Read an area guide for Daikanyama
It’s the middle of September, and what has been an almost balmy two weeks has sidled off like a false friend and we’re back in the middle of the molten cauldron that was August. I am still cycling everywhere with a grim attachment to the sticky rubber grips and the sweaty seat, but all that keeps me going is visions of golden leaves on a cool (truly friendly!) ghost of a breeze-to-come.
After work today I cycled from Yotsuya down to Daikanyama, a small, elevated undulating area just off hip ‘Street Central’ Shibuya that you get to by cycling way, way down Meiji Boulevard (from Shinjuku) and then eventually turning right at Namikibashi (‘Tree-lined Bridge’). Sure enough, Namikibashi is still a tree-lined bridge – kind of old and functional, but with an elegance that outlives the budget it was built to. If Shibuya is hip, then Daikanyama is uber hip.
I look for disco-inspired funk, dirtier the better. I was recently introduced to the totally spot-on Bonjour Records by my friend of over 17 years, Norio, a dedicated Tokyo denizen who took me to the smaller Shinjuku branch about three weeks ago, and the Daikanyama shop just a couple of weeks ago. Having exchanged pleasantries a couple of times already with the woman there, this time we got talking and, when I mentioned to her what I liked, she obligingly plied me with a few CDs and a couple of LPs, most of which my poor wallet, already stretched to the limit by excessive wining and dining over the past month and a half, had no choice but to say yes to, hands raised in pure surrender! Oh the funk!
So here I am listening to the Idjut Boys ‘Press Play’, supping on Scottish ‘Kelpie’ seaweed ale, that also totally rocks, windows and sliding door open in defiance of the air conditioner, and wishing all me mates were back from vacation.
Daikanyama, with its expensive subtleties that turn out to be essentials; its scaled down celebrity-strewn sloping streets that don’t let on unless you look hard; its birdcages over steps down to basements, its parodies, the realness of its eateries, fashion, books, all waiting there without blare, its boys and girls striding or dawdling the streets whom you want to stop and … well… ask the way.
Tonight is hot, and the air is not cooling at all with the progress of the clock. The river outside fills the air with its steady rush. At least that air was free of election announcements tonight. The Liberal Democratic Party has won big time. There is talk that Koizumi’s imminent break-up of the post office will sacrifice thousands of jobs. Is that why the woman in the post office today was so positively gushing and helpful today when I posted my letter to New Zealand? No, that's being cynical. But although things are supposed to be getting cooler here, that’s not what’s happening now.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005
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