Roppongi musings / 19 September 2014
Another revisit, this time to the little restaurant in Roppongi that sells sushi and sashimi to make my mouth water.
I have a bowl of rice with a selection of raw fish on top, not the most expensive item on the menu, but one that allows me to dream. And have I mentioned the wasabi? I would eat like this regularly.
This is my first midday visit and the atmosphere is a little more subdued. At the next table I hear a Swede talking about working for the government, saying he has never had such a short, relaxed, working week. He simply cannot be talking about Tokyo!
Roppongi has a lot of foreign workers, mostly American, who flock together trying to sound Japanese-savvy.
The restaurant is reached via a patched and uneven pavement and the side streets dip sharply downhill; not the most accessible for my skinny-wheeled Japanese chair. I wonder how much my impression of accessibility has to do with not actually living here, not needing to do regular stuff like working, meeting up with ambulant people or accessing healthcare.
Whilst in Roppongi I check out Roppongi Hills. This tower of offices, shops and restaurants is coloured by foreigners' taste for 'ordinary Japanese' and packed with designer items and weirdly inessential nic-nacs. Some of the shops were closed for refurbishing last year, so I'm keen to see the latest incarnation.
I'm not that impressed. The shop with the wide, accessible entrance where everything happens a level up, reached only via a short and 'impressive' flight of marble steps, remains totally inaccessible. The rest appear almost unchanged.
Passing the SoftBank store I notice that queues for ordering iPhone 6 have calmed down. There is one of the robots I saw previously (at the open day at Aoyama Gakuin University), greeting customers at the door. An American is attempting to interact with it.
There are two flower shops to check out in this area. Windmills are the current fad; hand-held or larger. The small ones decorate pot plants, the larger ones remind me of my to-scale Danish flagpole, being a metre or two high. They are all brightly coloured in complex wind-catching designs from abstract to 3D insect. I imagine taking one on the plane.
Rewind: I imagine transporting my home here, my own little patch between skyscrapers.
Looking creatively at my mobility needs
I do frequently imagine a mobile home could
be the happy response to frustration. I'd follow
the sun, and travel the circuit of my heart, from
East and South to West and North, with flippant detours;
packing my home in my pocket for trains, boats and planes.
Don't know when I'll be back again, and babe, don't let me go.
There is a nomad in whatever passes for my soul;
the restlessness of the river, the tidal to-ing and
fro-ing of Sumida, with love and warmth pulling at me
like a moon; from one recognition to another
and returning, always returning, heartsick with longing.