As I said in my last entry, I took the Toden Arakawa Line from Otsuka over to Waseda, walked it over to Takadanobaba before taking the JR Yamanote to the next stop at Shin-Okubo which is known for its Koreantown.
In my former capacity as a resident, I had been to the area a few times with friends for dinner which was always Korean BBQ or yakiniku. And it was there in Shin-Okubo where I learned about the slanted grill to whip up that beef. The excess oil drained effortlessly into the pan below; when it comes to cholesterol, every little bit helps.
Even in my time in Tokyo, the boom in popularity for Korean singers and actors had already been in full swing but it looks like the love for entertainment has further intensified during my several years of absence from the neighbourhood.
My former colleagues and current friends, Sasaki and Hayashi, were kind enough to take me for lunch in Shin-Okubo and the former enjoyed the fare at Myeongdong Norimaki. As did I. Those were some fine dumplings and chijimi I had.
Afterwards the three of us had some coffee and then Sasaki suggested that we could check out Waseda University's annual festival. I readily accepted! There were a number of firsts that I accomplished on this trip and along with riding the Toden Arakawa, actually attending a gakuen-sai was another one although I kept hearing about these events for years. Plus I had never visited one of Japan's premier centres of higher learning.
Not surprisingly, the masses were huge. However, I was able to get a good feel of the land at Waseda U with its many buildings scrunched into a small area.
There was a full schedule for the weekend but my impression for Saturday at least was that the performances often involved either student-based manzai comedy or some form of hip-hop dances. In addition, like any of the summer town festivals, there was also plenty of yatai serving up the food and drink.
Of course, when I was visiting the gakuen-sai, my memories immediately referred to Kyon-Kyon's（小泉今日子）cover of "Gakuen Tengoku"（学園天国）. I don't recall seeing any rock concerts being performed at Waseda when I visited.