Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 08 2009

Flea market and Asagaya

The remaining donut in the box had gone stale yesterday morning when I got up, so I threw it out. That’s the last time I do the Krispy Kreme box thing, I think.

It was Saturday, and I was meeting Louis near his house at Sendagaya Station, on the other side of the park. It was a fine day, and I decided to walk along the borders of the green space, which turned out to be hidden in shadows and lined with poorer, more decrepit houses. Apparently being on the park isn’t much a draw here. Some of the older wooden structures looked exactly like ones in Taiwan that have been left to fall apart over the course of decades.

I paused under the railway bridges, waiting for people to pass under the light, and then proceeded to the station, where an Italian soccer team was trying to take taxis somewhere. Louis met me on his vintage fixed-gear bicycle, and we walked through his neighborhood, which is nice and kind of bohemian in an understated way. Lots of tree-lined streets and funky shops.

One's DinerWe had lunch at a corner diner called One’s Diner, straight out of the 50’s including all the chrome, sparkly creme seats, straw and napkin dispensers made out of metal, checkered floor wraparound bar. Two guys with hats, real hats, not baseball caps, were sitting in a booth taking pictures with a GRD3. The light streaming in through the windows was very nice, and Louis said he had taken many a picture of people inside and outside the place over the years he had been going there. I wasn’t very hungry, but the kitchen smelled so good I decided to have a hamburger. It was quite good, especially the toasted bun, but I’m not sure if the lovely ambiance and the afternoon sunlight across my plate were a major part of the flavor.

Louis kept bumping into people he knew; it’s clear that he’s made inroads into this community. One of his neighbors, a woman who works in publishing, came in and sat down with us. She recently bought a house and was worried about the fact that it is one of those many buildings that is open parking on the first floor; in her view it was more dangerous “to be on stilts” in an earthquake. Curiously, she seemed to think that more buildings in Taiwan were built in such a fashion, but I can only assume she was talking about the open corridor on the first floor most buildings have there. We talked about the likelihood of a coming e-book revolution, obviously a potential threat to the publishing industry’s traditional model.

After lunch Louis took me to a local flea market, held in what looked like a large parking lot but was in fact, he told me, the space where residents fled to after the 1923 earthquake. One of the original trees still survives. The items for sale were interesting and stylish, and, Louis said, no longer as cheap as they were before more “professional” people got into the game. Lots of old cameras, none working very well and no Leicas, alas. I picked up a pocket flask, and Louis got a leather jacket. One old guy was sitting on the sill of his van playing a very good slide guitar.

Prices dove as 3pm, or closing time approached; we walked over to a nice cafe in a what was someone’s parking level, called Kimbo, and then visited a photo book store. We passed what I thought was a nice little apartment complex that Louis said developers wanted to tear down, with only a few residents still there.

Then it was back towards the station to take a train to Ochanomizu Station, where I had the Gorilla Curry last time, so I could look for a gold mouthpiece for my pocket trumpet. Apparently it’s the musical instrument district, with several shops to choose from. I browsed a couple of stores, and their offerings were quite comprehensive. They let me try all the mouthpieces I wanted, on a pocket trumpet no less, and I eventually found a Bach 5B that seemed to fit the bill. Hopefully it will feel the same on my Jupiter.

Louis had to go to a party at 5, and I was going to meet my film school friend Yas at Asagaya at 7. After Louis left, I’d thought I would walk around the area, but as night fell, I suddenly felt tired, so I just sat on the steps of the station and watched crowds of people bustling by on their way into the station until 6, when I joined them on a JR train headed for the suburbs.

Yas, also with his bicycle, met me at Asagaya station. It was cold out now, and I regretted not going back to the hotel to fetch a warmer jacket. We walked to his movie paraphernalia shop, WayWest, and he filled me in on what he’s been doing in the couple of years since we last met, the projects he’s been working on, his job teaching actors, etc.

Dinner was at a Turkish family-run restaurant near the station, featuring lamb/beef kabab, dumplings, vegetable pie and other interesting dishes. Yas says I should do a project with him in Tokyo, but I’m not sure how that would work. I’ve always been just visiting, passing through. To do a project I’d have to take an extended leave of some kind. Still, it’s an interesting proposition.

I was bushed by the time got back to the hotel, so I decided to just crash and leave the journal writing for this morning. It’s Sunday, and the weather’s nice, if a bit cloudy.

posted by Poagao at 9:31 am  

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