Going to Japan for a length of time is an adventure in itself, but there are two subquests that I feel like I must accomplish every year. (1) go way the hell out in the country to visit Aya and/or Aki in Nayoro, and (2) go way the hell out in the country to visit Kengo. Today was my day to do the latter. In the morning, however, I met up with DJ HATA, aka HATA, the keyboard/synth player/booking agent for Dachambo. Aka my mentor. It was cool hanging out with him in a non-Dachambo context, though. We met up in Shinjuku in the morning and went to eat udon (delicious!).
I could have sworn that he said he needed help with something for their next DVD, but it turned out he just wanted help translating some emails. I've been translating stuff for Dachambo for a couple of years now, but I'm not very good at it. Or at least, I'm not good at thinking up interesting ways to talk about them in English. It also takes me damn forever to translate stuff (possibly because I always, ALWAYS type too much, no matter what I'm doing *cough*). But I was able to help him with his emails, and then he helped me figure out where to buy a bus ticket to Shizuoka.
After parting ways with HATA, I went to Shibuya to meet up with Mamiko, aka Shitoro (the name she's known as in Dachambo Village, their community of fans). The first time I ever saw Dachambo, I was super excited and rocking out. Some girl grabbed my hand and pulled me up to the front of the venue (it was a tiny place so there was no stage, but people left enough space in front of the band that we could easily go right up to them) and we rocked out together. We've been friends ever since. This was actually the first year since then that we weren't able to go to a Dachambo show together (every year prior, including the first year, we had gone to at least TWO Dachambo shows together), and my time in Tokyo was short, but I demanded that we meet up. So we went out to a cafe and had a couple of drinks and chatted about various things. She was one of the lucky people that I made a New Year's card for, so I gave her that (it contained CDs and all kinds of bonus goodies), and she gave me some "Best of Dachambo Live" CDs that a guy who records a lot of their live shows made. Incidentally, I just finished listening to them today when I posted this entry, and it makes me really sad that the "best" songs of the typical Dachambo fan are my least favorite ones. The jam band-ier, hippy-ier ones. That's not what makes Dachambo awesome. Oh well, I digress. Before Mamiko took the train with me back to Shinjuku, she decided that we needed to take a picture in front of Hachiko, because she had never done that. Being a foreigner and all, it was embarassing, but she's an awesome kid, so it seemed like a good idea.
Incidentally (again), I found out recently that they're making an AMERICAN movie about the dog Hachiko. After watching the trailer, I was filled with such angry furious rage that I vowed to never walk near the real Hachiko statue again. Actually, that's probably impossible because he's right by the main exit of Shibuya Station.
So... yeah. I took a bus for three hours to Shizuoka, two prefectures to the west of Tokyo. Out of five return trips to Japan, this was my fourth time visiting, which is really kind of incredible. Also, I swear that every time I go, I somehow end up on a different mode or route of transportation. By the way, the prefecture is Shizuoka, but the capital city is also called Shizuoka. Like how the capital of New York the state is not New York the city. Anyway... from Shizuoka Station, I had to take a highway bus back way out to Makinohara, or more specifically, the area that Kengo lives in, Haibara. It only took me four trips to Shizuoka to finally figure all these things out. Kengo picked me up from the rice field that I waited by, and we went out to a place called "This is Cafe". It really was a cafe. On an unrelated note, at this point I had only $3000 yen to last me until I left Japan. Sorry Kengo, I didn't mean to trick you into buying my drink and my dinner! Before returning to Kengo's house, we stopped at a random convenience store to buy drinky-drinks, and ran into Kengo's friend Chiaki. We talked for a while, and we decided that since she had the day off tomorrow, she could hang out with me. Which was good, because I didn't mind having no plans while Kengo worked, but I had no idea what I was going to do way out in the country. So then Kengo and I went back to his house, had a few drinks, and talked about life until 2am.
Crap... these things keep getting longer and longer. Well, there's only a few left. Thanks for reading, uhhh... wait, is anyone actually reading these???