The first weekend in July saw me back in Tokyo for the last two dates of the Granrodeo tour. We ran into M-san again, along with various folks who recognized me from Sendai and elsewhere, and met Rio, who reads my GR blog (and who we will hopefully see in Saitama next spring!). I am still basking in this small bit of notoriety, and hoping that folks would continue to talk to me come the next tour.
And that wrapped up the mad dashing around Japan for a while. July was mostly quiet. In fact, I didn’t even plan on doing anything for my birthday, but a new coworker, Lexi, insisted, so I invited the women from work who also live in my apartment building out for burgers at Brooklyn Parlor. And thus solidified the core of my social group here in Fukuoka. It’s nice and convenient, living in the same building. We can get together for dinner or tea easily, go out to eat, head out to Tenjin, take off for field trips…. And we’re growing the group at every opportunity so we have more to do. We’re all very different, but have enough in common to get along well. I’m the oldest of the overall group, which is a little larger, with the youngest at 23. And we hail from the U.S., Switzerland, the UK and Japan.
The first weekend in August brought Shaina back to Fukuoka, and we went to see OLDCODEX at the Zepp. My first time on the second floor in one — first row. Ideal spot to be out of the crowd and be able to see the whole stage. Most amusing moment was when the band discussed meeting Shaina the weekend before. Certainly made her day!
Mid-August had Nancy and I in Kyoto for MUCC v. Granrodeo, hopefully with a side of sight-seeing. Mother Nature had other ideas, though, and we were caught in the heaviest rainfall I’ve ever been in on our way to see where Sakamoto Ryouma is buried (hurricanes and typhoons don’t count, since I don’t try to go sight-seeing in those!). We ended up hiding in a karaoke place for a few hours, and buying 100 yen shoes from Daiso. I’m not sure some of my stuff ever dried out (my tennis shoes took days) that weekend. But the tickets stayed dry, so we made the show and had a good time despite the press of humanity right up at the stage. Experienced crowd surfing for the first time (please, MUCC fans, do not give the Rodeo Girls bad ideas!), including one girl who didn’t get caught by the bouncer and was quite lucky to just be limping as she walked away. And after all the cross-country traveling with no bumps, had my flight home cancelled and had to scramble to get a train back. Kansai airport is far from my favourite airport now.
The end of August brought my first trip to Beijing, along with it a considerable amount of culture shock. I did not enjoy my stay, in large part because I didn’t feel well for most of the trip, but also because Beijing and I are just fundamentally incompatible. I wrapped up the month wishing I were home in my clean, quiet, friendly Fukuoka, where there may be no lamb, and precious little cilantro and cumin, but at least the food agrees with me.
Next: September madness and a Granrodeo October