Robby’s latest blog entry for InRock Magazine

 

Hey Hey In Rockers and welcome to The Lobby 2020 Version !!!!!!

I just got back from a trip to Japan with my family as my wife and daughter and I visited our in-laws over the New Years Holiday in Tokyo for a couple of weeks at the end of December. We usually stay in the Shinjuku area as we know that area really well after spending so much time there over the year, but we’ve been doing our best to discover some new areas, this time we opted to stay near the Sky Tree/Oshiage Station for a change of pace. We found it to be a pretty convenient part of town for visitors and enjoyed the particular flavor of the area and my daughter loved that there were a few ice cream shops right across the street in Sky Tree City. We had been to the Sky Tree many times in the past, so we didn’t go up to the top, but we did visit the planetarium show and enjoyed dinner at the Sky Tree during our stay.

We visited with my friend NHK presenter/host Jason Hancock and his partner Masato for lunch one day in Taito City, a place we hadn’t been since we visited Nezu Shrine a couple of years ago. We were introduced to an American artist named Allen West who moved to Japan nearly 40 years ago to study traditional Japanese art. He paints many different types of pieces but is very well known in Japan for painting screens (Byobu). We got a chance to see his studio in a traditional house down a small back alley. It was truly inspiring; all of his materials paints are made by hand from minerals he finds himself around Japan. It’s so great to meet foreigners who have embraced the culture and traditions of Japan, and this was an experience we will never forget as we left with one of his pieces to bring back to our home in America.

After seeing all the signage and coverage on western TV, my daughter Hana was curious about the maid cafes in Tokyo and we felt like it would be fun to take her for a visit so she could understand what was going on there, and I felt like I could understand it all a little bit better myself! We went to “The @Home Cafe”, the largest of the maid cafe’s in Tokyo, I believe it’s 5 full floors of cafe’s, and it’s really pretty crazy… After a long wait we were escorted to our table as “Masters” and Princesses” and ordered some cute little cakes and tea from a young girl who claimed she will be 17 forever (and we believed her)! After some conversation and helping us in pulling off some great “kitty” imitations for our server we took some pictures with our hostess and made our way, slightly confused, down the stairs through the cues of people waiting to spend some time themselves in this alternative reality known as the Maid Cafe. I was amazed by the varieties of people who were there, groups of girls, solo men, solo women, people just stopping on for lunch to visit their favorite “character”, it’s really not what I expected, but then again, I don’t really know what I was expecting!

Last year we went to Senso Ji on New Years day, it was one of the most crowded places I have ever been in my life! This year we decided to visit the day after New Years Day, and truthfully it was not much less crowded, but the energy is amazing …. All of the vendors, temple staff and attendees operating as one to make this chaotic scene function, I’m really blown away when I see things like this in Japan, it feels like we could never make that happen in the US, there’s just too much chaos, not enough natural harmony and respect between the attendees and organizers. I’ve learned much from my life intertwined with the ways of Japan and I have to say this is the thing I respect the most. We waited in the long, long cue, made our way into the temple, threw some coins made some wishes and headed boldly into 2020 ….

Goo Goo Dolls have just announced a performance at The One Asia Festival in Singapore this spring. Could we be headed your way soon ? I’m really, really hoping so….stay tuned and I’ll keep you all in the loop!

I hope things have been great for you all so far this year, and I look forward to keeping up with you all for another year in the pages of The Mighty In Rock !!!!

Peace

Robby

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