I spent Christmas evening with a couple of friends in Tokyo's bohemian Koenji district watching bellies - other than my own.
It would have been more friends if misunderstanding hadn't reigned over the date of the arrangement, but considering how full everywhere seemed to be (not because it was Christmas, but because it was a Friday), just being the three of us was perfect.
We started out in Chatuchak, a Thai restaurant on Koenji's Nakadori Shotengai (i.e., its nightlife strip). The delicious fare there certainly warranted a bit of watching of my own belly, but the effects of the ample quantities of beer on hand put any such anxieties at bay.
We then made our way to Persian bar/restaurant BolBol for a few drinks - and some out-and-out belly watching.
BolBol is a well-established presence in Koenji, not only for its good food, but because it features belly dancing every evening. Tonight the crowd was as much Iranian as it was Japanese, and very family - complete with all the kids.
After half an hour or so of belly dancing by beautiful women to technoed-up Persian music, half those present got up on the floor with the dancers and showed their stuff. Most interesting were the kids - between about 8 and 12 years old, a few of whom were very keen to show their moves, which one of them skilfully seasoned with a few breakdance tricks as well.
Heading back east (i.e. in the Ueno Park direction) on the JR Chuo-Sobu line, I was thinking how the term "family entertainment" for me would never be the same again.
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Monday, December 28, 2009