fuji rock and matumoto bon bon
Well, after last time's second thoughts about Fuji Rock, I had second thoughts about my second thoughts. Third thoughts, I guess you'd call it. Anyway, I went up for the last day. I saw...
Queens of the Stone Age- Dave Grohl was drumming for them. He looked evil, somewhat like the Dave Grohl of days of yore- not so much like the warm fuzzy Dave Grohl we've all come to know and some of us have come to love. They had this one guy come out and sing about half the songs- he looked and sounded like Jim Morrison. The thing I read described them as a "post-grunge outfit," but I'd say they bordered on metal. I kinda liked them, actually.
the end of the Sonic Youth Improvisational Experimental... Thing. It was pretty damn boring.
Hajime Chitose- Japanese chick whose singing is an exaggerated version of Dolores O'Riordan's. Nice, but not nice enough for me to buy her album.
Galactic- Disappointing. The only songs I really dug were We Got Da Funk with George Clinton (he's kind of a fixture at these things) and a cover of Little Miss Lover.
The String Cheese Incident- Also disappointing. bleh.
Cornelius- A Japanese dude. Junko recommended him to me, saying that "Ben Folds likes him." I didn't like his first two songs, and I didn't care for the video footage he had accompanying them. I was all set to label him "vacantly pretentious experimental rock bull shit," but I actually ended up digging it. And some of the accompanying video footage was really interesting- like fingers walking across everyday objects, patterns of water sprays, 70s soccer footage, clips from Elvis movies sandwiching the flying bikes scene from ET... Kind of like a laser show, except it didn't suck. I can kinda see why Ben Folds might like him- his music kind of reminds me of some of the stuff from Fear of Pop.
Red Hot Chili Peppers- I had thought that Japanese crowds were calmer than American ones, but once the Peppers started I got the pushing shoving sweat-soaked desperate crush that I came for. It was cool. I got up to the front (or to the barrier, anyway) pretty quick once the chaos started and had a good view from the second song on- that's when being small comes in handy. Before all the madness starts, you can only get up if you're a really big guy willing to be quite rude (or if you can manage to get behind said really big guy), but once it starts- I'm there, dude. Anyway, they mostly played songs from Californication and By the Way. I like the songs off By the Way, but if the album's anything like Californication I'll love it passionately for about a month and then lose interest. George Clinton came out to do a song with them, as well.
Anyway, I'm glad I went. It was an experience. I even learned about British values, such as subversiveness, from Sparky of the British Council. There were a lot of people there. I never seen so many people in all my life. But then, I grew up in Idaho. All in all it ran me about $400 bucks. I slept in a tent. It turned out to be uncomfortable. I was tired. I got an egg. I ate Pakistani curry. I sat on the ground. I pissed in the grass. It was pretty up there.
I've gotten pretty comfortable handling the Japanese train system. That's something to be proud of, I think.
In other news, last Saturday I participated in the Matsumoto Bon Bon. This is a huge celebration thing held in downtown Matsumoto- 20,000 people come out for it, apparently. I guess they call it the Bon Bon because it's right before the major holiday, Bon. Those who participate (it seems to be representatives from local business and organizations- not just anyone can do it) all get it in a big long line on a loop that snakes through the downtown area. The silly music starts and everyone does the silly dance (which I had practiced after work all the week before) all in unison, through the streets, for hours, with breaks interspersed. It's kinda like a parade. Those not participating just watch and buy cheap crap from street vendors. It's designed to be a walking dance that moves you forward, but a lot of times you end up doing it standing still because the people in front of you aren't moving. Much of the time it's more like a traffic jam than a dance. The default dress for those participating is something called a happi, though kimonos are common. In front of us was a bunch of girls in cheerleading outfits.
Anyway, to put on a happi you start by putting on these really weird very short shorts that feel and look more like an eccentric diaper than something you'd actually wear in public. Then you tightly wrap a long swatch of white cloth around yourself many times between your waist and your nipples (women either wrap higher or just wear a white shirt). Over this goes the jacket type thing (ours were red with the company logo), which is similar to the top part of a karate gi. This has a little belt thing, and then there's a headband. It's goofy. I wore one. It was goofy.
So there's your cultural tidbit for the day.
the grain of sand i'm pushing back won't be a pearl inside,
P.S. You remember the magic erase everything key by the space bar? Apparently there's another one right by the ESC key. The Japanese are always concerned about user convenience.