The top spoken word event of the week was Apocrypha, a storytelling show in English that is modeled on the US show RISK! - people tell personal, rather intimate stories about things that have happened to them, followed by discussion. I performed my infamous first date story and it was fun. Bar Gari Gari is a cool venue too.
I saw Cirque de Soleil's Totem in Odaiba's Big Top at the weekend. Cirque de Soleil is always spectacular but I suspect Totem isn't their best show. Definitely worth seeing for the aerial acrobatics but there were only about four really spectacular pieces - lots of the rest of it was sort of confused clowning, an inexplicable semi-storyline, and weird cultural appropriation.
I saw Hail Caesar this week, at the Shibuya Humax. It's an excellent Cohen Brothers film, and if you have any fondness for old films, this will likely appeal.
It was back to Odaiba again last weekend, this time to figure out how to rent paddleboards (SUP) and get out on the water (as opposed to accidentally going on a Children's Day free class like last time...). The rental shop is called RealBVoice and there's a nice sit-in bakery next door for lunch. While the area where you can paddleboard isn't huge, it's nice. Stretching the definition of watersports, we also went rowing this weekend, on the pond in the lovely park at Kichijoji (potentially my new favourite neighbourhood). I finally got our bikes fixed after their long journey across the sea, and my lovely wife and I finished the week by heading out along the Meguro River and then that pretty walking/bike path that extends for miles from there but weirdly is never mentioned in any English-language guides that I've seen. If you look on Google maps at the Meguro river, then trace the little creek continuing to the west, that's where the path starts. Feels like cycling through little villages in the south of France, bizarrely.
I only went to one exhibition this week, Magnum's First at the Hillside Forum in Daikanyama. Since it's finished now, I won't spend too long talking about it. It was a quite interesting selection of photos first exhibited in the 50s. Cool.
Bars (and cheese)
Pick of the week was Workers Coffee/Bar halfway between Nakameguro and Ikejiri-Ohashi stations on the river. The best wine AND the best cheeseboard I've had in Tokyo in a charming hipster-ish surrounding, overlooking the riverside walk. Though if you want to buy cheese, we also found our favourite-so-far cheese shop in the Atre basement of Kichijoji. Excellent selection.
Top restaurant of the week was Cicada in Aoyama. Given my delight at Ivy Place, it should be no surprise that her sister restaurant is equally delicious. Similar look, but this restaurant has a sort of Spanish/Middle Eastern food mix. Special shout out to the delicious red pepper dip. I swooned. I also had dinner at El Salvatore, a pizza place in Daikanyama which was surprisingly tasty and cheery. And a shout out for the amazing oatmeal scone I devoured in Margaret Howell Cafe in Kichijoji.
Brit About Town Picks of the Week for 20th - 26th May
Fri 20th - Today until Sunday, catch the Tokyo Players' production of the Huckleberry Finn musical Big River. It's at Theatre Sun Mall in Shinjuku.
Sat 21st - My favourite (so far) comedy night in Tokyo, Comedy Sumo Slam, is on in Roppongi at 6pm. It's followed by more comedy at 8. Or go off to participate in a crazy nocturnal city-wide street game called Journey to the End of the Night.
Sun 22nd - And my favourite (so far) art event in Tokyo, Pause Draw is on this afternoon in Shibuya.
Mon 23rd - Have you heard of rakugo? It's the traditional Japanese form of comic storytelling. One man, on a cushion, and it's in English. A rare opportunity to experience this, I think. It's at Footnik in Ebisu.
Tue 24th - It's new stand-up comedy material night at the Double Tall Cafe in Shibuya. Or if you're LGBT and interested in joining a new LGBT book group, it starts tonight, discussing Patrick Gayle's A Place Called Winter.
Wed 25th - If you like comedy don't miss the double headliner show at Good Heavens - it's the rather famous Phil Nichol and Yuriko Kotani! (well, okay you can miss it, but only because it's on a second time on Sunday)
Thu 26th - This had better be your cinema night. Hail Caesar or Zootopia? 45 Years? Carol? Check out the listings.