Yesterday, the streets of Tokyo's Shibuya ward were the scene again for the Tokyo Lesbian & Gay Parade. Thousands turned out to celebrate their sexuality, in spite of the dark skies heavy with threats of bad weather. The area of Yoyogi Park around the headquarters of the national broadcaster, NHK, was a fairground from mid-morning with scores of stalls set up selling food, drink, and TLGP2006 memorabilia such as T-shirts and rainbow flags.
Around 2 o’clock, an hour before the parade was to get underway, the weather followed through on its threats and drenched the whole scene in ferocious downpour, complete with thunder and lightning. Spirits, however, remained undampened as the crowd sheltered under overpasses, tents and groves of trees for the 20 minutes or so that it lasted. Once it lifted the Parade was pronounced on as scheduled to uproarious cheering, and a few minutes after 3 the various groups that made up the Parade began to take to the streets.
The only concession to the prospect of another downpour was that the route was slightly shortened, but the impact of the festivities didn’t suffer an iota. There were brass bands, disco sound trucks, flag troupes, placards, breathtaking feathered and sequined costumes that you could only thank the weather god for sparing from a dousing, university gay and lesbian societies, a middle-aged mother bearing a placard reading ‘My son is gay’, a group of lesbians marching by bearing a giant inflated breast … a kaleidoscope of all facets of gay and lesbian life.
There was no negative feedback at all from the shopping crowds of Shibuya. Rather the Parade added to the already flashy and tinselly streets of the youth quarter a new layer of upbeatness and outrage.
The streets of Tokyo's gay quarter, Shinjuku Ni-Chome were especially crowded that evening with post-Parade party goers, especially since the weather had cleared up entirely with the bonus of leaving sweaty mid-summer Tokyo considerable cooler than usual. Ni-Chome is usually peopled only after dark, but today is a special post-Parade day of extra revels on the streets of Shinjuku 2-Chome for those who didn’t get enough yesterday afternoon.
Tokyo gay listings - where to go
Tokyo gay and lesbian listings - what's on
Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade 2005
Buy the traditional summer toy of Japan: taketombo (bamboo dragonfly whirlygigs)
Sunday, August 13, 2006