Tokyo trip: Hanami 2009

Posted on Tue, 26 November 2013


Here's something I wrote for SM Detective back in 2009 after my trip to Japan around the time of the first LFAJRB. It's amazing how far the festival has come in 3 short years.

"It seems an age ago that we were in Japan. Life has been hectic since I came back as I have found myself involved in co-organising the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage. This is going to be totally unique and we are getting international support and contributors. It will promote kinbaku as an artistic inspiration, a performance art in its own right and as a means of erotic communication, whilst sharing knowledge about it and its cultural context. What with that, plus shows, forthcoming trips to Geneva and Barcelona and all the other aspects of trying to make a living in the world of rope, I haven't had a lot of time to write. Anyway, time to rummage through the dusty filing cabinets of my mind and get back to my Japan trip.

We spent the first two days in Kyoto, staying in a huge Japanese style room, doing many of the usual things like wandering through Gion, taking the Philosopher's Walk amongst the budding sakura and getting our long-awaited fix of local food. Our timing was bad in one way, as we just missed, by a few days, the closing party at Visiona Visieri, my friend Dahlia's mistress bar. However, we did drop in while they were finishing the removals. While it's sad to see the bar go, the good news is that Dahlia will now be devoting herself to making her amazing corsets. Electric Fairie was overwhelmed when Dahlia gave her one of her creations as a present, her first proper corset.

At the weekend, we headed for Osaka and got off to a good start with Rik Sanchez's promised outing to Club DC. Shiho, the mama-san, stunning as always, greeted us warmly, flashing her newly acquired vampire teeth. These are in addition to her sub-dermal implants, extensive tattoos and pixie ears! It wasn't long before the drinks were flowing and so was the rope. Shiho put on a wonderful rope show and a couple of the girls got down and messy with a cream cake. By this time EF was itching to get strung up. Obviously, I'm too much of a gentleman to refuse a damsel in distress. I can't have done too bad a job as one of the local girls expressed an interest in being tied by a gaijin for the first time. Thanks to a whispered tip that pussy flogging was her thing, I soon had her in a classic partial suspension with one leg hoisted high and 'access to all areas'. It seemed to hit the spot, as she slid 'nawa yoi' to the floor afterwards and remained there with a dreamy smile for at least 10 minutes. I think I must have managed to 'keep the Union Jack flying' as I was given a beautiful handmade flogger by one member of the audience and bought drinks by another. Japanese people are so warm and generous. It wouldn't happen at home.

It was a long night by the time we staggered back to the hotel, having stopped off for copious gyoza and a few extra beers en route. Whilst in the area, we couldn't miss the chance to visit our friend Midori at Club Doma in Kobe...and EF couldn't wait to play with her again having fond memories of being straight-jacketed by her and fed vodka-Cokes from a baby's bottle. As you can see, it didn't take long before her wish was granted but I guess that's what 'Fairies' are good at?

We stayed in Osaka long enough to catch Osada Steve and Asagi Ageha doing the first of a series of shows at OS Kudo, nominally a 'theatre' but actually a rather seedy backstreet strip joint. We had some misgivings upon seeing the sign outside which read 'OS Nude'. However, we were relieved to discover that 'OS' didn't stand for Osada Steve and we were not to be treated to him throwing off his kit and twirling the nipple tassels! Ageha opened their act doing a vigorous martial arts-inspired dance, soon followed by Steve in classic Hollywood villain mode. In moments, he had her suspended in minimal rope high above the stage and finished with an unusual suspension by one leg with Ageha's calf bound to her thigh. When we got back to Tokyo for my lessons, I insisted he teach me that one. As always, their performance was breathtaking.

Since we were nearly halfway through our stay, it was time to hop on the Nozomi and head for Tokyo. Thanks to Steve's generosity, we stayed at his studio and spent our time catching up with a few old friends including Arisue Go, co-bloggers Kogure and KabukiJoe and Charm of Tokyo Kink Society. As you can see, we also had time to shoot a little with the Studio SIX set whilst we were awaiting Steve's return.

Soon Steve was back and my lessons commenced again. First, a spot of revision on his three-rope takate-kote, as I had forgotten the order of a few of the 60-plus steps and needed a little fine tuning on technique. I was most gratified that he seemed to like my newaza, but it does help a lot working with a partner like EF. However, he showed me a wealth of little tricks and nuances but, most importantly, how less can be more when it comes to rope. Anyway, his tuition seems to be showing dividends as he recently told me that I had progressed from being a smart Alec who was 'unteachable, to teachable, to not teachable any more', congratulating me as I now knew how to tie. Smug? That's not the word! Although, careful not to become complacent; in this game, the day you stop learning is the day they bury you."