Sunday, 26 December 2010

Avenue Q Ginza

It seems to be an unwritten rule that if I leave my camera at home, photo opportunities will be more prevalent.

And so it was today when we got to use the Christmas present I gave, that I was REALLY wishing I had brought it along. As I mentioned last post, said present was a ticket to see Avenue Q at Tokyo International Forum in Ginza.

The first I heard about this show was while listening to InterFM on my way to work last week. They played one of the songs, and from what they said it seemed like an adult version of Sesame Street. I thought that I'd like it, but I have to say it was a fantastic stage production. Although a totally different concept, I liked it even better than "Chicago".

The parallels with Sesame Street are hard to miss. If you always thought Bert and Ernie were gay, and the Cookie Monster surfed places NSFW on the internet, then I think you'd like it too. The icing on the cake is a "cameo" with Gary Coleman. Yes, that one. And in this case he is played by a woman.

The sets, puppets, story and singing were practically faultless. The puppet actors are visible but not really acknowledged as part of the show. At first this was strange, but you soon accept it. We were on the second floor, at a little bit of a distance from the stage, so if anything I'd have liked to have been closer.

I laughed a lot, got a little misty eyed, and really loved this show. Unfortunately today is last day so I'm afraid it's too late if you're in Tokyo. If you get the chance to see it, I HIGHLY recommend you go. Just do it.

When it was finished we decided to walk around the forum complex. Also on today was the Hot Toys 2010 figurine exhibition in the main building. It was free so we thought we'd take a look.

We were led down narrow corridors by cute girls dressed in white. Made it look like something really special. When we got to the main room, we were presented with a whole lot of glass-cased figurines with extremely high price tags, and bass heavy "doof doof" dance music pulsating through the room.

We almost accidentally bought this one by going to the store area checkouts. "Only" 18,000 yen, yikes! I was thinking this would be the perfect place for guys that have absolutely no interest in women.

This is one of those situations I wish I'd brought my real camera. You can see the flash reflecting off the glass, and the exposure being too dark. The figures outside the glass came out a little better.

How about a Tokyo Tower-sized "Godzilla" Rocky Balboa?

I liked this Aliens recreation..

..but while a lot of the figures looked cool and all, I prefered the girls in white. Damn you, blurry iPhone camera! :(

Right next door to the Hot Toys exhibition there was a Omani Cultural Days exhibition. Quite interesting. It got me thinking that this part of the world would be interesting for a holiday.

The last two times I was in Ginza I missed out on anpan from Kimuraya, so this time we wasted no more time, and got there to a plentiful supply of anpan goodness. There were a few bread samples to abate Sampleman™ 's hunger too.

Yamano music is right next door, so I took the opportunity to check out the small selection of sweet guitars. Often on the ground floor they play jazz outside the main entrance which sounds really cool. Today's selection was the "Sonny Criss - This is Criss" album. In my old age, I'm developing a mature admiration of jazz and classical. Uh oh.

Next stop.. Sony Building!

At the moment they are showing (off) their 3D film of Hokkaido's Asahiyama Zoo.
Of course I made sure to have the way cooler, kids polar bear 3D specs. Hot, huh?

It's always fun to check out the cool gear in the Sony building.

Sony's mp3 players aren't as easily intuitive as iPods, but I liked the sound quality helped along by their groovy MDR-XB500 cans.

The bass was nice, and the rest of the sound was very clear. There was a little bit of leakage, but maybe not too much to be a problem on the trains. The price is quite reasonable too. If I didn't have the ones I have these would be a strong contender for my next pair. I was listening to Miliyah Kato's "Rose". I'm not really into J-pop stars doing American R'n'b, but there are some really, nice tunes on this CD!

There was some snow put outside the Sony Building to promote the 3D show. "Please Don't Throw The Snow Balls" is like asking for it, right?

After the disappointment of the temporary Kiddyland in Omotosando, I remembered there's a four storey toy store called Hakuhinkan Toy Park here in Ginza.

Coming here made me happy. Lots of cute and fun toys to bring out my kid ego. I wanted to take this cat home. It says "Meow" in Japanese ("Nya!"), but in English, "I wuv you!". かわいい!

Just before coming home we went to the Chinese gyoza restaurant in Yurakucho. I've mentioned it many times before, so look it up if you're in this area. Many delicious food.

Wow. Long post, long day. A good start to my New Year's break! Phew.