Tokyo Walking

An Afternoon in Roppongi

Yesterday I managed to get out of my futon (something that’s been extremely difficult with the recent cold spell) and made it out to Roppongi, or more specifically Roppongi Hills, to meet up with Jim Frederick, TIME magazine’s Tokyo bureau chief and co-author of the recent Charles Jenkins autobiography (which is still only available in a Japanese edition, but they are looking for an American publisher). After a quick tour of the TIME offices, and receiving an autographed copy of said book by Jenkins (which Yuko read in one-sitting last night), we headed out for, yes, some ramen! I can’t remember the name of the place, but it’s just a 3-minute walk from Roppongi Hills heading towards the main strip. I’m not usual into the spicy variety, but the bowl of dandanmen I had was delicious, and it made for a nice first taste of 2006!

Following this, I wanted to spend a bit of time in and around Roppongi Hills, a place I hadn’t visited in probably a year (OK, maybe one or two visits to the Mori Art Museum), and admittedly, because I just don’t have much love for the place. It comes down to the fact that there aren’t really any stores I particularly like (and the only store I really did like, Village Vanguard, isn’t even there anymore). I walked a bit in the noticeably uncrowded complex — a far cry from the huge crowds of a year ago — and then made my way to the TV Asahi building to have a look at the gift shop. I grabbed a can of cookies (I wanted the can) for one of my favorite shows, and unfortunately cancelled last fall (but I did enjoy the New Year special), UCHIMURA PRODUCE. The fun thing is that every cookie had the face of an UCHI-P member on it — Yuko started with Ryo Fukawa, me with Uchimura.

With all the talk of James Bond on Patrick Macias’ blog recently, it had to come to a point where we’ve decided to go out for vodka martinis when he gets back to Tokyo, and so I wanted to see if the 007-themed bar I once spotted in Roppongi a few years ago was still there. It wasn’t. Oh well, I’m sure there are other places in town where we’ll be able to get a decent martini.

I pretty much never make it out to Roppongi, and one thing I absolutely wanted to do while I was there was of course to pay the AXIS building a visit (for new readers, AXIS is one of my favorite magazines). Unfortunately for me, both of the galleries (AXIS Gallery and AXIS Gallery Annex) were between shows, but I still enjoyed spending some time at the Living Motif store, browsing through the various design books, and the many attractive interior items that I simply can’t afford.

Since it’s not an area I usually visit, there wasn’t much on my agenda, mostly for lack of familiarity. Does anyone have some Roppongi spots (but not bars) to recommend that I should check out the next time I’m there?