The Hotel Royal haikyo is the grand-daddy of all love hotels, streaking 7 empty stories up into the big blue sky, a giant vermillion flag on the lakeshore calling out to all and sundry in a mega-watt alto- ‘Need some discreet time alone with your loved one? Come on down!’
The people in the walls are an infestation. They crowd around the living room in their inch-thin insulation space and watch me while I go about my life. Some of them have drilled peep-holes. I cover the holes with paintings I paint myself, and vases full of flowers which they sometimes steal and eat. I paint paintings of the people in the walls. I suppose they look a little bit like aliens. They have big and flat grey heads an inch thick. They look a lot like stick men. They are normally smiling stick-thin smiles, which creeps me out. I hang the paintings of the people in the walls over the holes in the walls the people hide behind. I …
Barry Eisler is the author of the world-wide bestselling John Rain hit-man series, now 6 books in total, translated into 20 languages, winner of multiple awards and plaudits. He was in town this past week for a sneak preview of the movie made from his first book- ‘Rain Fall’- to which he’d invited his Tokyo fans via his website. I found out about the preview the day before and just managed to snag a seat in the screening room, in the process briefly meeting the man himself: Me and Barry Eisler.
The Sofitel Hotel once stood on the Ueno park skyline like a bizarrely massive chest of drawers, at once a paean to modern design aesthetics and traditional Shinto values. It was demolished in December 2006 after only 12 years of offering 83 4-star rooms in central Tokyo, leaving a weirdly-shaped gap on the city-scape viewed from Shinobazu pond. Like the cherry blossoms that frame so many shots of the Sofitel, it was only a temporary beauty, one that serves to remind us of the short time we`re here, and how any one of us can be called away at any moment. The Sofitel and Cherry Blossoms. Thanks to sevargmt for this image.
At the meeting point of the painfully fashionable Omotesando street and the city-looping Yamanote train line, triangulated between Harajuku`s ultra-hip boutique fashion zone Takeshita street, the soaring lines of Kenzo Tange`s 1964 Olympic Gymnasium, and the giant red tori gate at the entrance to the 88 year old Meiji Jingu shrine, you`ll find the Harajuku cosplayers. `Cosplay` is a Japanese popularization of a common concept: costume play. In other cultures such dressing-up has traditionally been reserved for Halloween parties, college toga parties, and masque balls. In Japan, cosplay is perennial- on the bridge outside Meiji Jingu they can be found ever Sunday come rain or shine.
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