I want the Hello Kitty credit card so much. The Bank of America website claims it is for: “Friends of Hello Kitty who want a rewards credit card.” With this offer you also receive a FREE* Exclusive Hello Kitty Business Card Holder!. They used to offer the Hello Kitty sequined change purse, which is totally more kawaii, but I’ll live.
Today I walked my old ‘hood, Omotesando. In some ways Tokyo seems exactly the same as when I left it. Then there are the jarring reminders that time has past, such as substantial additions and deletions to the landscape.
In Japan buildings are fashion items: built just to be torn down in a few years and replaced with something new. My local Kinokuniya international supermarket has been replaced with a parking lot and moved to a new location down Aoyama dori. There is the new, very cool Tod’s flagship store on Omotesando (see some great photos of the Tod’s store from Jean Snow on MOCO Tokyo).
At Kiddyland, a children’s toy store, manga “girl’s briefs.”
Below is some of the signable I saw at Roppongi Hills:
Combustibles, recyclables, non-burnables
It wouldn’t be Japan if there were not signs to tell you what you are not allowed to do.
No smoking, no photography, no beverages
View of the Link Link photo wall gallery covering the construction barriers of the Dojunkai Aoyama apartments. Jeansnow has a great photo of the Link Link exhibit here.
I simply cannot look at a boston terrier the same way again after seeing this (Quicktime required).
Last week, a friend from home was in town and we visited Roppongi Hills, the complex I have watched construction of from my window for the last two years. As we walked through the “zen garden” my visitor remarked, “the highway is only 5 feet away, it’s loud, how relaxing is that?” Which, I think, pretty much sums up all of Japan. Recently I joked with a friend about searching for that single spot in Japan that not one power line, car, slab of concrete, or shack of rusting, corrugated steel is visible from any direction.
Jean Snow has some interesting dialog on Roppongi Hills here and here as well as some interesting photos.
Demolition has begun on the Dojunkai Aoyama apartments, beautiful old buildings mostly vacant, lining a stretch of Omotesando. The Japanese abhor anything old; old, slightly decrepit, and beautiful is even worse. Down it goes to be replaced by some glass box with 6 floors underground.
Jean Snow has a lovely photo of the apartments on his site.
A beautiful old house in my neighborhood. I won’t, however, show you the building next to it, which is a monstrosity, nor the one next to that, nor the next one, nor the one after that…
Someone told me the difference between New York City and Tokyo is that in New York beauty is found at the macro level, but just don’t look too closely at the grubby corners; in Tokyo beauty is found at the micro level, up close, but you have to ignore everything around it. (In my opinion, this fits nicely with the Japanese approach to industrial design: each tiny little part of a product seems well designed, but the composite is often weak, e.g. cars.)
One oasis of beauty in Tokyo is the Nezu Museum. The museum itself is small and only occasionally has an exhibition really worth seeing, however, the grounds are a sea of tranquility with a pond, small tea house, and meandering footpaths.
Some days for me Tokyo is so soul-wrenchingly ugly.
For example, this is what I passed on the way to Hama-rikyu Gardens.
Most days, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s official. Hanami (blossom viewing) season, an age old tradition, is in full force. In perfect pack animal form the Japanese ascend on parks to “view and contemplate the cherry blossom” which really is just another excuse to drink copious amounts of sake. The main blossom viewing site happens to be Aoyama Cemetery which is just steps from my apartment.