19 January 2009

japan, day three

day three was a little slower than the first, and rainy.  a quick stop at 7-11 solved that problem: the best umbrella i've ever had the pleasure of holding.  sturdy, slick, and clear, so i could hold it close and still see where i was walking.  only 500 yen.

next, we stopped at a small japanese cafe for brunch.  inside, the walls were grey, the seats were worn, the music was smooth jazz, and the crowd of eight japanese grandpas chain smoked their cigarettes.  ryan and i enjoyed our eggs and toast on decades old plates.  it crossed my mind that grandpas may well have served in the war.

our first step was the Tokyo Modern Art Museum.  at the entrance, free umbrella storage.  the way it should be.

inside, however, was a disappointment.  there wasn't much in the way of original Japanese modern art, just carbon copies of every major artist of the twentieth century, from Miro to Pollock to the above Picasso.

only at the end of museum did i find anything worthy.  some japanese artist had taken the time to record himself, and a friend, counting out a million years.  "98,452 BC... 98,451 BC... 98,450 BC..."  a little silly, but it was really effective.

i spent the rest of the day in shibuya, which is usually recognized as the downtown area of Tokyo.  it's the first neighborhood Bill Murray visits in Lost in Translation, i hear.


i walked around here for hours, darting in and out of a few stores.  lots of amazing architecture, including one building that looked like a blend of a gothic cathedral and a space station.  peddling disney garbage, if i remember right.  stopped by the bathing ape store, though, mercifully, no fools were wasting their money there.

lonelyplanet recommended a stop by an eight-story hardware-supply store in the neighborhood, as the crown jewel of shibuya.  hardly.  but they did have every last copic marker available.

hours later, and i hadn't found a pair of shoes, a shirt, even some little trinket to waste my money on.

but there was still cool stuff to look at.

especially this.  prius on twenties.  now THAT'S japan.  extra credit for first generation prius.  what's more, we saw another pimped prius, a cherry-red new one, also, rolling on chrome.  wonder how long it might take for this trend to pick up in america...

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