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Oot and aboot

Tuesday was the opening night of an exhibition of works by Nicole Collins at the Canadian Embassy in Akasaka. The opening hours are rather restrictive (don't plan to go after work or at the weekend, for starters) but it's worth the journey if you can make it; a really nice collection of abstract paintings awaits you, done in the main with various paint/wax mixtures - highly recommended.

I was invited along a while ago but it was Tuesday afternoon before I got around to checking what time it started: 6pm, sadly, or 45 minutes before I could possibly hope to get there. I asked the embassy staffer on the other end of the line if we'd miss out on anything especially important... "Well..." he said, pausing to give it serious consideration, "you'll probably miss ze best cheese."

His concerns were well founded - Rich, Minako and I arrived to find a number of dozen people milling around drinking wine and admiring the artwork but also, sure enough, a hard core of serious-faced, slightly shabby middle-aged gentlemen clustered around the buffet tables, hungrily scoffing all the soft cheese they could pile onto their teensy baguette slices. You get a better class of homeless in the embassy district, clearly.

Nicole has, incidentally, the honour of being in the first ever mirror project photo - back in the day when it was still called jezebel's mirror. I'd just like to state, for the record, that I have NOTHING AGAINST T'PAU. That is all. No reason. :)

So it was great to meet Nicole, the exhibition was very cool, the Canadian embassy was extremely impressive (any building where you have to go up to the fourth floor just to get in the front door is okay by me), my wine glass just seemed to keep refilling itself somehow and there was even some agreeably powerful cheese left over. Bonus.

The three of us strolled back through Aoyama Cemetary towards Gaienmae. The cemetary is another one of those strange little distortions in Tokyo's time-space continuum; acres and acres of tightly-packed shrines, neatly ordered in rows with a precision that Tokyo's urban planners can surely only marvel at. Trees line the alleys, roots flexing open the road surface and giving the place an atmosphere that's more leafy Home Counties village than teeming uber-urban metropolis of 27 million. Then turn a corner and *pop* - you're on Killer-dori, perfectly positioned among the chic boutiques for for dinner at Hong Hu Asian followed by drinks at GetsuBetsu, both of which are useful additions to my mental map of the area - Hong Hu is open till 3am and GetsuBetsu has superb wax-encrusted candelabras and comfy eclectic furniture.

I feel I have to make the most of these spring nights before the humidity kicks in - which means walking home where feasible. There was no convenient train route home anyway, so I cut cross-country and made for Yoyogi, catching the Chuo-Sobu line the rest of the way - another great Tokyo evening. I could get used to this... though I think, perhaps, the longer it stays fresh and interesting, the better.

(sample, Nicole Collins, The Canadian Embassy, Akasaka, (03) 5412-6200, April 17 to June 14, closed weekends and May 3 & 6)

Posted by chris at April 18, 2002 11:50 PM | Permalink

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