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Playing with words and rolling the terminal roof in Yokohama. / 17 September 2014


Yokohama is also a familiar destination, the annual visit to its Chinatown being a regular enticement. Sadly this year our favourite dim sum restaurant has closed. Friends choosing the alternative venue are carnivores and simply don't understand eating without meat. But one of them has spent time in a wheelchair and has an understanding of access requirements.

Shopping for strange Chinese goods is part of the deal, browsing the two main, crowded streets, is fascinating and as usual the weather is sunny and warm. And since I didn't get much to eat at lunchtime there is plenty of room for one of the massive fruit and ice Chinese versions of ice-cream. After that we make our way towards the harbour and Yokohama's International Port Terminal.
Rolling it's creatively angled roof, 'paddling' my feet in its forbidden grass and taking in the view, it is also possible to enjoy the atmosphere of the concert happening in the vast hanger-like hall beneath me.
This ferry terminal, built on an existing pier, juts out into the sea and people lie about on the roof that is also a floor, sunbathing in the warm sea breeze.
It is also a poplar venue for regular concerts and festivals.
There are always visible people in wheelchairs in Yokohama and there are other disabled people too. On the terminal roof/floor a group of guys are running. They are paired up, half of them, being blind or with impaired vision, are joined by wrist-tapes to seeing partners.

We follow the coastline around to the large shopping centre to buy bread in one of the Japanese international bread shops where the food on offer seems to me to be an edible interpretation of the scrambled international words used freely for business names, goods and slogans on t-shirts.
I recognised the one that the Danes call Viennese Bread, the English call Danish Pastry and the Japanese call French Bread and wonder what it's called in Vienna.
I choose a Japanese Tea bread, made with Japanese green tea (and looking much like a green rock cake) and a potato cake which looks like a Danish pastry filled with diced sweet potato.
The potato cake later proves to be a slight disappointment; unlike some purple potato ice-cream which was delicious.
As for t-shirt slogans, I fantasise about writing a book based entirely on the sentences on offer.
'One OK Rock. It's a mighty long fall at Yokohama Stadium', proves to be a promo slogan for a One OK Rock concert over two days (13 and 14 September 2014) at the arena where they have previously had sell-out concert for 24,000 fans.
Other slogans are plucked from very thin air.


As a child I swore carefully, knowing
that naughty sounds in one language were not
at all bad in another. Knowing that
words carry the baggage of the hearing;
the listening brain marries ideas
according to its own personal paths
of experience. I experienced
glee in the manipulation of sound
incomprehensible to anyone
without my own unique circumstances;
in the pleating and folding of phrases
to create audible origami;
in cutting and pasting sound in my brain
for a language requiring the skills of
multicultural imagination; and I
requiring no more than creative
understanding and reciprocal glee,
enjoyed the best form of communication.