fork shape with their legs and pumping really fast. For some reason I did not find this hot or even weird. What WAS weird was, when they danced, the entire first three rows was all other women. And the women were not making the universeral girl face which means “I am thinking you are kind of a slut right now.” NOR were they hooting and making “you go girl” faces either. They were just watching with totally serious expressions like they were at a college seminar. Like they were all analyzing the techniques. “oh, so THAT’S where babies come from.” So mostly I watched the audience.
Between the performances, I just ignored the hoochies and got my dance on with no delay. It was that perfect vibe where it is crowded enough to give everyone that energy, but not so crowded that you elbow someone’s drink everytime you bust a crazy pirate jig manouver.
SUN 24 — OSAKA
Worst hangover ever. I know I say that with increasing frequency these days but seriously dood breathing was like doing calculus. Plus today is the day I have to go to kyoto, to see this CORRUPTED live show. And find some live house where I don’t know where the fuck it is, plus find a hotel there, plus since I decided to buy like 23 pounds of books and have nothing to carry them in, I have to lug around huge amounts of crap and carry my spare clothes all wadded up inside an old pair of pants like a no-fooling hobo bindle. This, of all days, when I can barely blink without sweating.
First I have to go to get that burrito again. It is not so good as last time but basically the problem is I cannot finish it because my stomach lining has been reduced to filmy bloody pulp. I eat like half and then spend like 20 minutes staring out into space, my forehead beaded with sweat, trying to breathe and live at the same time. Eventually I feel bad because of how concerned the waitress lady is and hike my carcass back to the station where I have to decide if I should try to go to the CORRUPTED show.
But basically I have been corrupted enough for one day and so I decide to take the bullet train home. Spend the train listening to burzum and feeling incredibly dehydrated although the thought of even putting so much as water in my body makes me quiver with nausea. Home by 4 and spend the rest of the day in bed neither able to sleep or get up.
ok that is it for the japan report.
but good news !! i have a whole nother page of photos. not normal kind of photos like you have seen so far, but like crazy up-close texture photos of shit that makes you scratch your head and go "what the hell is that???" plus they might make a good desktop for you. enjoy.
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