Tag Archives: cute

The Kewpie Brigade

For reasons I don’t want to go into now, I found myself at the Self Defense Forces Central Hospital today. It was surreal.

Sitting in the window of the second floor cafeteria over a bowl of curry rice, I watched men and women wearing camouflage uniforms and army boots come and go. Looking at their faces, I felt a fundamental human connection: these people who go on peace keeping missions all around the world also get sick, just like me or anyone else. It was a humbling realization.

ThenĀ  I went into the hospital shop and found this:

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Who but the Japanese would dress a Kewpie doll in combat fatigues and send him crawling into battle on a cell phone strap?

And who but me would bring him home and pose him with a squirrel and a couple of cacti?

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A Tale of Ramen

I was in the mood for ramen today, so walked to Yutenji, which is a rather nothing kind of neighborhood. I should know; I used to live there. But it has a good Chinese restaurant, which features Beatles Muzak played on traditional Chinese instruments, and that’s just weird enough to appeal to my taste. I was starting on my noodles when I heard some other music and a marching band passed by the restaurant’s big picture window.

A marching band? In Yutenji?

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAYup.

This definitely merited investigation. Turns out it was the Meguro Ward Traffic and Everyday Safety, Anti-Crime and General Well-Being Festival. Who knew?

The band marched to the grounds of an elementary school with a strange gliding sort of step as if each member was trying to hold a 100 yen coin between their butt cheeks.

A program of entertainment followed. First was a band consisting of 100 kindergarten kids. They were predictably awful, but does it get any cuter than this?

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAWell, maybe. The next act was ballerinas…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA…then (thankfully brief) performances by bands from an elementary, junior high and high school. Then taiko drummers, which are always a treat….

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA…and some kind of Tai Chi-dance-meditation-probably-more-fun-to-do-than-watch thing…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA…and then the marching band returned for a grand finale, playing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah and Hot Stuff.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA The whole thing was surprisingly fun, mostly in its unexpectedness and cheese factor. Even after all these years, Tokyo doesn’t fail to surprise and entertain.