16.6.2019 Shibuya – Yoyogi, Yoyogi – Akasaka & back

And the sun shone. Setting out at 9 into the Shibuya sunshine I walked from that place down the hill into a zone of great Sunday migrations, on observing their patterns, this day being the day of meetups and malltimes. And I found myself at the famous crossroads; because I had been dreaming of it, I sat and watched the washes of people sashay first one way, then the other, like untethered fronds or minnow schools. There was a type of dress for every sort, not a patchwork of styles, but characters, complexly signifying, with this brand top or notbrand, and these shoes, platformed, or flat, and these accessories, to bring out the total picture, express the whole, with this hairstyle and no other will do.

And I walked off in what I expected might be the wrong direction, ending up deep in Aoyama, then branching down Omote-Sando, the great boulevard of high end. You will notice a market with a protest outside the United Nations University. I talked to a stallholder about his lavender, not having seen such fine stuff since Provencal planes. His father had begun growing it, in Japan—he gestured in a southerly direction—50 years ago, and extracting the exquisite oils, one from morning plants for revivifying purposes, one from evening effluvia for their sedative and calming properties.

And deep in Yoyogi ‘forest’ the Meiji shrine, outdone, for queues, by a public demonstration of traditional sweetmaking. And also the iris gardens—for which I captured the sentiment, the legend, and so didn’t need to pay the entryfee.

On into the depths, through the shrine, much of it closed for the autumn reveal: a centenary restoration. Sideways in the welcome green, leaving the wide way, going ‘Off Limits’ where there was a rice paddy, experiment, of some sort, and horse trail. Then on the outside of the park, forest, the stables: here ponies were walked in desultory circles bearing glum children, who if not glum, were intent on internalising the experience.

On I went, to find the entry to Olympic Youth Centre, set to be accommodation for the next several days, which I found, in shades of pink, pinking up from the greenery beside Yoyogi, an early 80s architecture. … But although I was leery of it, now here I am ensconced in it, having followed the circular corridor, which freakily reminded me of one of those labyrinthine ones veering into weird in Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami—perhaps it would continue and spiral and lead me deeper losing its pink like a day does into a dark forest where are entities older than the 80s. But it’s a friendly room, a single little bed, and a bathroom with a bath, a fridge, a veto on alcoholic beverages and food in rooms, one of which I have already broken, and a miniature element and pot for hot water, that I have already used to brew some coffee. I have also handwashed some clothes, against which there must be a rule as well.

But I only got in because I left, was told no checkin before 3pm and then checkin all night long; so I decided to preempt or rehearse the journey I will be making on the 19th when J. arrives to Hotel Felice in Akasaka.

What a joy, the Chiyoda line: fast and uncrowded, debouching into the classy but not uptight part of town where we will be; and here, the best part, I had lunch, very near Hotel Felice—happiness of Omekase, 3 x 3 different fish sashimi-ed; and a SuperDry Asahi. The couple beside me were served giant whelks on a tabletop grill; another couple lit up cigarettes. It was like some time in the past when you could. A nice grunge to the place, which had attracted me in by playing Marisa Monte. I stayed and ooshi-ed and then—see the snap of the thousands of queuing young women? I don’t know what for, maybe some boyband? A show or something with an especial appeal?

Then I Chiyoda Lined back to Yoyogi-Koen, back to the still pink monster. I waited and waited. Until she arrived, the one who kept the keys for the Deleuze|Guattari Camp goers; and she greeted me effusively, and on her second arms thrown wide gesture I capitulated with an oddly slippery embrace, the sort you give ones with thin bones. She knew Arendt but not Deleuze or Guattari and it stands to reason: she is very young. She is not even a student, but admin, kooky admin, doing things decidedly unJapanese like hugging and laughing uproariously at the Mystery of it all—i.e. what is supposed to happen; why noone else had turned up; when they might; but she knew of R. and it seems despite reports there is not to be, at this Youth Hostel, a division of the genders on different floors: we are all on the same spiral.

Nobody showed. I trolled up and down the consideration of eating places, over the pedestrian bridge, over the rail line, from the pink (& pale blue) monstrosity of National Olympics Memorial Youth Centre—an 80s remembered youth—, escaping it, but then held in thrall, that is in suspended decision, for the eating place for one. For it is not easy.

Up the street, down the street. English menu. None. Shall I risk it. Walking in, a machine ordering system: apart from matching characters, no clue as to what is ordered, money put in the slot. Difficult. Walking out again. At last, a random walk-in to a family-run joint, with a Chinese menu. And owl figurines on the bar. I walked back and forth through the menu too, finally 404, fried rice cake. So chewy and savory, perfectly dosed with salt and umi.

Looks like a full moon… which my fried rice cake clearly resembled.