The Skytree is the tallest structure in Tokyo. It’s a combination TV transmitter and shopping mall, shopping (Omo tells me) being the national pasttime in Japan. It probably comes from having only one football code.
It was a grey, rainy day, and also it costs an exorbitant sum of money to ascend to the top, so we stuck to shopping. Well, shopping and navigating crowds. They go together. Birthday presents were purchased for certain people, and I was quite excited to find the Japanese translations of the Harry Potter novels and Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign.
Why are the picture-inserting options for iPad versus browser so completely different? It’s messing with the look of my blog, man!
Anyway, the Potter covers are simple and photographic, whereas the Bujold covers — Japanese translations of western books are usually split into two volumes — are illustrative. They bear almost no resemblance to the actual text, yet are somehow more accurate than the American covers, and about eighty times more attractive. Nicely done, Japanese publishers, nicely done.
MORE SAKURA! MORE!
The next day, Thursday, I had breakfast with a friend, and we found our way to a bookstore in Shibuya that also contained a reading area — like a library — plus a cafe, a konbini, a high-end stationery section… it was heaven. Although I did make the mistake of trying a 25,000 yen pen, and now I can’t get it out of my head…
Afterwards I met up with Omo and Z, and we went to the Mucha exhibit in Roppongi. It felt a bit silly, seeing a western artist in Japan, but hey, you take your opportunities where you can get them. And if I’d had more time, I would have gone to the National Museum of Western Art as well. (They have a Sally Morgan!)
The exhibit was amazing, and completely transcended the need for English labels. It was also very crowded, but we kind of expected that. Well, I did. Except for the throngs in the gift shop — those were terrifying.
Nevertheless, I managed to find something appealing. I really enjoy Japan’s approach to creating merchandise for high art.
Friday … I left.
Though not before we ate a dodgy breakfast at the airport that made us all unwell. Having recovered from that — thank heavens! — I bid farewell to Omo and Z, and set off for home.
The trip home was fairly uneventful, although if I ever have to spend four hours at Hong Kong again, I’m going to budget for a visit to an airport lounge. Because wow, did I have a headache. And then we had our bags checked as we were boarding the plane — the signs told us we had Australian Customs and Border Security to thank for this — and passengers were forbidden to bring their own water onto the flight. I almost had to throw out my water bottle, which made me rather cross, as it cost $20. Plus, I have chronic dry mouth and throat — it comes with the rheumatoid arthritis — so I actually need that litre of water. Fortunately the flight attendants refilled my bottle after I boarded, so all that was really achieved was a waste of water.
Some hours later, I got home, and I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of the last two days sleeping. At first I thought it was just post-travel exhaustion, but I’m beginning to worry the small child behind me with the terrible cough was contagious…