When preparing for my trip, I read about Shimokitazawa: An oasis of indie shops and clubs, a plethora of small live venues, and in general a laid black, organic neighborhood.
I paid a visit there today. It started like this: I walked into a bar and asked the bartender if there was live music around. He raised his eyebrow, replied with the question "rock?" and after my nod, he stated: "Yes. Many."
A minute later, he approached me with a hand-written list of places to check out.
The first one, "Shelter", had a DJ party tonight. Nothing for me.
The second, "Basement bar", had three bands. That was a candidate.
The third, "Three", had closed.
The fourth, "440", had a one-woman show titled "I sing". It actually attracted me the most because I was tired of loud music. But they demanded 3800¥, which I was too greedy to pay.
So I walked into the basement bar and I said nothing to the bartender because there was none there. Instead, there was a preparatory meeting of the bands, a quick rehearsal of an opening ceremony and in general, nothing meant for a random spectator.
Nobody said a word against me being there; however, I didn't feel welcome, so I asked when the party starts and left again. I went for a walk and came back exactly at seven, when the start was planned. They really were precise to seconds because in the moment I came, they raised (actually let fall of) the curtain.
I bought a beer and observed. There were two girls in those "cute" Japanese costumes. All the musicians from all three bands on stage and they performed an opening ceremony to the "late night party".
The audience was largely teenage and I couldn't really shrug off the same feeling that I don't belong. When the first band started playing, I understood why. This was apalling. Four young people, skillful musicians with equipment for tens of thousands of Euros... playing oversweetened love songs like we know them from the mass media.
I gave them three songs and then I escaped.
I walked all the way back to Shibuya and went to a random movie in a cinema. The thing is that the house where I'm staying is not exactly the cleanest and I don't like to spend much time here.
So yeah, this movie was called "Too Young to Die" and by the time I watched it, IMDB only knew of its trailer. I was apalled for the second time today. :-) Cheap tricks all the time, lame gags, cringeworthy storyline.
But it was packed with music and there were guitars everywhere, and I even recognized an actor (and I really don't know that many Japanese actors). In the end, it had its fun moments to be quite fair.
So yeah, tomorrow Aokigahara. I don't know if I should say I'm looking forward to it. But I'm curious to be sure.