Yoyogi Park on a Sunday
Telephoto lenses are in abundance near Harajuku, wielded not by plane spotters but by cool hunters, snapping the flash in the Nike window and the latest blooms on the bush. A beatboxer serenades the throngs entering the park. Pedestrians at the traffic light assume the order of an ancient battlefield. Both sides line up, eyeing the countdown of red bars until the green man signals the start of the attack. They run towards and through each other, disintegrating on impact. Greasers survey the scene from the safety of their monument-bounded kingdom.
Past the torii, through the bare trees, a girl stalks in white platform heels and a barely-there skirt. The sun has also brought out the vanity photoshoot crowd. The last of the snow, a single hunk, is being molded and poked with a stick by a child in a coverall.
In front of a fountain a performance artist multitasks. He’s wearing a party belt, DJing as he brandishes a spray can and X-Acto knife. A rainbow-colored background is masked by another sheet of paper that he begins to expertly shred. Small scraps he flings in the air like confetti. His performance is broken and accentuated by occasional theatrical bows to the audience as he spins the turntable and changes the beat. Not 50 paces away, time travelers from the 60s strum folk tunes. No one is perturbed and the park maintains its serenity. The ducks go about their business. As the paper stenciling progresses, a fox and rabbit saunter up, a couple in full furry costume. The fox is in a natty suit, the rabbit is straight out of Alice in Wonderland in a checked skirt. Just two Sunday strollers, they join the small crowd. The artist breaks it down. Before the big reveal and the bass drop, a woman begins tap practice, right next to the artist’s amp and easel. Her tempo is her own and it doesn’t seem to matter. With a chant of “are you ready”, the work is unveiled. A silhouette of a woman turning into a butterfly, sliced out of a rainbow. Scrawled next to the figure: “you are beautiful”. The artist accepts tips in a red top hat.
Kites flutter in the distance. The Sunday promenade continues. And the beat goes on.