Friday, 4 September 2009


I went back to Yasukuni Shrine today.
But before I get into that; I managed to find grass today!
No, not marijuana. Grass. The grassy stuff. A poster near the shrine advertised Ninomaru park in the Imperial Palace complex, and it showed people sitting down on grass. Looking at a map of Tokyo, one might almost think it was quite a green city. It's not. Maps all around the city show green spaces, but the qualification for this seems to be to have the word 'park' in your name. Some of the more honest green patches on maps correlate to a reality that looks like this:
You can look at green things, but no sitting, no touching. Other green patches - such as the one in Akihabara - are concrete spaces with benches and surrounding hedges.

This has the consequence of making Japan feel floaty, rather literally ungrounded. I'm English. As a socialist I denounce nationalism as a distraction, a tool to turn the working classes against each other. But fuck it, our is a green and pleasant land, and nothing is nicer to this urban dweller than sitting and reading on grass.
This may be the first time in the four years I've been to Japan where I have found a patch of natural green ground that I can sit down, lie down, max and relax on. The green of Japan is all rice paddy, forest and in small parts touristic garden: it is for harvest, logging and taking photos of.

Absolutely spiffing:



You know what, I was going to talk about Japanese historical revisionism - aren't you the lucky ones - but I may make like a Guardian journalist and back off on the polemic for one post.

So to leave you with a Japanesey taste in your mouth: what did I find on the way to the park? Vamps? VAMPS!


Vamps are apparently these guys:

Their fans are definitely these guys:
They were dressed in black in pink and sometimes as cats or something. There were thousands, and they were politely lined up outside a festival hall.



Answer: VAMPS!


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