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marigolds and carrots

August 8, 2010

Ok, so this is cool.

Yeah. It’s a vegetable patch. Not that that isn’t cool enough on it’s own, but it’s where it is that is really cool. It is in the middle of the construction zone for the new underground tunnel for the highway under Yamate-dori.

I was cycling home from Shibuya at 2am when I passed by it and had to stop to take a picture. It’s right in the middle of 4 lanes of construction, and it was a beautiful little oasis. Yamate-dori has been under construction for as long as I can remember. They have been ripping up the road and digging down underneath it stretch by stretch, and so to me, that road has always looked like a disaster. Three times I lived right nearby there, so I took it quite a bit, and the sidewalk has a been a wide disastrous patchwork of asphalt the entire time. Now that I live in Nakano (yes, I moved!) I think I will be using Yamate dori a fair bit again, and while huge stretches of it are still in a horrible way, the part up near Nakano-sakaue is finally finished and includes beautiful trees and a sidewalk split into biking and pedestrian lanes. There is nothing I love more than a sidewalk biking lane. All the ease of a bike lane, none of the car coming up behind you stress.

Oh, what’s that? Why was I cycling home at 2am? Yes well. Sometimes I convince myself I’m younger than I am, often with mediocre consequences. Last night after Momo’s going away drinks in Shinjuku, I doubled Yuki on the back of my bike to Harajuku. Luckily it’s mostly down hill and my bike is built to carry more than one person. In fact it’s built to carry 3, but yes well, 2 of those are meant to be children. Still, it was a lovely ride down past the park. We had drinks with other friends at a really cool bar near, ironically, where I just moved from. As in minutes behind the other house. I could go on at length as to why that bar was cool. It was a little standing bar, that hid a DJ room, a japanese style room, and a roof garden serving thai food behind a sound proof door.

On to location #3, the others took a cab, and I toodled down cat street to Shibuya to meet them. On the way a group of college age kids gave me a blue-soda popsicle. They had a whole bag of ice cream and were giving them out to people randomly. Ice cream karma. I approve. So that was me, tootling down cat street, popsicle in hand on a warm summer night in a party dress. In Shibuya we went to club Womb. Surely the name is enough to tell you I was out of my league. It was in the Love Hotel district. There were over a thousand people there, and for the first time ever I was ID-ed in Japan. It was like a rave in a 4 story box, with lots of sparkly lights and people bouncing up and down.

I find almost anything interesting for about 20 minutes. Not much holds my interest after that. It’s a problem with CSI, I kind of don’t care by the end, after seeing too much blood float in globs that remind me of that zero-gravity moment in Star Trek NG (the movie) where the purple Klingon blood goops up into the air (how’s THAT for a tangent). Yeah, so 20 minutes of dancing was fun. By the 25 minute mark the 30 degree heat plus loads of people plus super loud music became…passé.

So, back on the Beaute. I had no idea where I was really, but I HAVE A COMPASS (year, right on the handle bars). So I set my course North-West and off I went. Easy as pie. Home without a hitch, only on the way there I had gone in bite size pieces: Nakano->Shinjuku, then Shinjuku->Harajuku, and then onto Shibuya. Shibuya to Nakano at 2 am is FAR. FAAAAR. Ok, it’s only 8km. But it felt, not necessarily hard just, long. On the one hand it was great to have the streets almost entirely to myself. On the other it was creepy. The one good thing about the construction all the way along was all the construction old men. Construction here revs up over night when the streets are empty, and along with it come all the old men with light up batons directing the rare pedestrian around construction diversions or over bumpy spots. A few of them at the stop lights chatted with me while I waited for a green light. It made the ride more pleasant, and it feels more safe just to have people around like that.

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