May 4, 2008

Tokyo - Roppongi Hills, Yoyogi Park, BBQ

On Sunday we met up for brunch with friends of friends of ours (a blind date, if you will) who live in Roppongi Hills. Roppongi Hills is a beautiful modern mega-complex of residential skyscrapers, office space, restaurants, shopping, parks, including the 54 story Mori Tower, which is the tallest point in Tokyo. It is also very much a "gaijin ghetto," housing a majority of the ex-pat families of Tokyo. We enjoyed a great brunch (bagels and eggs!) and some terrific playground time with our new friends, who have a young daughter.

In the afternoon, we went to the Harajuku area to spend some time in Yoyogi Park. Heading from the train station to the park was an absolute mob of people. See, Yoyogi Park on Sundays is THE place to people watch (or be watched, if you are weird or have some special skills). There are goth chics, teens dressed up like babies, rockabilly greasers (we didn't take video of these guys, but many others have), poodle-skirt clad dancers, people playing electric guitars or acoustic guitars, drum groups, bagpipers, bubble-blowers, hula-hoopers, martial artists, and jugglers. All of these groups gather here to do their thing on Sundays. And the theme here is "express yourself" (hey hey hey hey).

We had a great time, meandering around the park watching the various performances and groups. Bob, who we met up with at the park, brought a couple of frisbees and we played five or six "holes" of frisbee golf, which was a great way to spend the afternoon. But most fun was the people watching. Here is the scene on the bridge on the way into the park. These are the talentless, just dressed weird and there to be seen:

Here are the rockabilly guys. Note the hair poof. And here is Bob and Ilena, with the rockabilly pink cadillac in the background.

This was one of our favorites. A full slow-motion re-creation of some (or every) Bruce Lee Kung Fu movie. The guy in blue is playing Bruce Lee. These guys were awesome to watch, doing flying kicks, fighting with sticks, nun-chuks, and all sorts of Bruce Lee/Jackie Chan type moves (but in slow-motion).

But THIS was absolutely the best, and perhaps the highlight of the weekend. On our way out of the park, we stopped to watch a group of 6-8 foreign women who were hula hooping and doing some hula hoop tricks. Of course. There were some extra hoops on the grass, and (knowing that Jacob has long been an excellent hula-hooper - its a funny skill, but the kid was born a good hula-hooper) we asked Jacob if he wanted to try it. Although, he was at first shy (and made Mike - who can't hula hoop at all - try first), he then grabbed one of the extra hoops and started to hula hoop. The hula-hoopers took interest and started chatting him up:
Jacob: I can do two.
Hula Hoop Leggings Lady: OK. (Jacob does two hoops at once)
Jacob: I can do three too.
Hula Hoop Leggings Lady: OK. Go for it. (Jacob does three hoops at once)
(And a large crowd starts to gather . . .)
Jacob: I can do four. (We're thinking - really?!)
Hula Hoops Leggings Lady: If you want to do four, I have to throw it on while you are doing three. Can you do that?
Jacob: OK - I'll try!

Jacob then perfectly executes this circus move to loud applause (and then he does five!). The Hula Hoop Ladies actually asked if he was in the circus! So there you have it. Jacob has a Sunday at Yoyogi Park-worthy skill! (The rest of us would just have to dress up like goth people or something, if we wanted to hang out and be seen!).

After the park, we capped off this great day with an awesome BBQ at Bob and Maho's. We sat in their garden patio, drank wine, and hung out. (There was also, truth be told, some more SpongeBob involved, as well). Great company and great food, including steaks, Maho's (now) famous yaki-onigiri, and, of course, smores over the grill.

(Maho is an artist, and their whole apartment is filled with terrific art like this one shown above to the right. The picture to the left is Bob helping Jacob to roast that marshmallow just so.)


Lisa said...

Hula Hoop Legwarmer/furry boot Lady is pretty cute! Oh and jacob doing hula hoops is amazing...but i'm not surprised!! xoxox

The Kasdan Family said...

Lisa - We love your comments! Keep 'em comin! And the rest of you too!

Charlie said...

5 Hula Hoops!!!! 2 of which are added after already going!

Jacob is a star. Absolutely amazing.

Loved the post about the baseball BBQ as well. Bummer your friends are heading stateside but can't wait to see you guys back here too.