Thursday, January 30, 2014

A turret of Tokyo Station

natasha nakamura's diary

The company bonenkai, the ritual New Year's party. Various company officials, after apologizing for distracting such busy people as ourselves from our duties, went on and on about our glorious future prospects and everyone's determination to work harder than ever. Then a toast in beer and uninspiring wine, after which a standing buffet and aimless conversation until we were divided into teams and asked to provide answers to a bone-headed quiz. I drifted away as soon as I could....

At the bonenkai I was approached by one of the big wigs who told me he brought up his daughter in Hawaii and she's now 26 and living at home and wants to find an American husband to take her away from all this and did I know anyone. The Natasha Nakamura Matrimonial Agency. Results guaranteed 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

Wandered into the Sony Building in the Ginza. On the fourth floor, you can make an appointment to go into a special listening room where just you and a Sony guy can listen to Sony's new speakers and a phenomenal new amp/CD player. I hear Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations and some of the Symphonie Fantastique, where it seemed I could hear every instrument individually. I was in tears, just beautiful.

The problem is that if I installed this system in my tiny apartment, the sound would shatter my sole window.  Another problem is that the amp/CD player is only made to order and costs about 800,000 yen, but hey, what's life all about?
Seller of lottery tickets

Friday, January 24, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

OK, civilization. Bach. King's College Cambridge. Lafite Rothschild. PG Wodehouse. But it seems to me than anyone who has ever soaked in a Japanese bath hasn't experienced civiization in its purest, simplest form. Another reason I could only live here.
New windows added as building evolves.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flags for children to hold up when crossing the road

natasha nakamura's diary

Difference between Tokyo and New York in a nutshell: In Tokyo, subway announcements are models of elocution and as detailed as marching orders ("Watch out for the closing doors"). In New York, the announcements, if they are made at all, are mumbled in various accents and the announcer if he's in the mood will even make jokes ("Hey hey hey folks, this should be Times Square if we're lucky").

Thursday, January 16, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

Ten days ago at a corner a car hit a motorcycle. The car overturned and the motorcyclist was killed. For the past ten days people of the neighborhood have been putting out flowers at the corner where the accident occurred--sometimes elaborate arrangements, sometimes just one flower in an empty sake bottle. It's a Tokyo thing....

Monday, January 13, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

The living space in my apartment in Jiyugaoka can accommodate no more than a bed, a chair, and a  desk. Rent: 170,000 a month, absurd of course. I've got some ideas on how the space might be put to better use--bed collapsible at the touch of a button--but I must think of my neighbors so there's not much chance of taking up the 'cello or installing an exercise machine. I have to use earphones to listen to music as it it. I'm attracted by the scented candles in the up-scale stores, but I'm afraid they  might put the neighbors off. Is it possible to be allergic to lavender? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

Inscribed on the chain guard of a bicycle: "RALPH, the basis of richness is responsibility." Makes sense.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

Tokyo is even more drenched in flickering Christmas lights than New York. Coffee houses play "Jingle Bells" over and over and householders of a certain cast of mind seem to be determined to out-glitz their neighbors. I notice, though, that houses with carefully tended Japanese gardens do not deign to decorate themselves: bah, humbug. There is a definite Christmas culture evolving here but at this point Christmas in Tokyo seems like a wintery Fourth of July.

Anyway, I'll have some peace and quiet when I visit Papa and Mama in Kyoto during the holidays. Kyoto is the real Japan; Tokyo is just a rude upstart. (But I'd wither away if I had to live in Kyoto.)