Top spoken word event of last week was the Comedy Sumo Slamdown in Roppongi. I love comedy but my over-enthusiasm means that already I sometimes end up hearing the same sets in different venues around town. It's just inevitable. But the beauty of Comedy Sumo Slamdown is that it's all new, impromptu stuff, and I found much of it hilarious. Not to mention the tasty pizza and really interesting beer at the Two Dogs Taproom while I watched. The next one's on 21st May.
It was a big gay weekend last week because Tokyo Rainbow Pride was in town. I staffed a booth, I went to a picnic, I took silly photos, and had a lot of fun. This event had such a nice, friendly, festive atmosphere. I also went to my first meetup.com language exchange last week. It was quite friendly and cheerful - other than the misery of being not very good at Japanese... but I'm sure I impressed them all with my English...
Hilarious activity of the week was aerial yoga! Have you ever tried it? It didn't feel much like yoga - more like a relaxing, bendy class interspersed with basic acrobatic type moves, all done while draped across/hanging from silk hammocks hung from the ceiling. I had a fabulous time. Though I understood 5% of what the teacher said and I was too ungainly to achieve the upside down swinging thing that everyone else did with infuriating ease...
I went to Ivy Place again, at the T Site in Daikanyama (on a tangent, did you know that Tsutaya books has a random taxidermy display, complete with massive polar bear? I digress...). This restaurant is a little spendy, but probably has some of the nicest Italian food we've had in Tokyo. It has a relaxed but upscale atmosphere and was a little end-of-Golden-Week treat for us.
But if you're feeling particularly vegan, this is where to pay attention: friends took us to Ain Soph in Shinjuku and it was lovely. A combination tatty chic/hipster vibe, bright yet cosy, bustling yet relaxing, and the food was delicious.
As for less fancy food, I crowdsourced the recommendation of Shanti Curry Soup in Shibuya and while a little more expensive than I'd have expected for a pretty basic bowl of food, my vegetable and egg bowl was surprisingly tasty. And en route to language exchange, I went to Karabishi Miso Ramen Kikanbo in Kanda, having found the place getting top reviews all over the 'restaurants near here' internet. It was not as vegetarian as I'd hoped... but clearly if you like spicy ramen bowls, you're probably going to love this. I chose 'mild'. It was a good level of spice for me, but it had a kick! Really tasty.
As I mentioned, I was at the Two Dogs Taproom in Roppongi to see comedy. I was really impressed by their house IPA. Interesting, complex, tasty. In a craft beer extravaganza this week, I went to Craftheads in Shibuya. Really nice ambience, great beer selection, and friendly staff.
BRIT ABOUT TOWN PICKS OF THE WEEK : 13th - 19th May
What's on in Tokyo in the coming week? Your trusty Brit About Town has joined forces with the followers of the @beingtokyo Twitter feed, so this week's guide is partly crowdsourced via @beingtokyo - thanks, Tokyo people! If you have more suggestions, please email us.
Fri 13th - If you're an entrepreneur you'll be at Slush Asia during the day. By night, it's time for Apocrypha, a fairly new storytelling show at Bar Gari Gari. And as an added treat, your very own Brit About Town and Perfect Liars Club director will be making her storytelling debut, performing a story that won the Moth StorySLAM in the US. Prepare for laughs, heartbreak and romantic encounters, all in the space of 10 minutes.
Sat 14th - This is the second day of the big event for young entrepreneurs and startup people, Slush Asia. Check out the cool speakers they have lined up.
Sun 15th - Gamuso comedy show is on tonight. Or the Tokyo Art Fair Closing Party.
Weekend festivals - There's a paella-eating festival at Toyosu Park with Spanish food, dancing, etc, which should be fun (I notice it's next to the Gas Science Museum which I hear surprisingly good things about). And several people have alerted me to nearby Chuo's Keyaki Beer Festival in Zelkova Square. Plus everyone's talking about the big Sanja Matsuri festival in Asakusa with parades and all sorts of interesting goings on.
Mon 16th - Nothing specific? Hmmm, maybe it's time you head to see Zootopia at the cinema.
Tue 17th - There's a new material night comedy show at Double Tall Cafe in Shibuya.
Wed 18th - Open mic comedy at Good Heavens Bar in Shimokitazawa.
Thu 19th - Stand-up comedy at the Hobgoblin in Shibuya tonight. It's also the first night of Tokyo International Players production of Big Fish, the Huckleberry Finn musical. We saw a sneak preview of a scene from it and it looks good! It's in English.
Oh, and if you're feeling cinema-ish at 10am, apparently Toho Shinjuku is showing My Fair Lady every day this week.
If you're planning to do the Tokyo Yamathon, it's on the 21st, so sign up asap.
If you're into comedy, make sure you've got tickets for the Yuriko Kotani/Phil Nichol double bill on 25th and 29th May.