my last week’s tokyo trip had some fun occasions other than attending the wedding: a reunion with my old tokyo friends and an update on what my daughter was up to, thanks to jason, who had offered me and masaco, my girlfriend, his guest room for our new york trip last year. he is now working for the american embassy in tokyo so that i could stay with him and his partner, ivo. the huge compound for american diplomats is located in a quiet residential neighbourhood, 赤坂 akasaka. it’s within walking distance from trendy 六本木 roppongi where narrow streets are crammed with night clubs and various eateries.
my friends and i gathered over “cantonese peking duck” (!!) at a “szechuan restaurant” on monday evening in 六本木 roppongi. actually, 六本木 roppongi had never been my haunt when i lived in tokyo. but this time, i liked it there for the first time ever because of jason’s place and tokyo midtown, a redevelopment area with a new commercial complex and new art museums. i visited there with masaco and jun-chan on tuesday. here are snapshots of shops and architecture in the area.
to begin with, i’d like to show you 21_21 design site designed by 安藤忠雄 tadao ando. it was raining cats and dogs. besides, it was closed. so i went back there the next day with shion, my daughter, and managed to take a pic beneath the fleckless blue sky as above.
i hated the rain, but still loved viewing the superb contrast of concrete and autumn leaves of shrubbery in the rain. i took my hat off to “the wizard of concrete” (i personally call 安藤 ando so) for that. i think the best part of tokyo midtown is lovely gardens laid out in the site.
国立新美術館 nact (the national art centre tokyo) is a stone’s throw from the complex. it was also closed. so i revisited there too the next day. back in tokyo midtown, i enjoyed browsing through the mall with fewer shoppers than other bustling areas like 渋谷 shibuya.
i got jealous of tokyoites, because the displays of muji shop in galleria were far more exquisite than my local muji shops. i’ve been a muji user since its launch in 1980 and written articles about london muji shops for exclusive muji magazines. i could not but feel tempted to buy something.
christmas decorations are seen here and there in tokyo midtown! i found snow flakes made of 美濃和紙 mino-washi (japanese paper) at 虎屋 toraya quite pretty. the confectionery holds at times a small exhibition within the shop, featuring japanese paper crafts this time.
虎屋 toraya is famous for its quality, artisanry and aesthetic. for sure, it doesn’t come cheap, though you can find its branches overseas, like we have a branch of dean & deluca across the aisle from 虎屋 toraya. the white paper decoration in the atrium is also made of 美濃和紙 mino-washi.
lastly, i should not forget about the tokyo tower, the most popular landmark of tokyo. well, it was supposed to be a fantastical cityscape of my tokyo rainy night. unfortunately, it turned out to be a total blur. i didn’t realise something was wrong with my camera. shame.