Spanish chocolate and the price of melons / 21 April 2011
For the first time
when I look out on
the river, Sumida
All is quiet. And
somehow we are
produces it's own
sense of anticipation.
I awake to this erie quiet and a sense of waiting for something. I remember the chrysanthemum wall from yesterday with the artist claiming to find reality in the disappearing edges of things and I reflect on the aching sadness of untimely endings.
Today I'm going to Marunouchi; a roll through the sunny city streets to explore skyscraper worlds and the big name shops found on the Hibiya side of Tokyo station.
This is a very western world and could be almost anywhere; although the use of what appears at ground level to be large office blocks with uniformed security, for multi-level shopping and restaurants, does seem particularly Japanese.
Armani, Dior, Gucci, Bvlgari: they look the same the world over, but here each has a whole skyscraper or two, to it's name. In one of the skyscraper worlds devoted to smaller shops and department stores I seek out the Japanese. Apart from Ladies' Formal Wear, I am not that successful.
The formal wear seems to frequently consist of a straight skirt, with an attached top made of lining material; a simple round-necked top fastening at the back, to be worn with it and a jacket with some cutting detail, to be worn over that. It is always plain black and probably a fine woven wool.
The food halls are fascinating and here I enjoy all the hustle and bustle, unlike in England.
The big surprise is the price of melons, I see a medium sized honeydew melon with a price tag of 12,500¥. I think 1000¥ is currently around £7. The quantity and variety of strawberry cakes makes my mouth water. There is one decorated with the words: Happy Birthday.
I find beautiful flower shops and even one with the Latin names of plants so I can identify a specimen I covet, and had jokingly threatened to hide in my luggage. Now I can order it online.
I also stumble upon Sampaka, a Spanish chocolatier that I tried unsuccessfully to find in Barcelona. I just have to sample a chocolate ice-cream in a chocolate flavoured waifer!
I dawdle about in all this splendour and get thoroughly lost. SP meets me in the underground shopping area and we go in search of dinner.
The day has two biggish earthquakes, at 6 and 6.1 and only forty miles away, they are the scariest I've experienced yet.