Boston’s Saturday ends at 2 am. All bars close and everyone’s asleep by 2:30. Not so in Kyoto. This Saturday I finally got to experience a “deep night” electronic show. It was fantastic.
The idea of finding Towa Tei, one of my favorite DJs, at a show in his native country was in the back of my mind when I booked my flight to Japan. Never did I actually think it would happen. Even after seeing that he was on tour I didn’t get my hopes up that I’d make one of the shows since our location is so variable. It wasn’t until he dropped the needle 10 feet in front of me at 1 am that I believed it was happening.
An hour after the team was reunited on Saturday afternoon, Dylan and I left Andrew to quiet night of coffee shops and capsule hotel to board a train bound for Kobe, the location of one of our three transfers on our trip to Kyoto. Choosing the cheaper 4-hour, multi-transfer option didn’t really bother me since I’m used to trekking from Boston to New York for big shows. Plus, we made it with a little time to spare and didn’t feel so bad splurging for Kyoto’s version of okonomiyaki. We made it to the club right in the heart of Kyoto’s downtown nightlife but had to wait outside the entrance until they let us enter the dark basement venue at about 11:30. We didn’t mind the wait though since we befriended and chatted with two cool dudes, Go and Kazuya, and convinced them to come to the show with us.
The club didn’t fill up until about 12:30, but once it did the party didn’t stop until 5 am. Towa Tei traded off a few times with the DJ who opened for him, but they switched control without dropping a beat, perfectly mixing Tei’s happy 90s bounce house with the other DJ’s darker house. It was impossible to be in that room and not dance. I wasn’t able to grab any video, but this should give you a little idea of the atmosphere:
Needless to say, Dylan and I were exhausted the next morning. We took a quick sidewalk nap, stammered into a 24-hr McDonalds, ate a couple breakfast sandwiches, and hopped on the first of the 4-train route back at 6:30am. The trip took a couple hours and we arrived at Okayama Station around 1:30pm. After meeting up with Andrew, we took our time packing and eating more of Dylan’s oranges before setting out. We only made it 20 km out of the city before calling it a day and setting up camp at a hillside shrine.
The question was asked, but the obvious answer was that the concert adventure was totally worth it.
We set out early this morning, determined to put in some heavy mileage after a good night’s rest; but alas, Andrew broke another spoke. Just about 10 km before the bike shop, Dylan turned to tell us something and hit a bump in the pavement. He was able to pull out of a potentially disastrous fall but put too much force on his wheel with the correction and his wheel tacoed. This meant that even before getting to the shop he had to take apart his wheel and bang the wheel back to something resembling a circle. We all eventually made it to Cycle Shop Tomato in Himeji City and presented them our many issues. Thank God for Tomato. It’s the seventh bike shop we stopped regarding’s Andrew’s weak rear wheel, yet the only one to actually agree with us that it should be replaced. Although a bit more than Andrew had been hoping to spend, his new rear wheel is the strongest around and should hopefully be more than adequate for the rest of our trip. Fingers crossed.
The amiable owner also trued Dylan’s wheels into shape and gave him a new tire for a discounted rate and tuned up a couple things on my bike for free. While waiting for the repairs to be made, we made small talk with a friendly young Japanese man named Kazu who taught himself English. Finally, Tomato also sold us three fundraising bracelets created by a Japanese pro-cyclist, with proceeds going to help the Japanese Red Cross disaster relief. Then, with bikes like new (almost) we said sayonara to the owner of Cycle Shop Tomato.
For dinner we ate at hole-in-the-wall yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant. Here’s a short clip from that fun and delicious experience.
Tonight we’re staying at another couchsurfing host’s place in Himeji. Before arriving we stopped for my first Yaki Tori. Big day tomorrow??!
Crash: hopeful about the new rear wheel
Calves: about to be clean – shower time!