Hey Hey In Rockers and Welcome to The Lobby, coming to you from the snowy city of Buffalo, NY! Happy New Year to all of the In Rock Readers, you should be well into 2019 by now and I hope it’s been great so far! I spent the first part of the year in Japan visiting family in Tokyo for the holidays. I took the trip over with my daughter, Hana and my wife Miyoko, the main reason for the trip was to see my wife’s family, but we always seem to find some adventure as we spend our holidays in Japan!
We arrived at Narita from the US on the day after Christmas and made our way to the train and our room in Ueno, we’ve never stayed in Ueno before, and it’s bustling for sure! We enjoyed being in the middle of the madness that is Ueno at night, wandered down by the vendors, sights and smells of nearby Ameyoko and enjoyed some Yakitori, we got a few bags of cheap candy from our favorite vendor and tried our best to stay up until 10 to beat our jetlag which is always one of our first challenges on these trips!
While in Ueno you must stop to have a visit with the Pandas and we have never gotten a chance to see the newest of the Pandas, so after a loooooong winding line of patient zoogoers made our way into the enclosure to have a look at Xiang Xiang and his Panda Dad (I guess Panda Mom was inside having a rest). We said hi to Xiang Xiang, spent a little more time at the Zoo and then made our way over to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art to see their Edward Munch exhibit featuring 3 different versions of the legendary woodcut/painting “The Scream”!
Munch is pretty dark and macabre as an artist, (and probably as a person I would imagine), we even heard a story that he was shot in an altercation after argument in which he refused to marry his girlfriend to maintain his dark outlook on life as an inspiration for his art. My daughter found it all a bit disconcerting so we quickly made our way through the exhibit and did our best to explain to Hana the significance of being in a room with a masterpiece like “The Scream”; she wasn’t all that enthused, I’m pretty sure it was pretty similar to going through a ghost house to her (which is not high on her list of ways to spend an afternoon).
We visited with some friends over the next couple of days and on New Years Day we had a great “Osechi” lunch with my wife’s family. In a once in a lifetime experience we went to Asakusa to join the throngs of Japanese and tourists traveling to visit Senso Ji for the holiday. So many people are funneled through the Tori gates of the temple wishing to start their year with luck, happiness, health and prosperity. After holding on tight to our 7 year old we moved with the crowd to the main temple and squeezed our way up to the front and made an offering for good fortune then made our way to the festival grounds outside the temple! My friend in Tokyo was so amazed that we went on New Years Day as he has been living there for decades and never braved the crowds; I must say it was handled so well, and I’m always amazed at the ability of the Japanese culture to handle these situations in such an orderly way.
We even got to attend a “mochisuki” event with some Sumo wrestlers on New Years Day in Shiodome, I had an opportunity to pound some mocha about 15 years ago and for some reason declined the offer, I had always regretted that decision so it was good to be able to right that wrong from my past in 2019, and this time with 2 Sumo, the whole thing couldn’t have gone better !!!!
The rest of our short, weeklong trip was full of Gotcha Gotcha Machines, UFO Catchers, Curry, Ramen, Yakiniku, Sushi, Shopping, friends, family and so much more … and as always, I can’t wait for our return… and …back in the USA, Goo Goo Dolls are writing, recording and doing random shows until we tour sort tour of Mexico in May and then do a 60 city US tour in June, July and August. We’ll have a new album out for you all soon, lots of new music circulating around our camp lately, can’t wait for you all to hear it this Spring!
Have a great month and check out robbyslobby.com to get to my socials or just leave a not saying hi! See you next month here in the pages of The Mighty In Rock !!!