Niku

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The fact that someone drew the kanji for meat on the cover of this free paper is unremarkable, but what if I tell you that they also drew it on almost every forehead of every picture inside! That’s dedication.

21_21 Design Sight Opening

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I’ve created a separate Flickr photoset with just the shots from the 21_21 Design Sight. I really liked the building and interior — some nice divisions between the various rooms — but 1000 yen feels a bit steep for what mostly amounts to a one-room exhibition. I’m also a bit surprised that they kicked things off with a rather hardcore look at the work process of Ando from a few current works (including the museum itself). Still worth checking out for the building alone.

Tokyo Midtown Opening

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As you could tell from the moblog shots I posted earlier today, I did make it out for the opening of the Tokyo Midtown complex. I’ve written a post for Gridskipper that describes my feelings — it should be up soon enough — but in general I can say that I rather liked what I saw — and I think Tokyo Art Beat‘s Paul Baron, who came with me, agrees. Better layouts, more open spaces, shops and restaurants that are more interesting, and just an overall better feel. I’ve put up a Flickr photoset of 77 shots I took, so take a look and see for yourself.

An Afternoon in Tokyo

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Today was pretty much as perfect a day as you can get. The weather was just amazing (high of 22 I think), and so I took my bike out and went for a ride around the city, hoping to do some prime sakura viewing.

I started by going down to Kanda river — halfway between Ikebukuro and Takadanobaba — and was treated to the most amazing view. As I biked along the river, the path was rather crowded — which was to be expected — but it didn’t bother me, as I just took my time, taking in all the pink. I continued on to the Imperial Palace, and then ended up in Ginza, where I checked out the “Wellness Design by Shin Matsunaga” exhibition (Friday is your last chance to catch it). Most of the show is devoted to his product design for the Wellness brand, which is nice, but I was really taken by the posters that were on display in the adjacent cafe, and ended up standing in front of the video that showcased his works for the entire running time of 20 minutes. I really wanted to pick up a book they had for sale that covered his career — it was even bilingual, and going for 3800 yen.

I then went to Hibiya park, thinking that the pink would be in evidence, but it wasn’t as impressive as what I’d seen in other spots. When I passed by the Matsumotoro restaurant, I was really tempted to go in and have one of their delicious Hayashi Om-rices, but I had some more biking to do, so took a rain check. I zigzagged a bit around the area, making a stop at Muji Yurakucho (of course), and then started back home, but taking a scenic route that brought me around the Imperial Palace, with plenty more of sakura to take in.

Checking in with Craig, I made my way to Co-Lab in Kudanshita, and dropped in to say hello and chat with a few friends. As I left, I went though the Yasukuni shrine area, taking in again all the cherry blossoms. As soon as I got back home, it was off to the station, as Yuko suggested we both go to Yasukuni. It really was quite lively at night, with the highest concentration of food stalls I’d ever seen — had my favorites: buttered potatoes and okonomiyaki — and then we walked along the palace’s surrounding moat, where they had lights pointing to all the trees.

As far as soundtracks for the ride, I used my iPod shuffle, so it was an eclectic assortment — I always use the autofill feature. My favorite thing about using the shuffle is when it manages to come up with a track that perfectly suits what I’m doing or where I am. Highlights from today: Four Tet’s “She Moves She” as I was biking along Kanda river, Stereolab’s “Good Is Me” just as I approached the Imperial Palace, Nirvana’s “Tourette’s” as I hit traffic in Ginza, Weezer’s “My Name Is Jonas,” that started just as I headed back with the sun shining in my face, Momus’ “Born to be Adored” just when I finished some uphill, the melody going perfectly with my tired cruising, and COPTER4016882’s “Rising Core” when I hit Ikebukuro.