rachelmanija: (Default)
( Mar. 19th, 2012 04:33 pm)
It's been raining off and on. At the temple, which is full of pine trees, each needle pierces a water drop, which hangs from its tip like a jewel. Last night I came back late. The complex is lit, but the lights are far apart, and the shadows seemed piled up on the ground. The sky was covered in clouds, and reflected in the green water of a pond, the trees were black silhouettes against a dim, no-color sky.

Tonight, I saw the most amazing example of synchronicity.

The other day we went to the Colori Cafe, Kyoto's only lesbian cafe. It has a rainbow gay pride flag hanging outside, though not many people in Kyoto know what it symbolizes, and hosts "L Nights," where queer women come to party and watch "The L-Word." We met with the owner, Yossy, and two of her friends, an academic who did her thesis on queer film and a young woman who publishes a lesbian zine. Yossy closed down her cafe so we could take it over for a few hours. We all ordered drinks - I had a delicious green tea latte, and accidentally spilled another one all over one of the Antioch students - watched a documentary on Yossy and the Colori Cafe, and discussed the state of LGBTQ activism in Japan.

I really liked all three women, and it was a great conversation. They said that it's difficult to form a lesbian community, because everything is very closeted and underground. In Tokyo, there's a gay area (Ni-Chome) but that exists because Tokyo is so big, and it's only after hours - bars and restaurants and so forth. Yossy's cafe is the only one of its kind in Kyoto. The women started discussing a Kyoto lesbian bar they'd all heard of, but they'd all individually visited it and found it closed. "Maybe it was never open," one mused.

I was very moved by their courage and community. Also, they were all very cool people.

One of the Antioch people asked Yossy where she got her strength from, and she replied that she'd opened the Colori Cafe because she wanted to have friends, and now she had so many of them. Also, she added, "If I don't have fun, I don't want to do it."

I was reminded of Emma Goldman's remark, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

Tonight, after a wonderful presentation and talk by a Japanese Jungian analyst, we all went to an izakaya (pub) for sake and dinner. Who should we see on the way but Yossy! Kyoto is a big city, and her cafe is way on the other side of town. And yet.

We asked her if she'd come have dinner with us, and she did! One of the other students, who is a foodie like me, and I split a large hot sake, stewed beef with green onions and mustard, potato salad (it's deliciously tangy and refreshing in Japan), and hot mashed potato cheese balls, octopus balls. We asked for the rare beef, but it was sold out. After we'd already eaten everything else, we were still waiting for the beef, having forgotten that it was unavailable. Then we remembered that it was sold out, and ordered pork with kimchi. We ate and drank and talked the night away. It was a magical evening - exactly the sort of thing you hope to have happen when you travel.

http://www.eatdrink-kyoto.com/colori-caffe-kyoto.php (Yossy's cafe.)
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