I’m dealing with that jet lag thing again. Keep waking up at about 3am. Last night I faded fast at 9pm, sitting among friends after an insane meal and a single glass of wine. As I begin to compose this post, I am in the middle of my one night stay in Onishi which, due to some tight planning on my part, is very unfortunate and far too short. I’m glancing out of the window in my room at Horiguchi-san’s ryokan. Fresh cool air touches my face and the songbirds and frogs are competing with each other for my attention. An old man passes in front of me, crossing a bridge on his 4:30 am walk. I am overtaken with an insane amount of gratitude and feeling great to be alive today, here, in this tiny town with these incredible people. I don’t want to say that Onishi isn’t remarkable because that feels wrong. It has so many interesting things to offer and places to see like the soy factory, the residency, the flea market, and the special little cracker shop. But is it a destination city for people to come and escape? Not really – there are probably better places for that. This could be Tinytownjapan anywhere but it’s the people here that make it so special.
Alright guys. As promised, here’s a picture heavy post to make up for no pictures on the last one. I know how much you guys like the werid stuff posts too! This is stuff from generally walking around but most of it is from the Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya. It’s part grocery store, part souvenir shop, but pretty much ALL weird. It’s awesome. Let’s start off with a bang, shall we? (Might need to warn you with a NSFW tag here…)
I said I’d do it, and I’m doing it. Two years ago I took my first trip to Japan. If you’ve been within earshot of me between then and now then you know that Japan ruined everything for me. The experience there was so great that every other country I have been to has paled in comparison. I’ve never felt so safe, appreciated, respected, and awestruck than I have in Japan. I’ve made it to my hotel after a 28 hour travel day. Wanna hear how that went? It went fine! Mostly. First, this didn’t feel like a normal international trip. A normal international trip prep includes but is not limited to; extra restless sleep, general crankiness at home, staring off into the distance after short circuiting about how much there is to do before I leave, not leaving the house for several days so that I can get some good quality worrying in there (I at least get to pet the cats), tears, etc. Oh yes, it’s a carnival at the Rischards household.
Obviously you can see that I’m nutty about hip hop dance styles. When I started belly dancing eleven years ago I was the same brand of nutty, I just hadn’t been blogging back then. I owe belly dance, my instructors, and my fellow belly dancers some props.
There are an infinite number of ways to move your body and Camo Wagner knows all of them. Ask him a question about how to do a particular move and you’ll get a Bubba-Blue-from-Forrest-Gump style answer that will leave you dizzy. “Anyway, like I was sayin’, you can do this movement right here. You can wave it, pop it, bounce it, freeze it, dime stop it. There’s uh, threading, tutting, squidding. Finger waves, snake style, cobra style. There’s pineapple movement, lemon movement, coconut movement, pepper movement, movement soup, movement stew, movement salad, movement and potatoes, movement burger, movement sandwich. That- that’s about it. No wait… you can… ” I am in the presence of a movement lexicon.
I have a lot of catching up to do. A lot. Like… lots. Up until now my musical preferences rotated between Buck Tick (a Japanese band from the 80’s with a hot lead singer), my favorite band: The Beastie Boys, low-fi chillout music, 80’s wave, EDM (electronic dance music), some belly dance music sprinkled in there, and audio books. Audio books usually take precedence over music. OH! Plus I really really like silence.
It didn’t take long into my new obsession to hurt myself. You see, my Ego and my Brain, we feel like we’re 25 and that there’s no reason why we can’t go from laying on the couch playing video games for hours to suddenly performing acrobatic feats like the rest of the dancers. My Body has conflicting ideas, however, and keeps getting in the way of my goals.
If there were ever a phrase that I have uttered that carries with it a gravity stronger than earth’s pull on your water-filled bodies, it is this one: I absolutely freaking love dance battles. From time to time I will find myself drifting subconsciously to a video of one on the internet and then, well, there goes half of my day as I start researching a dancer that I liked so that I can watch more videos of that dancer only to lead me to yet another dancer…
I don’t know how I wound up in an advanced hip hop class with Kevin when I’d never taken beginning or intermediate hip hop. Let me tell you – it’s as intimidating now as it was on the first day but I’ve accepted that as a brand new baby hip hop dancer it’s natural to be several steps behind. It’s pretty frustrating starting out in any new hobby when your brain understands the task at hand but your body glitches out. I was anxious about it in the first few classes but now I no longer punish myself for not being able to keep up. I have goals and I will get there eventually.
Day 2: I have successfully infiltrated my urban dance classes and eliminated their suspicions. My college-aged peers smile at me when I use their language and seem very receptive. At the beginning of class I remarked to one girl, “Yo, chillin’ home fresh cool breeze, those moves be fly. Word to ya mutha.” The mix of emotion on her face was truly something to behold. It went from surprise to confusion to a struggle to hold in a smile. My compliment made her feel joy! It was beautiful. When it came time to show off my moves I left the room speechless with my cabbage patch. My high school-aged peers acted as if they were seeing this dance for the first time. Nailed it! They will never guess that I am twice or in some cases even three times their age. Will continue to share intel with you as I learn their secrets.
I am excited. I’ve been excruciatingly excited since November. When I found out about the classes offered at two dance studios in Plano, not only did I crawl all over their websites, I typed the names of all of the instructors into youtube and watched videos for hours. Hours! On the Wednesday following my inaugural dance battle (as a spectator) in downtown Plano I had a meeting that would put me only seven minutes away from the studios. I decided that I should check them out and make sure I knew where they were since I was planning to take my first classes on Thursday.
The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is today. That’s what I keep telling myself when I have doubts about my new hobby. You see, I’ve started hip hop dancing and I’m jumping in with evangelical fervor. I’ve stopped counting how many complete strangers I’ve run off when I approach them with the crazy eyes and accost their general area with, “HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT HIP HOP DANCING AND ALL OF THE DANCES THAT FALL UNDER THAT UMBRELLA? WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? I WANTED TO SHOW YOU SOME VIDEOS!” It’s so sad that they won’t let me tell them about hip hop dancing.