Saturday May 1, 1:15 p.m.
MayDay! The day itself and not the SOS. I'm sure a lot of the Communist regimes (what few of them there are left) are having their little proletarian celebrations. I just had my final lesson before I really get into Golden Week. Miss Prissy hadn't been here in almost a month, and unfortunately, it showed in her fluency...or lack thereof. Even in her prime, she was fairly molasses-like in her delivery. Well, today, these were molasses in the dead of Winter. I almost felt like whacking her with a newspaper to speed things up. Instead, I just calmly mentioned that we would be reviewing part of the lesson next time...for speed purposes...a bit of a shot across the bow.
Now, as for the picture above. That is the Akasaka Prince Hotel. The ruffled triangular shape has made the hotel one of the most distinguishing pieces of architecture in Tokyo for decades. I first came upon it via one of my brother's photos when he had come back from his month-long trip in Japan in the early 80s. Seeing that building pretty much cemented the image of The Big Sushi as a technopolis of considerable merit. Well, that building is gonna be coming down next year. I just read yesterday in "The Japan Times" that as of April 2011, the Aka-Puri, as it is known amongst the hoi polloi, will cease operations and most likely be torn down. It's a bit of a pity because of its architectural prominence, but then this is Tokyo. Sentimentality and history haven't had much of a place here as it has in many other major cities such as London or Berlin. Economy of land is one such reason, but the other I guess is the fact that buildings have been razed either from war or natural disaster over the past century.
To be honest, I had actually met Paddy at the Akasaka Prince some years ago. And the lobby struck me as being somewhat faded in glory. Kinda like an architectural version of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard"; she used to be something but had long been superceded by other more modern constructs. And yet, until recently, the hotel was still the power spot for the political elite...i.e. the LDP wonks...and probably the yakuza as well...which frankly turned me off the place even more.
Still, it'll be kinda weird not seeing that shape in Akasaka anymore. But then again, we all have the Tokyo Sky Tree and other new shapes to look forward in the decade to come. Tokyo is an organic city...even if stuff comes down, there will always be stuff coming up.