Distractions on my way to the Imperial Palace. / 15 September 2014
The day after the torrential downpour dawns with blue skies and sunshine. Tempting fate I plan to head in the direction of the Imperial Palace to find the National Museum of Modern Art.
On all previous attempts it has rained and I've turned back because it has been serious rain, rather like that we've experienced recently...
Today the sky is clear and the temperature comfortably in the high twenties.
Heading out I take a small detour - spotting a wonderful small building for my photo collection. And manoeuvring into place to get a better shot I see another tucked behind it. One thing leads to another and I get a bit lost, but there are enough familiar landmarks, or should I say skymarks to find my way down to the river. The familiar Sumida.
The level has gone down around 40 cms, but there are still waves. I pause in the sun enjoying the warmth and the smell of the sea. A loud intrusion on the water proves to be a small speedboat with two guys pushing it as fast as it will go. Riding the turbulence of its wake another male in black, with Japanese pony-tale, standing on a bucking water scooter, laughs and shouts his way down the river. He looks like a martial arts cartoon and I feel like I'm in a comic book.
Progress towards the Imperial Palace gardens is slow, there are a lot of people about and I enjoy people-watching. For a while I roll behind a group of nattering young men in pin-stripe trousers, white short-sleeved shirts, scuffing along in black slip-on shoes that from the front look like the regular dress-code item.
I stop for wonderful chocolate ice cream at Sampaka, the famous Spanish chocolate purveyors and then head over the road for the long approach to the gardens.
Only to discover a gang of men in environment suits digging up plants and turning over stones. Large notices warn of the danger of mosquitoes. Out of curiosity I try the entrance further down and find coned-off areas and more large illustrations of mosquitoes with warning notices.
I've been bitten enough and I don't want to temp fate, or dengue fever, so I turn back. Again.
I sit awhile in the dappled shade of the tiny Marunouchi Brick Square and watch artists sketch it's attractive greenery, statues and the display outside Pass the Baton, where vintage Louis Vuitton vies with the battered toy pony, a small, delicate tree and some old cookware.
Henry Moore's sitting woman catches the sun and gleams.
I love the warmth of Japan in summer and autumn,
the added bonus of heat to ease the live-with pain;
a blessing to maximise the freedoms of access;
to melt away the walls of restriction, the walls of
an English disease that threatens my life and my health
with an unfair share of austerity; designed to
induce conformity, passivity, designed to
ignore the individual into non-existence.
Disease of a tired, exhausted, dead-end nation
attempting to cut off (costly?) diversity?
And I swop it for earthquake, typhoon and the dengue
mosquito threats. I swop it for living now; for the
joy in the present moments of life, one life; all life.