Saturday Lucas and I took the Timbers Army bus to Seattle for a Timbers/Sounders game. Normally we drive, either alone or carpooling, but Lucas wanted to try the group bus trip at least once. I’m not inclined to repeat this. I’d been hesitant because the people who ride the bus generally stumble out into the stadium parking lot already drunk off their collective ass, and I’ve learned that drinking early in the day tends to put me asleep by nightfall, so it didn’t really seem like my kind of thing. It was actually worse than I expected. By the time we reached Seattle, I’d had more than enough of the drunk monkey screeching, my ears hurt, and I was in full “I hate everyone” mode. Not a good time.
We arrived about an hour and a half before the game, so I ditched the group and went over to Uwajimaya. I needed to buy kleenex, but I was still too wound up to think straight, so instead I walked into Kinokuniya on the theory that looking at magazines and stickers might cheer me up. Mostly I needed to move around. Anyhow, I ended up buying a book called Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno. Remember this, I’ll come back to it later. I also had a really yummy udon & tempura combo, and my first taste of bubble tea, in the food court.
The game itself was really dull. Timbers lost 1-0. Not a lot of action on either side.
Instead of taking the bus back, we stayed in Seattle overnight at the Green Tortise Hostel (nice place, right across the street from the market), and drove home with friends Sunday noon. This gave us a few hours in the morning to wander around, buy food, watch the fishmongers. We bought big German pretzels from 3 Girls Bakery, some asparagus, peaches, little flat onions (an Italian variety, maybe?). I wish I’d bought extra pretzels to still have some left today. That was my staple food when we were in Germany last summer.
So back to the Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno. The book immediately comes off as the sort of thing written for outsiders who fetishize certain aspects of Japanese culture, but despite that, it has a pretty good rundown of different teen girl trends since the ’70s, starting with biker gangs and moving into modern Decora and Gothloli movements. There’s enough information in here to make a good starting point for finding out more about the trends or groups mentioned.
One of the things I found interesting was a short discussion of Para Para dancing, which is sort of like the Macarena, except there’s hand motions for tons of different songs and it moves much faster. I’ve probably seen references to it before, but this time I looked it up on YouTube.
This is a short para para dance guide subtitled in German. I cracked up when I realized that I was reading the captions just fine but they weren’t in English. It should be pretty easy to figure out even if you don’t know what they’re saying.
This one is a promo for something called Gears of War. (Just looked it up. Some kind of Xbox game with a nasty website that resizes the browser.)
Here we have two young women dancing to the Eva theme song. One of the stranger things (to me, at least) about para para is that smiling does not seem to be required, or even desirable. It’s probably easier that way, since the hand motions go fast, but compared to something like Western line dancing, that’s fairly odd.
Our last selection is someone dancing in a giraffe costume. Why not?
I have a couple more of these saved in my favorites on YouTube, if you’re curious for further examples.