Dec 27. Thursday
Sunny and cold – about 40 F
Detlev and I explore the compound – one of the only residential embassy compounds in the world (the other is in Saudi Arabia) and Sash arrives back for an early lunch. We head to Raponggi Hills for an American lunch (burgers!) then take the subway to a nearby residential neighborhood where the prominent gold statue of Moroni graces the spire of a Mormon temple (?). We walk through a lovely park being maintained by old Japanese men (there are no imported guest workers here) and Sash heads back to work.
We manage the subway back one stop to Raponggi Hills where Max continues on to the fish market and D and I head into the Mori Tower, museum and sky walk on the 56thfloor.
Neither of us are crazy about heights and we can’t understand a word of the elevator operator’s instructions as he motions us in and presses a button, but we emerge (overheated) to a spectacular 360° view of a massive city spreading out over what must be 50 miles to the north, east and south from the port at Tokyo Bay. The museum features a retrospective of Makoto Aida in a rant on Japanese obsession with nubile mutant schoolgirls, war, monsters, death, dismemberment and general anime/manga weirdness . More cultural clues that totally escape me. Interesting, but creepy.
We emerge into early rush hour and masses of identically dark-suited men and tiny high-heeled women wearing crinolines or hot pants, all carrying phones – some with their own outfits (the phones, that is). It’s a scene. Later we head for dinner in Akasaka and everything is booked. We find an Italian restaurant where the bartender (from Spain) joins Sash in a long rant about life in Tokyo and offers to make us real sangria, and not the “crap” on the menu. Somehow we spend several hundred dollars on pizza and inauthentic pasta. I can see why Sash is barely saving money.