Cool things we've been doing this week
We've been in Tokyo for only a week, but have still managed to find some great things.
Given our 'in development' Japanese language skills, our massive love of spoken word events is curtailed to those in English for now. Fortunately it seems that there are some great options. We really enjoyed the Tokyo version of Fuckup Nights last night at the Impact Hub in Meguro. Four people described a project they'd led at work that... didn't exactly go to plan. Funny and informative, the night, which was mostly in English but with Japanese translation, was a very fun start to life in Tokyo (not to mention the charming walk along the river in Nagameguro to get there).
In terms of film, we ventured to Shibuya's TOHO Cinemas to see The Big Short, a sort of documentary about the Wall Street crash. To be honest, while the film was well made and quite good, it wasn't really what I was looking for after a stressful day settling in to Tokyo. It's quite shouty and tense... More relaxing (though not really) was our trip to the Tokyo Lift Off Festival at the cool Uplink Factory Cinema, also in Shibuya. We saw a range of new short films by emerging directors and they were a diverse and interesting lot. Though I wish film festivals would select more cheerful films... there was far too much horror for my liking! Finally, in a combination of film and theatre, we were delighted to get to see The Audience, a play that was performed at the National Theatre in London and filmed so it can be watched in cinemas around the world as part of their NT Live program. We saw it at Kichioji Odeon and it was amazing. Scroll to the bottom of this website and click the cinemas to see what theatre you can enjoy from London, from the comfort of a cinema in Tokyo.
We've been taking to the water this week. We love stand up paddleboarding but since we couldn't find any in Tokyo (suggestions?), we chose kayaking instead. The Great Tokyo Kayaking Tour was a great experience. I hadn't known that Tokyo had a system of canals but with the last of the cherry blossoms descending, it was a really beautiful time to go kayaking. From the back of their office on Shinkawa island, we got straight into double kayaks... and we were off! This trip is two hours of beautiful, serene canals punctuated by two short episodes of manic terror/thrills (for rubbish kayakers like me anyway), crossing the Sumida river between rather larger boats! But in general, great fun. My only regret was forgetting to combine it with a visit to nearby Morioka Shoten, the bookshop that's recently received lots of international press for stocking only one book at a time. We also went rowing in the Imperial Moat - again, completely beautiful, delightful experience... and rather less terror than the Sumida River! You hire the boats at Chidorigafuchi: the boathouse is about 300 metres south of the Embassy of India, on a pretty little cherry blossom-lined path by the moat.
And of course we've visited some parks for the first time: Yoyogi Park was cheery and fun and pretty, Shibuya Gyoen Park was spectacular, but maybe my favourite was Kiyosumi Garden - especially combined with the nearby lovely Blue Bottle coffee roastery. What fun!
What should we do next week? Please make suggestions in the comments section!
BRIT ABOUT TOWN PICKS OF THE WEEK - 15 - 21 April
Things that we think sound cool happening in Tokyo
All week - See the NT Live production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at the Kichioji Odeon. I saw it in London live, AND in Washington DC on screen and both were genuinely amazing.
Fri 15 April - The NT Live production of Frankenstein is on tonight only at Cine Libre Ikebukuro.
Sat 16 April - It's Obscura Day! Run by Atlas Obscura, this global day celebrates unusual places and explores hidden corners of places - and Tokyo has an event. We're looking forward to exploring Yanaka Cemetery.
Sun 17 April - A great way to end the weekend may be at Gamuso Comedy in Asagaya with Tokyo Comedy Store. I'm hoping to get to this, our first comedy show in Tokyo.
Tue 19 April - More comedy: it's new material night at Double Tall Cafe in Shibuya with Tokyo Comedy Store.
Wed 20 April - Comedy tonight is open mic at Good Heavens pub in Shimokitazawa with Standup Tokyo.
Thu 21 April - Another comedy show, this one at the Hobgoblin in Shibuya with Tokyo Comedy Store.
Do you know of any great events happening soon? Let us know!