July 11 – Tokyo, Shinjuku, Roppongi, Shibuya

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Sticks and popcorn makes for hungry in the morning. But a pleasure deferred is one … rapacious hunger. Walked to Shinjuku in plus 30 degree heat, humidity at 89% and plunged into its aircon maw and searched its kaleidoscopic caverns – ever-changing, like the ghost stations that spring up never to be found again – and came up with what looked like mozzarella baguette but turned out to be French cream filled. Brilliant baguette and, when the surprise passed, chewy enough to satisfy. Then the sweet: custard filled pastries. And these actually were custard.

Oedo line to Roppongi took us 45 minutes. Silly. As far down under the earth as it is across its surface, so it feels. Through Tokyo Midtown, below the monolith, to the sweltering garden behind and the low-profile 21 21 Design Site, run by the Issey Miyake foundation. Exhibition called Image-Makers, featuring the work of Jean-Paul Goude, David Lynch and Robert Wilson, all prolific image-makers, and in addition, Noritaka Tatehana and Photographer Hal, with music by Jun Miyake for two of Jean-Paul Goude’s works. The latter came into focus as Grace Jones’s image-maker, featuring in the brilliant music video for… was it “Pull up to my bumper, baby”? I remember that irritating refrain, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Grace Jones…” as if ever promised she never would truly arrive.

The Robert Wilson works were the video portraits, HD portrait-hung screens, each with its own soundtrack. Captivating, hypnotic in their languid loops and classical in the sense of the art of portaiture: brilliant imaginations of characters, even the porcupine on starfield, Boris. And Marianne Faithful hanging like a bat; Steve Buscemi, the butcher, smiling grimacingly and chewing, without blinking, over the hacked head and neck of a dinosaur; Princess Caroline of Monaco, in silhouette, with a gash of light opening on her back; Gao Xingjian, the writer, in white face, on which writing appears…; Alexis Broschek, in a fox mask, slowly removed, which has the effect of entirely altering his proportions – he shrinks from a big suited adult figure to a small boy – while Robert Wilson’s voice-over sounds like Basil Brush; and Celine, the Briard dog, whose nose is very wet and tongue out, panting.

David Lynch’s lithographs were on the walls in two grids. Spooky and really good. Like a child haunted by memories of adulthood.

Jean-Paul Goude’s work took up a big room. The best was a set of monitors on facing walls with, again, looped action, of figures at a metro station – a subway train sync-ed across the screens so that it shot the entire length of the room and then came back on the monitors place on the facing side. Clever. And a mannequin of a Grace Jones abstract costume on rails, sliding down the other side of the big room. Theatrical. There was also a video from the 1970s of Jean-Paul demonstrating prostheses to improve – morphological improvements: invisible shoulder pads to broaden the shoulders, false teeth to give perfect dentition, platform shoes to add height, and a fake belly button for those short in the waist to allow the appearance of the belly button above the waist-band when wearing high-waisted pants.

Photographer Hal did vacuum-packed people. Noritaka Tatehana did fetish shoes – to wonderful excess.

The image-making in question is human, the human image made, remade, portrayed, added to, shod, fetishised, dreamt – in Lynch’s case it is a putative human inside that is outed.

We went looking for a sushi train in Shibuya because Trip Advisor said it was the best in Tokyo. It took a long time. And we almost gave up the search. But finally there, we discovered it was not the best. It was good. The grilled better than the too-chilled raw fish.

Shibuya claimed the rest of our day, wandering, into Tower Records, a mistake. But excellent sounds to hear on really good headphones. Music sales still supported: the classical floor with more people on it than the jazz, avant-garde, electronica, ambient floor, where I spent some time and yen.

The Granbell now, facing out at the empire-state-building of Shinjuku as the lights come on.

Our final piece of theatre for Tokyo, the theatre of fish: a curated exhibition of Kingyo, the art of the aquarium, aquaria in all shapes and dimensions, a light show and music also. This came after a tempura meal that was clean-flavoured and although low in price high in quality with the care for detail that is the mark of this cuisine, where even the cheapy doesn’t stint.

The best fish display, a living folding screen of fish with projections from behind it: the mark of this aesthetic sense – care for detail, careful assembling of elements. The place seemed to be a date-night special attended by couples with many women, particularly the young, in kimonos and extravagant makeup. Another Oedo line excursion. On the way home, a couple, she sort of pranced in and patted his head as he folded into heavy sleep. She followed. At one stage turned to him, her eyes pin-slits, and jiggled his lips with her finger, like you would a baby. The both turned their feet on the side as well, as well as telltale bruise-shadows around the eyes – strong opiates? Barbiturates? Any way, both swaying dangerously close to falling over, their stop came and he lurched to his feet and staggered out, which her radar from behind closed lids noticed and she jerked up and through the doors after him.

Full moon above Shinkjuku.