The “Friendly March” troupe are the second-to-last exhibitors in the seventy-five-group parade taking place here in Kobe for the Kobe Matsuri, its fortieth annual city festival. The Friendly March, quite contrary to its name–which was purportedly chosen to lend an air of non-threateningism, well-meanery, and well, friendliness to their presence–are hideous, horrifying men dressed in poorly chosen RuPaul-era drag costumes and peppering the street in a concentration akin to that of halved cherries in canned fruit cocktail. One of them marches ahead in a sparkling stars-‘n-stripes outfit. I am reminded that I am American.
Atop a converted Avis rentatruck is one fellow who looks like he is trying to be in The Cure a handful of years too late while another one, who is actually pretty enough to be a woman, is sitting as bored as string cheese. A Lady Gaga song literally thumps so loud from their massive speaker array that the Indian dancing group following them is just dancing to it instead of their own music, tinny and barely audible by comparison. I find myself un-concerned with Cure-guy’s sexual orientation and beliefs, and confused by his fashion sense. As a matter of course I am generally unwilling to string anyone up for wearing anything in particular; today the strings I see are already sufficiently up the places they’ve been positioned. Cure-guy’s face is painted white and black and I am afraid he is going to cast an evil samba curse over me like in voodoo New Orleans. Behind the truck, fruit salady, marches a handful of stragglers-on, one waving a gay pride flag. Friendly March, I think you’re going about this all wrong.
They are of note only because of the stark contrast they stand in compared to the prior exhibitors. The pinnacles of parade-going that I’m used to have mostly involved flatbed trailers from which Dum Dums are thrown, and so the Kobe Matsuri parade has had much to offer.
One group, a neo-modern (yes) salsa group dressed as extravagantly as Cirque de Soleil and twice as mostly-naked, gyrates wildly, a chiseled man leading the group eliciting more excitement out of the elderly woman who has rushed up beside me for a good look than she has likely had since breakfast. Her hair looks like that of Scrooge McDuck’s nephew, Dewy. She pumps her fist wildly in the air, overcome with emotion.
A later group of marchers, cheerleaders, most notably of the 14-and-under classification, stamps by, and I am almost immediately killed by the deep-zoom lens that flies up past my face, commandeered by a man the spitting image of the dictionary’s illustration for the entry “pervy old guy.” He has raced down here from earlier in the parade, backpack flapping with every step, for the sake of securing more shots–I hear his SLR snap away a dozen times or more before the girls finish striding past, and then he too is away to follow their quest like an INXS roadie.
We have also witnessed a group of unicycling youth, two dipshits in huge stuffed costumes from some governmental organization, rows of the elderly wearing yukata and twirling umbrellas upon which tiny stuffed Doraemons tumble like gymnasts, numerous junior and high school marching bands, and the Vissel Kobe soccer team (for the chance of a view we are shoved aside by the rabid masses).
But it’s okay, because while wandering about, we eat steak on a stick, a burger made with steak, an eggroll which has steak in it, and some other things that do not contain steak. Then for supper we eat at Saizeriya, where I forego the opportunity to order steak to order spicy chicken wings, carbonara pasta, meat sauce doria, and beer instead.
CURIOUS JAPANESE THINGS OF THE WEEK
– The promotional figures attached to two bottles of Pepsi Zero that I bought solely because of the promotional figures: tiny “Be@rbrick” toys that are based on the movies Beverly Hills Cop and The Godfather, and which are plastic representations of those movies’ main charaters, but with bear heads
– Saltine crackers, which, despite being sold in a box, are distributed inside by way of being individually wrapped into ten packages of six crackers each, leaving a massive amount of packaging for a greatly reduced amount of crackers
– The fact that I am actually starting to become capable of distinguishing the qualities and varieties of various packaged curries due to the fact that they make a delicious and easy Wednesday morning breakfast food before I go to night school
– Pepsi Zero, which is disgusting, but at least I got my Be@rbrick toys
– Finding for roughly the first significant timespan in my life that, despite doing little actual work at my job, I am still frequently so strapped for recreation time that my pointless hobbies, designed to eliminate useless excess time, are being left neglected, probably due in no small part to the fact that I now attend Japanese language class for two hours a night two nights a week
– Today’s bento, by virtue of not being a bento and instead being two sandwiches, which I selected just cause I was feeling in a sandwichy kind of mood
THE END OF CURIOSITIES
Despite my relative lack of recreation time, I think it would be best to focus said recreation time in such a way that even while recreating, I end up with a satisfying and constructed result. I am typing it here merely so that I am mentally held to task: I like video games, and I like writing, and even though I currently play games and write, it is about goddamned time that I do some more writing about video games (old ones). I am going to write an article about the game Alcahest by next Thursday at this time, and it is going to be my article for that week. And I am going to write an article for the week after that, and we will proceed from there. I have been warned.