Tuesday, March 11, 2008

hanazono shrine and yoyogi park

JR is in town with his band, so we met up in Shibuya for a day of bura-bura. Starting off on a sunny café patio, we decided to check out the flea market at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku. Though it's closest to Shinjuku 3-chome station, we were in the mood to walk, so alit at Shinjuku station and meandered over to the shrine.

The flea market, alas, was less than impressive. There were about five ratty blankets spread out with a few dusty items - old dolls, prints, and kimono for sale. They were all ancient looking Japanese things instead of plastic crap, which was a bonus, but overall it was pretty weak. The shrine itself is pretty, and there's a mini fertility shrine on the premises, complete with a large carved wooden penis adorning the alcove.

We decided to walk back to Shibuya instead of taking the Yamanote line three stops. On our way, we went through Yoyogi Park. This park was hopping with activity on Sundays back in the day, and then there was a crackdown on public performers. Happily, they seem to be back: the place was chock-full of singer-songwriters, rockabilly dance troupes, bad mime acts, and wannabe hiphoppers. We walked the gauntlet of talent, occasionally drawn astray by the aromas coming from the food carts dotted around the park: yakisoba, crepes, octopus balls, other meats-on-sticks. The park was also lined with scruffy folks hawking more crap on blankets. It was the Hanazono market times ten. Let this be a lesson: skip the crappy publicized flea (furii) market and get thee instead to the free-form chaos that is Yoyogi Park on a Sunday.

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