Two of the faces of twentieth century

(The first appearance of this post was on iaponia.gr)

The area around the subway station of Azabu-Juban brings together two of the faces of Tokyo past: futurism and shitamachi.

In 1971 Andrei Tarkovsky shot the science fiction classic “Solaris”. In an evocative sequence the hero is driven through the streets of a city before he leaves for his trip to space, and a discreet feel of futuristic life is achieved. The sequence is called “City of the future” and was shot in Tokyo with no special effects.

One of the filming locations was the junction at Azabu-Juban.

Of course today it’s not only the bridge but also the buildings from somewhere around the ‘70s.

At the same time, all you have to do to find one of the once omnipresent streams is to take a turn a couple of blocks further away…

…and, in doing so, pass the invisible border towards a tiny shitamachi neighborhood.

Shitamachi was the downtown aesthetic in the beginning of the 20th century, the sort of passage from Edo to Tokyo.

The archipelago of the “city of the future” still has islets of small streets with wooden buildings, flower pots on tarmac and residents that somehow look as if they always belong there.

Anyone trying to understand the picture formed by the puzzle called Tokyo will get a few additional pieces by making a stop at Azabu-Juban.

Hammam new year

What’s merrier than past blending into now, extrapolating into future? Hot baths, marble, arab lamps, canned water, led panels, wifi routers, inflatable pagan ornaments.

Winter street food Athens

The mini winter street food of the historical centre will begin at Monastiraki square. (The fruit stands are deserted in the rain but koulouria are always dependable.)

A walk through the market alleys…

…leads to waffle cubes and cuteness.

Turning back and taking Ermou, the high fashion street…

means it’s time for creative-ethnic koulouri sandwich (resisting for now the roasted corn and chestnuts outside).

Walking through Plaka brings along the sun, lurking pigeons and sachets of dried nuts,

just in case anyone’s hungry on the walk towards Koukaki,

and to a warming souvlaki next to Syggrou-Fix metro station.

Right at an iconic urban spot for letting the day set in the halo of distant sea-reflected light.

A day at the expo

Passing over Daejeon’s iconic bridge…

…to disembark at Science Expo.

Every year in autumn it’s where big and small people can fly simulations…

Build cities by singing…

Meet the latest humanoids in person…

And be generally amazed.

Seoul squares

Convenience stores and coffee shops and tetris buildings. Someplace in the sprawling downtown.