Saturday, May 5, 2012

Greasers and Pride

One beautiful Sunday, I decided to go to Tokyo Rainbow Pride in Yoyogi Park. My first attempt at finding it brought me to the wrong entrance. But not all is lost!

I found the Tokyo Rockabilly Club. Every Sunday they meet here with their boombox and dance. They only seem to know about six moves, but they do them endlessly and with enthusiasm.

My second attempt to find TRP was successful. It had a street festival vibe with a handful of booths and a slew of rainbows. Some booths were for organizations, some sold food, one offered face painting, one with colorful braids. There was also a stage, but it was between events, so the stage was occupied by a DJ. (S)he was fabulous, with full drag makeup, long wig, flowing dress, and stiletto heels. As a bonus, (s)he was making innovative combinations of songs, like a pop song with Rocky Horror Picture Show and "No Scrubs" with the classic Mario soundtrack.

I thought I was in time for the parade, but I managed to catch the end instead. Most of the participants were regular people holding flags and signs.

On the other hand, there were some photo-worthy outrageous fantastic costumes.
The facial hair is a nice touch.

I JUST realized they're wearing clothing from around the world!
England, China, Korea (or Vietnam?), [girl getting souvenir photo], India, and...the US?
Not sure about the yellow dress.

I feel like there's a story behind these outfits, but I don't know what it is.

I'm not going to make the joke. It's too obvious.

Later that night I met up with some friends to go to Gay Night (specifically for gay men) at a club called ageHa. It's the kind of place that requires an all-night adventure. Partly because it doesn't open until 10pm, and partly because of the location. It takes an hour to get there from where I live, and it appears for all the world to be (relative to Tokyo) in the middle of nowhere. On the ten-minute walk between the station and the club, the only memorable feature of the landscape is a bridge. No tall buildings, no neon lights, no loud noises, and only one conbini (convenience store).

ageHa is not just one building, it's a complex. I'm told it used to be a bunch of warehouses. Now it's almost a campus, with lockers for personal belongings, a lounge area, several bar areas, a main dance floor with air-saturating fog machines, a pool (that nobody is allowed to actually use), and an outdoor area of food stalls.

It's worth noting two things: one, Husband was on a business trip and couldn't go (we were both disappointed). Two, it was freeing to know that I was going to a club where I did not fit the targeted demographic and didn't have to keep my guard up against overly enthusiastic flirtation. Especially considering the first point.

We were a group of eight people, equally split between men and women, equally split between couples and singles.

We expected the atmosphere to be pretty aggressive. One guy (who was obligated to go because his girlfriend was going) expressed his concern that because of how he looks (tall, thin, and blond), he might get raped. He was halfway joking (I think), but I told him that's how women feel all the time, and he didn't really have a response.

We also expected to see a lot of outrageous, flamboyant gayness. You know, the kind of costuming I saw at Tokyo Rainbow Pride. Drag queens, sequins, strippers, Village People, ostrich feathers, the works.

And to a degree, those expectations were met. There were strippers on tables in the main dance area, one of the women's restrooms had been converted into "The Dark Room," where you go if you're, and there was a brief dance performance at the pool area by what I assume are Professional Gay Men, because they clearly adhered to a strict diet and exercise regimen. But for each dancer or onsie made of neon spandex, there were fifty or a hundred regular-looking guys that were just having a great time flirting with each other and dancing with their partners, for once not having to hide who they are.

Oh, and the drinks were great. I don't know if they had a special menu that night or not, but the cherry blossom cocktail is delicious. Little to no alcohol, but delicious.

At 5am when the trains started running again, we headed back to the station. Goody bags on the way out of the club included a respectable stack of flyers for upcoming gay events. Husband may have been out of town, but I got him a souvenir!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that you went and quite proud! The rape resonse was wonderful