Tuesday, April 1, 2008

nooka japan hanami etc.

a busy tokyo friday night [march 28th] yamada and i went to the sakura cafĂ© event at tokyo midtown but it was cancelled from the rain, the party moved inside where there was enough free campaign to keep people happy. we then moved to the issey miyake curated show at 21_21 design site which was very good for the most part. the dyson inspired fashions presented on mannequins made from dyson parts was strangely haunting as it made me contemplate whether or not robots will develop a need for fashion. it was great to get a personal tour of the show by masato hatanaka who created the sound installation for one of the pieces. there was also a lovely watercolor by isamu noguchi and a sculpture version by Dui Seid [i don't remember seeing any paintings at the noguchi museum in NYC...i should visit it again]. then off to the re-opening of the claska hotel which was forced to renovate after a routine building inspection to strengthen the structure against earthquakes. they have 2 full floors of gallery space, one with a "sound installation" which was clearly a sponsored piece to sell the speakers and soundsystem, and the other a show/shop for japanese craft that fit the design of the hotel interiors [which are really nice]. i would love to stay a at the claska [they get a mostly foreign clientele from coverage in the wall paper guides] but it is too far from everything. also, the roof garden view faces the wrong direction, away from the city – missing some great vistas [my biggest complaint about tokyo is getting around – it's exhausting, time consuming and expensive. one really gets spoiled living in NYC which is so compact even when you add brooklyn and queens]. saturday i broke- down and went shopping [i wasn't planning on shopping this trip as i get very over stimulated when i shop, ruining my concentration powers for work, but my meetings were all over...it's also market research. my friend gordon joined me on my spree which included japanese pop music and kooky sunglasses before we met my friend akiko for lunch. i then bought 2 pairs of shoes, picked up a ds2 game for joseph in nyc, and went back to my hotel to rest before dinner in daikanyama with mr. nagae, mr. osugi and their wives at IN, perhaps the best sushi restaurant i've ever eaten at [mr. osugi is a regular and it was my 2nd time with him there]. they also have hachiman imojochu which is near impossible to find and my favorite since drinking it with robb of bento.com at a tachinomiya in ebisu 2 years ago! nagae and osugi have been friends since they were teenagers and i've been friends with nagae since he hired me as creative director for new york zoom, a studio i ran in nyc from 1997-2001. i stopped by at stich, which sells nooka, to see how they were doing. i then stopped by shinjuku 2-chome for a nightcap and met 2 of the principal dancers for pina bausch who were in town performing. i was surprised how star-struck i was! i'm a big fan of their work. also, it was very interesting to fill in the visual details of two people i've seen over the years only in silhouette on a distance stage – like zooming in on a digital photo and finding details/elements you didn't notice when you took the picture. we drank and bar hopped til 5:00 am, which is very rare for me. we had office hanami on sunday which i was so exhausted for. yamada had a great space staked out for us in inogashira park, but the weather did not cooperate – it was cold, and then it rained – so we eventually moved to an izakaya specializing in hokkaido cusine [seafood, deer meat, raw horse meat, and sake from that region]. we all got quite drunk with exception of soichi [of fareast recordings] who falls asleep if he has even a drop of alcohol. the waiter/owner of the place is a master sake server, creating the most pronounced meniscus on the glass AND masa i've seen. the guestlist at this point dwindled to just machan and katsu of madbarbarians, soichi terada, artist ogazawara and his wife who spoke not a word, yamada, the beuatiful elle usui, and freelance graphic designer mr. hayashi. i was so overtired, i felt none of the alcohol and strangely had no hangover monday morning which i used to pack, visit the office one last time, buy design reference books at kinokuniya, check out of the hotel and get to narita for my flight back to nyc on which i typed this blog entry.