Konnichi wa! Last weekend, I turned Japanese. One evening I had dinner at the highly revered sushi spot Nishimura in West Hollywood, the next night I rocked out to The Boredoms at the Henry Fonda Theatre. Nishimura is such a find that there is no sign posted outside of the austere gates. I sat at the bar with my two dinnermates, savvy travelers with discriminating taste who share my philosophy that there is not enough time in this lifetime to waste on bad food. For an appetizer, instead of edamame, which has become as common as the shoelace, we were offered roasted ginko nuts with coarse salt. During most of the evening, I stared at the long sushi knife resting in front of me. I was well-behaved throughout the meal.
Fists of fury!
I try to see The Boredoms every time I get a chance. I remember vividly the first time I saw them. The year was 1993; I was standing in the middle of an empty school gymnasium in Kyoto. The tickets cost me then 1500 yen, or about $15. It was one of the cheapest concerts I ever went to in Japan. But the recent show in Los Angeles only cost me a meal of Vietnamese chicken curry. And I got a backstage pass. Miguelito and I split from our posse to check out the performance next to the stage behind the security curtain. We were in awe of the three drummers and Yamatsuka Eye, who beat drumsticks against a hydra comprising seven guitar heads attached to one body.
This is Eye working his keyboard.
Eye also danced like a banshee. Caught in some sort of trance, he repeatedly leaped over the drum kits to spin in the center. But one time he didn't jump high enough and twisted his right ankle. As the Japanese like to say, he followed the motto to "ganbaru," or endure. Though he limped for the remainder of the evening, his energy never faded.
Eye kept the hydra under control.
For the encore, Eye traded places with one of the drummers.
The hydra can also be played from behind, as demonstrated by the third drummer, who looked like a big nerd if you didn't know that he could rock out with The Boredoms.