Monday, February 27, 2012

LGBT Tokyo: Twice the Pride in 2012

After going two years without a Pride Parade in Tokyo, organizers are happy to announce that 2012 will be a wonderful year of celebrating LGBT pride. This year, there are currently two gay pride parades set to march around Tokyo's busiest metropolitan streets.

The 1st Annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP), scheduled for Sunday, April 29th, 2012 begins the festivities at 11am, while the Parade starts at 2:30pm and ends at 4:30pm. Since the event is scheduled during "Golden Weekend", we can not only enjoy the perfect weather that Tokyo has to offer during this season, but we can also enjoy the national holiday on the following day. TRP will be held at Yoyogi Park Event State area, and the planned pride route is as follows: Yoyogi Park Event Plaza→Keyaki Namiki Avenue→Kōen Dōri Street→Shibuya→Meiji Dōri Street→Harajyuku→Harajuku Station→Yoyogi Park Harajuku Entrance (about 3.5 km)

The Tokyo Rainbow Pride event has a different set of organizers than the original Tokyo Pride, which usually takes place in mid-August. This group of younger generation organizers came together in May 2011 to plan a pride parade for 2012. In 2011, this group contacted the Tokyo Pride organizers to ask whether there was an event going to be planned for 2012. Since a definite answer could not be given at that time, this genki group went ahead with their plan to make sure that Tokyo has a Rainbow Pride Parade for the year 2012. The original Tokyo Pride has been sporadically planned throughout the years, so one of TRP's main goals is to plan a sustainable event that can be planned annually in Tokyo, thereby making it easier to keep in contact with sponsors, and increase numbers of attendants. By planning almost monthly "Countdown Parties", the group has a chance to meet often throughout the year, as well as raise funds all year long.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride's grassroots philosophy focuses on the celebration of diversity and sexual minorities which includes all the spectrum of the LGBTQ rainbow. In order to increase sustainability, they have tried to cut costs and focus on the collective power of the community. Since they are still a new group, they are seeking supporters. If you take the time to meet some of these organizers, you will find that they are friendly, accepting and open to the ideas of all facets of the community. Since welcoming our international AJET Stonewall group to help volunteer with the parade, the organizers have been quite easy to work with and open to new ideas.
This type of organization will be a positive new force in the LGBT community.

Of course, Stonewall will support all LGBT events happening in Japan, and will seek to help Tokyo Pride with volunteering closer to the date, August 11th, 2012.

Please stay tuned to this post regarding updated information, such as after-parties. There are rumors that organizers are trying to organize with Ageha to hold a mixed after-party, to go along with "diverse" atmosphere of the parade.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stonewall Block 3, LGBT Events around Tokyo, February Edition

Happy {Belated} Valentines Day, L0ves.

It's Toby Siguenza here again, and hoping you're having a good Thursday.

Here's your monthly dose of Tokyo related news about upcoming events.

ELECTIONS: The success and participation in Stonewall definitely depends on whether we have enough passionate leaders and members in our community. Please consider running for a position, getting more involved, or at least voting when this time comes in March. We really need you!
The deadline for nominations are March 3rd.

"Hey there, Spring, baby!" Event-o
In March, there's a big event at AGEHA, called Shangri LA (more details below), which though is primarily gay men, does also have a women's and straight crowd. The date of this event might match up well with Cherry Blossoms' beginnings in Tokyo. [depending on the weather]

So I thought it'd be nice to make a BLOCK 3 event to perhaps have some dinner, go out dancing at a club that has shuttle buses in NICHOME and SHIBUYA, and the next day chill-out, nap, or whatever in beautiful Shinjuku park under some cherry blossoms. This would be a nice type of event where you could invite your JET friends too, to come out and party with the gays, and meet up with your fellow Stonewallers. These kind of club nights have been really nice in the past.

Would anybody be interested? If so, let me know, and I'll make an event page on Facebook.

Those of us who live relatively close to Tokyo have a great opportunity for getting to know the local community outside of the bar and club scene.
One of the ways is to volunteer for Tokyo Pride. It's not hard at all to do. Depending on your schedule, and what you're good at, there are many ways to help.

Mr. Inui, the English-speaking organizer who I'm working with, is very nice and has given us a list of a variety of ways that we can help out. Why not take a look and
see if there's something you'd be interested in doing.
------Do translations of various documetns to other languages, especially Korean, Chinese, French
------Make a List of media which people from other countries frequently read.
-----Make contact with Sponsors from the embassies of your countries
-----Spread the word about the parade in any way possible
-----Introduce us someone who works for foreign companies that has outlet in Japan (to ask for sponsors)
-----Participating in parade with gorgeous float
-----Volunteers for the day of the parade
------Report on your country's status on LGBT movement and parade.
(this report will be put on TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE website)
-----Web designs and engineers who has knowledge of WordPress
-----Putting flyers in every possible places like bars and restaurants.

April 4th: New Half Day
Part way between Hina Matsuri and Children's Day (traditionally girls' and boys' festivals), New Half Day is a day where the Japanese queer community acknowledges its trans and genderqueer identified members.

Stonewall Event: Gay Golden Week
Golden Week happens in late April/Early May and is composed of a bunch of holidays in a row. This year, it's broken into 2 renkyuus (3 day weekend). April 28th, 29th, 30th and May 3rd, 4th, 5th.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2012 will be on Sunday, April 29th. There are more details on the Facebook event page, and we will update you with details on pre and after-parties as we approach the date. Save the Date. We are looking into organizing a Stonewall meetup picnic either before or after the March in Yoyogi park. Also, perhaps a dinner the night before on Saturday.
If you'd like to volunteer to help out, please respond to this email. THere's also a Facebook page

The next weekend will be Dyke Weekend 2012 (DWE). Please sign up soon if you're interested. There is also a Facebook event page. You can email to reserve your space.

Upcoming Men's Events

Tokyo Underground's UNDERNIGHT [Men only]
The theme is wearing undies. Sounds super hot, boys!
MARCH 19th,
HERE: @ Live House FNV(ライヴハウス FNV)
東京都新宿区新宿5-4-1 新宿Qフラットビル 01 (B1F)

FEB 24th----MEN's SUITS Party
Check out ARCH's event page to see what's going on.
Usually, ARCH is a men's event club [sometimes there are womens events]
Just take a look at their schedule to see when there's a party that you'd be interested in
There's so many different themes!
Here's the address to ARCH
新宿区新宿2-14-6 第2早川屋ビルB1

Women's Events
Feb. 18th

Diamond Cutter March 2nd; Girls White Day Party

Eros March 3rd

Grand Panache 2/25: Confession

Club Night/Mixed

On March 24th Ageha's Gay Party (Mostly Guys, but Mixed Crowd)
Shuttles from Nichome, and to afterparty!!!
@ageHa, TOKYO (東京/新木場)
2012/03/24 (SAT. NIGHT)

For Men
Mango Mango

Tokyo LGBT Supported Cafes & Eateries outside of Nichome

Do you miss your favorite gay cafe from home? Well, there are a few around Tokyo where you can go. Newscafe is in located in Jiyugaoka, a cute shopping area around Meguro, Tokyo on the Tokyu Toyoko line/Oimachi Line/Ikegami Line. It's a wonderful choice for American style brunch. Also, for some low-key cafe action, Gossip is a nice gay-friendly place to go as well. Las Chicas is easy to get to from Harajuku and Omotesando. It has outdoor seating, and an eclectic atmosphere. And a men only bar/restaurant up on Love Hotel hill (Shibuya's Dogenzaka) called Shibuya 246

Beats Starbucks, don't you think?


Stonewall meet-up for the Naked Man festival in Okayama
18th February 2012 (Sat)
This used to be a national Stonewall event, but people stopped organising it after 2009.
I don't think there are any 'gay' events/parties in Okayama on this day, but it's a big festival that lots of people want to see anyway, and they used it as a chance to meet up in the past.
I’m planning to sort out details over the next week or so.
The festival itself is in Saidaiji (accessible by train or going with Okayama AJET on the bus and they'll get you seats). I’ve already seen club nights planned in the city afterwards (at Matador), I don’t think there’s any specific LGBT events though.
They will drop the ‘sticks’ at 10pm, and the last trains back to the city are around 11.30ish, or if you're going by bus with Okayama AJET you'll get dropped off back in the city after the event.
The options if you’re coming from far away are:
1) Stay in a hotel after the event, or 2) Stay out until the first trains/shinkansen as a group at a club/karaoke/internet café.

The event is on facebook now with all the info you need:

March 10th (Saturday) at 6 pm: All-Block Nagoya meetup! For real!
Let's meet each other! My plan is to meet up under the clock at Nagoya station and then start with dinner at either QUEER+s (a restaurant/lounge) or Sukhonta, an amazing Thai place in Sakae. I want to book reservations at least three weeks in advance, soplease RSVP by email or facebook by February 12th. If you have dietary restrictions, please let me know about them too.
After dinner, we can go to the METRO, which will be a queer dance club that night. It's one of the few big events that's not gender or kei (type) segregated in Nagoya. After that, we can wander about the gay district and go our own ways.
As for lodging, there are Toyoko Inns and other budget hotels strewn all about Sakae. These book up fast, so here's a link to Toyoko. There are also several hostels in Nagoya. Since people probably have a range of ambitions concerning the bars, I'd like to leave lodging as an everyone for themselves arrangement.

That's it for now. Have a good day!


Toby Siguenza