In Tokyo, one of my favourite areas is Omotesando/Harajuku, a cool, eclectic and contemporary part of the city. High end boutiques and designer stores line the streets of Omotesando, and for those who are not wildly rich like myself, it is nice to simply stroll through the area, lusting after the bags and shoes on display in the magnificently built stores.
However, this is not what I enjoy most about the area, it is the connection between Harajuku and Omotesando at the top of the street that I love. The hustle and bustle of people from all walks of life, crossing the intersection before finally entering Yoyogi park. Many who travel to Tokyo will come here to visit the Meji-Jingumae shrine and to photograph young japanese people dressed in cosplay.
While the shrine is not to be missed (it really is beautiful), Yoyogi park, next to the shrine, is the ultimate pitstop. It is a vast green space filled with many amenities and the host of spectacular festivals every year. You almost forget that you are in a huge metropolis when there; dog walkers, picnic areas, joggers, frisbee players, break-dancers, illuminating fountains, and cyclists are dotted all over the park.
Without a doubt though, my favourite thing about the park is the street entertainment. Not so long ago I heard about the infamous ‘Elvis Dancers’ and I have been on a mission to find them ever since. That’s right, ‘The Elvis Dancers’. They are rarely mentioned in guidebooks or on travel websites but as soon as I heard about them from Japanese friends, I had to check it out. I failed three times in my attempts, by being late and not finding the right spot. But finally on an unplanned trip to the park, they were there.
‘The Elvis Dancers’
as I like to call them, are a group of middle aged men and women who congregate to the park every Sunday in their leather pants, greased hair and sound system. Without any warning, they ‘groove’ and ‘jive’ to elvis hits much to the amusement of their spectators. And boy can these greasers dance. It was a lot of fun. I have tried and failed to find out how and why this all started, but to be honest, I don’t need to know. I just love the spontaneity of it, the fun it brings and how different it is.
Have you ever seen ‘The Elvis Dancers’? Do you know anything about their history?