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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Gay Tokyo Hip-Hop

東京 ヒップホップ

A friend of mine's sister is a dancer. She was dancing at a club in Shibuya last night. I had been invited a couple of times in the past to go and see her, but had never been able to make it. So I really made a point of getting there last night.

Kenji and I met up about 11pm last night and went to an Italian-style place in Shinjuku called Fungo Dining - just across from west side of Shinjuku Central Park. It was excellent food and very friendly service. His sister's act started at 3.15am, so we had a couple of hours to fill in. We headed to Advocates, and then Arty Farty, in Shinjuku Ni-chome for a few drinks. The streets of Tokyo seemed a bit empty today so we weren't expecting things to be that busy indoors. However, Arty Farty was packed and jumping. We were both a bit stuffed though, so just lounged on the sofas at the back of the club and took it easy. There were a bunch of South American guys right in front of us. They know how to party! So we were happy just to watch and absorb the vibes.

We left about 2.30am, got a taxi to Shibuya, and entered the club. I think it was called Ruido. It definitely had a 'Rui' in there somewhere. It, too, was packed, but with problem adolescents: lots of swagger and ultra cool and not much hair being let down at all. We had to watch a couple of clowns pretend to 'rap'. It was the ultimate in cheesy pop rap - 'street' it was not. They jerkily jumped around, adjusting their collars, and yelling utter nonsense that not even Kenji could get the hang of. It was relieved a little by a rapper from Kobe who came on, and he definitely had something of a rap presence.

At last the rap session was declared over, and the dance session began. Kenji's sister and her dance partner came on. They were superb: sexy, engaging, had rhythm, and beautifully synchronized. Some very naughty moves too. 10 out of 10.

The rest of the dancers (the dance session went on and on - and on) were synchronized and generally technically good, but were too shy or self-obsessed, or both, to really make any real contact with the audience. It was as if they hadn't really overcome the technicalities to get on with the job of really entertaining. In other words, it wasn't by any means gripping.

The crowd was asked to vote on who had been the best. The only people who bothered to clap and cheer were actual friends of the dancers. Everyone else just stared dumbly. Therefore, with only Kenji and I and one or two other of his sister's friends, we couldn't really create a big enought commotion between us to register much of a vote. It was a perfect case of quantity over quality.

We left about 5am, hugs all round for the sister and her friend. Kenji caught a cab home (he has to work today!) and I got the Yamanote line to Shinjuku and walked home from there.

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