Sunday, March 30, 2014

natasha's diary

Some Tokyo graffiti...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dentist office on second floor.

natasha nakamura's diary

So back to Tokyo. Can't be blamed for wanting to come home, at least for a while.

Somethings have changed. Is it my imagination or have women's breasts grown larger? They are certainly more prominently featured in ads on the trains and on the covers of the titillating weeklies. There are more cafes, some even with a few seats outside. The Oedo Line is hard at work redesigning its stations, each of which has its own design motif. (My heart goes out to those poor souls who have to ride the rumbling, crumbling commuter trains between Greenwich and Grand Central.)

There is some fine graffiti, as for instance under the Tokyu Line tracks between Yokohama and Sakuragicho. Grocery stores are stocking more spices and condiments from abroad like chutney and there seem to be more little shops selling things which foreigners find "smart," such as well-designed household implements like kitchen clocks. (I ran across a store in Harajuku that's nothing but chairs from all over the world, artfully arranged. It looks like a chair museum.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Last chance to buy something to read. Newsstand on train platform.

natasha nakamura's diary

Paris is a fine city, of course. Triumphant architecture, a lyrical language, sharp people with character and wit, and lots of cafes for talking and reading and writing. But Paris is small, and after a while the sweep of the architecture at every turn becomes oppressive. In Paris, nothing ever happens by accident, although sometimes people pretend it does. And the French have their own brand of arrogance, more sophisticated and so more provocative than down-home American arrogance, but still tiring in its demand for attention. (In Tokyo, arrogance is very bad form.)

So: back to Tokyo. Can't be blamed for wanting to come home, at least for a while.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Posters in the subway

natsha nakamura's diary

Interesting new magazine called Nikkei Woman, which talks about how women should buy insurance, how to get a job in banking, and how to live stylishly in a tiny apartment. Nothing at all on how to entice a man. It is hard to imagine a magazine like this ten years ago. Tokyo women are taking control of their lives.

I am tired of seeing (working) women in big bulging blue pantaloons to their ankles, like a uniform. They look like Russian infantrymen with an identity problem.

I'm thinking maybe late one night this Spring, when the weather invites, I'll work up a colorful stretch of graffiti for the wall across the street. Maybe invite one or two sympathetic souls to participate. Naomi? Fabrizio? That guy from Cambodia?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

natasha nakamura's diary

Thursday, sitar concert by Ayumu Suetsugu in the living quarters for bachelor British diplomats in Yokohama, a serious stone structure with English fireplaces, built in 1937. I was entranced and after the interval insinuated myself right up at the front to sit cross-legged on the carpet. Everyone else remained in their folding chairs. Perhaps we should have dimmed the lights and lit some incense.

Afterwards, dinner in Chinatown built around Shanghai crabs at a wonderful new restaurant called Sai where all the waitresses are bright and charming Chinese.

Friday. Interesting new place in Shibuya called J.--pronounced "J, Period". Japanese craftwork, not exquisite and hardly expensive: bowls and incense burners. These are things that would evoke a certain feeling of nostalgia in friends in New York and Paris who don't know the really good (and really expensive) stuff. It's so easy to become cynical…