Japanese Days – Arrival in Tokyo

10/11/2007
Arrived yesterday in Tokyo. Still warm and a little humid even at this time of the year. Settled quickly into our apartment which is in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Some dissappointments. The furniture in the photographs does not correspond to the furniture in the apartment. In particular there is no divan so literally there is nowhere to sit apart from the chairs around an enormous round table which dominates the entire apartment. No amount of discussion or remonstration will get the furniture we wanted. The only answer we get is “that furniture is too big for the apartment”. The question arises why was it advertised with those pieces of furniture. I have been informed that it is not entirely uncommon. Lisa, the Japanese woman who works in the real estate office and speaks English with a perfect American accent, just smiles and tells me we will be very comfortable there. As I organised everything over the internet there was no way of checking anything before hand. However the apartment is very comfortable. Divided into two halves it is relatively roomy for an apartment in Japan. It is situated in a region called Suitengumae which is close to the Sumida River and seems to be closed off from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. That is if you dont count the overhead highway which rumbles away all day and night almost beside our window. However I’m not complaining. We are in Tokyo at last and have three months of filming and getting to know Japan in front of us.

The apartment itself is very well situated. You walk out the door and straight into the metro. Its literally fifteen seconds from our own front door. In some ways that is quite normal for Tokyo. Wherever you are in Tokyo you can look up and there will be a metro somewhere close by. Its the beginning of autumn here and the leaves are turning golden red and brown. This is a beautiful time to be in Japan especially from a film makers point of view.

Still feeling jet lagged but we already managed to get to the Sogetsu Ikebana exhibition at the Takishimaya Dept store on Nihonbashi not far from where our apartment is located. Japan has a long tradition of  putting on art exhibitions in department stores or commercial organisations. Its an incredible exhibition, jsut the scale of it is extraordinary as well as a very high level of art. Today we went to the exhibition again after lunch  on Ginza and met up with Natasha’s friend, Fujimoto san and some of her students who were exhibiting there. Natasha took photographs of many of the compositions. I was especially struck by the composition of Akane Teshigahara which had a central place in the exhibition it measured several square metres and was constructed with large branches  and set inside where golden orange flowers – Hibiscus I think. The whole effect vibrated and pulsated with energy and life. The branches had been painted with what seemed like two types of ochre paint (dark brown and Red) mixed with  dust or powder so that the  surfaces were matte and gave off an effect of volume. The effect was vaguely like surrealistic paintings, although this was a sculpture.

Have sent off e-mails to our friends Paul, Akira san and Sumida san to let them know we have arrived in Japan. Maybe we will meet up with them sometime soon.
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