This weekend, in addition to getting extremely lost on the S-Bahn
I also came across a people pyramid.
This pyramid, constructed entirely out of boxes of beer, encouraged the visitor to open said boxes and have a drink. The Catch 22 is that the more you drink, the more you compromise the structural integrity of the form. Seems like a worthwhile risk for some free beer.
In terms of size, scale, and proportion to the surrounding room,
the installation also reminded a lot of Kailasa, the most sublime of the Ellora Caves in India.
But I probably just have a soft spot for pyramids...And people watching.
Before my untimely departure from Japan, I had the chance to visit Yokohama and see the lauded Port Terminal by FOA. Hammered into me from the first days of architecture school as the pinnacle of single surface design and adopted and cited by almost all of my classmates and professors alike through case study homages and project references, my response to the Port Authority has always been one of....well let's say suspicion. With Sylvia Lavin (uh oh, I hope I don't get in trouble!) waxing poetic about image and readability and what a genius Alejandro Zaera-Polo is, I continually failed to see what all the fuss was about. Now after having visited the project, with my suspicions affirmed, I am left with a series of questions:
Has any one ever actually visited this place?
Does this really look like a Hokusai wave to you?
(Don't you see more of sleepy sting ray?)
Who was in charge of this detailing?
And have we really reached the point where we have to grasp for gratuitous
design moves to maintain interest?
(or does this crooked water fountain add to the greater composition?)
While there are a few interesting moments within the project
The overall design feels quite awkward
and many of the spaces and details defy proper use and integration by the public
Flags and bulletin boards?! Yes, such is the harsh reality of the icon.
On another note...
directly across from the Port Terminal is a very amusing building
that looks like an orange slice:
And on the drive back to Tokyo
make sure to check out this very Soviet looking factory.
Filosofia has arrived safely back in Berlin after an arduous and exhausting week.
And although we are back and out of harm's way, we miss Japan.
Given all of the darkness, grief, and tragedy surrounding the country at this time,
I would like to keep things a little lighter today and share with you some of the most inspired Japanese translations from our local bakery in Azabu Juban. We could all use a smile right now.
Due to current uncertainty looming over the entire country, I will be leaving Japan tomorrow.
Filosofia and company evacuated from Tokyo on Saturday and are now staying in Osaka, about a 7 hour drive from Tokyo.
This is the view from my window
In spite of scrambling out of Tokyo with just a shirt or two and the shoes on my feet and leaving the rest behind, I do realize how lucky I am, and that in terms of being a refugee, I am a very privileged one. And though I am grateful, this has been an exhausting, frustrating, and sad time full of misinformation and countless worry. The decisions to leave Tokyo and now Japan entirely have not been easy ones, and in a lot of ways feel somewhat preemptive, though considering the threats of impending radiation leakages, perhaps preemptive is good.
And yet, in spite of the fear and the uncertainty, Osaka thus far seems very unaffected. Girls are still wearing their crippling high heels and the malls are still packed. Such mix-messages have only added to the overall sense of confusion and surrealism of what has been happening.
Fleeing an invisible threat, a threat that in some ways was always expected, has raced me across the country, leaving me with a cacophony of glimpses of what I'll be missing flashing past the car window.
But in the midst of the chaos, there are sweet moments...
and displaced dogs in need of company.
So for now, I say goodbye to Tokyo...
Sincerely hoping it won't be too long until we see each other again.
Filosofia and company are thankfully safe and sound following the earthquake. Kudos to the incredibly brilliant Japanese engineers that kept Tokyo structurally intact during the largest seismic event of our time.