Ding Dong In Tokyo   Leave a comment

I’m standing behind two Japanese girls I met hours before. The venue is Ageha, the largest club in Japan, and I’m by the stage. Behing me are hundreds of people, all cheering for the main event: Reggae superstar and dancer, Ding Dong. It was only two weeks ago, that my roommate, Von, told me about the event.

“You hear Ding Dong coming to Tokyo?” he had said.

No, I had replied, not really caring about it. At the time I didn’t realize how special it was to be a Jamaican in Japan and see a reggae performance, until that night. Ageha is a twenty minute bus ride from Shibuya in a place in Tokyo called Shin-Kiba. That night every floor was packed. Hip-hop music, house, reggae and whatever else that tickles the imagination was playing. My company was a pack of four. Myself, Von, Big A and Ed. This was my second time to Ageha, and my most memorable. After sipping a free drink courtesy of a complimentary drink ticket, I headed to the dance floor to get friendly with a few females. Only moments after dancing with a girl did I realize that the show was about to begin, and that I was directly in front of the main stage.

When the lights dimmed, a voice barked. “Tokyo! Are you read to see…. DING DONG??” the crowd roared an unitelligible reply. The voice was that of famous music video director, J-Will, a.k.a “Game Over”. He shouted the question once more, to much noise and fanfare. Then, a stream of dancers, all Japanese blasted out from backstage. They were highly coordinated, dressed in wild psychedelic colors, and then behind them, Ding Dong, tall and dressed in a black leather outfit emerged. Japanese girls and guys screamed as he came out, screaming his name.

The song “Dip Again” was playing, and the entire group did a performance that gave me goosebumps. It wasn’t so much the dancing; I had seen (and personally done) such dances before. It was the thrill of the moment, to know that Ding Dong, a person from extremely humble beginnings had found his way to the far East, using raw talent and massive self-promotional skills. I felt proud to be a Jamaican, and as he shouted “Where my Jamaicans?!” I shouted and raised my hand in the air. He came over to where I was, giving me a heavy fist and a smile. Behind me, a Japanese girl shoved me roughly aside, trying to climb over the security barrier to touch the star.

Ding Dong’s performance went from hit to hit, and I was surprised to see just how many hit songs he had. Many of the songs I had been dancing to at parties, unaware that he was on the track. J-Will was his hype man, dancing along with him as they did daggering routines with sexy Japanese dancers. I had met J-Will earlier for a brief moment, and when he saw me from the stage he said:

“Biggup Marcus!”

Your culture in another country is quite fascinating, and there isn’t much I can say to describe the moment and the mood. In a crowd of several hundred people, possibly only ten were Jamaican. There I was, in Tokyo, so far from the beaches and warm weather of Jamaica, watching Ding Dong live. Later, I would enjoy myself by hopping in front of a camera J-Will brought for Hype TV doing synchronized dances with Japanese dancehall dancers. I didnt’ get to meet Ding Dong in person, but seeing the show was more than enough.

To di world.

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