A surprise temple
Walk in Tsukiji, the neighbourhood once famous for its fish market, and you can’t miss it: a grand temple right out of India.
Approach the entrance though, and buddhist signs become unmistakable.
Inside, the eclectic style succeeds in bringing you calm and energy.
It turns out that Tsukiji Hongan-ji, a temple of Shin Buddhism, had stood here for more than two centuries before destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake. The architect Ito Chuta took the chance to rebuild it with an exterior in Indian style. And a sense of joy.
Fragments of spring
Leaving the view from the Grand Hotel Taipei.
Close to the subway station of Shiodome, at Ginza’s outskirts, I remember coming across Nakagin Capsule Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in a city full of iconic.
The capsule tower is an apartment complex made of modules. According to architect Kisho Kurokawa’s vision they were meant to be replaced as they got old, making the building evolve. And this organic evolution gave its name to the optimistic trend of metabolist architecture.
That one turned out an ambitious plan and never materialized. The building is now run-down, although some capsules are still in use. On the other hand, its style seems to have defeated time.
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.
Athens shades of blue
Instances of early-20th century japanese architecture, Taipei downtown.
Taking Songshan in
Looking back to a previous spring, fragments in memory from arriving to Taipei. And waking to a calm Saturday morning in the area around Songshan Station.
That was a pleasant building, especially to a traveller looking for space to breath. However the architecture in the surrounding blocks varies.
All of it typical Taipei though.
The interior cannot be told from the facade; some of these flats will be renovated new-asian-all-pearly style and some will be basic and maybe with bug issues.
What doesn’t change throughout is the energy in all times of day and places, even empty streets. Or temple backyards getting ready for the day.
And impeccable alleys that become a maze of people, shouts, money and food a few hours later (aka Raohe night market).
Back to the museum
Plaza of the national science museum, a gem from the ’90s.
The inner story of Athens.