Last Saturday after work we met in Kannai, Yokohama. I couldn’t face another train journey home alone: that sad repetition : : go to work, come home from work, go to work, come home from work – half a person. It has been a dreadful term, a suppressed fear on autopilot, and I am beat. So last weekend we had a great evening wandering around Isezakicho, our second spiritual home – warm enough just about to sit outside in coats and scarves and have drinks, even if, later on, as the temperature dropped we found ourselves dinnerless with all the restaurants closed, as per the current law by 8pm; local neighbourhood associations zealously doing the rounds with clapboards and megaphones intoning to the ethnic minorities – Korean, Chinese, Russian, Thai – to abide by the regulations and close up shop; we ended up (happily) having last minute discount meal of spicy Szechuan dishes in plastic containers in the park, on a cold stone bench in an island of illuminated rocks.
It was unseasonably warm last week and I loved it. This week, the temperatures have dropped, there has been a continual gale level wind – unbearable, I have found myself shouting into it, at it – and we have both become sick. Not sick sick, I don’t think – no fevers, no obvious corona symptoms : but extreme ‘malaise’, certainly, tiredness; I have had a sore throat and a ‘compressed chest’ feeling in my left lung but then I do get that every year or so and can usually sort it out with a few days of antibiotics; D has had a bad headache which is now thankfully dissipating, but whatever the source of the lurgey we have definitely been out of sorts and achey and just wanting to nest in a properly heated room. Thursday morning I woke up and felt as though I was sinking into the mattress, anchored by my dreams into heaviness, and I knew – just a few seconds scanning the day ahead in my mind – that there was no way I would be able to do all the travelling, the sheer effort required for it all; the appalling contrast between the overly heated seats, and the necessary open windows whistling with ice cold winds, rendering me a human version of Baked Alaska, an uneasy combination of warmed roll and thawing vanilla ice cream. My most basic instincts told me no – no way. Nor could I face the school where I am assigned a room with a broken heater, nor the idea of my potentially bringing something into the school in Yokohama that has no windows. I do sometimes live my life like David and Goliath, I must admit, and David, on this occasion, elected to stay in bed.
It was lovely to be in the neon of Isezakicho; the oddballs wandering, the sheer diversity of the unselfconscious demographic on the streets (this is a place without the ‘respectable propriety’ of other areas in the Yokohama region, and it feels so much freer; looser, more interesting); eccentricity flourishing left right and centre plus an entrenched sense of history. In fact, at Minato – one of the most quintessential Japanese ‘recycle’ shops I often mention – pictured here, – we ended up buying a framed antiquarian map of the nearby Sakuragicho bay as it used to be in the nineteenth century, lovely aquamarines and blues, as well as an old clock: I liked the typographic on the face.
When we got home later in the evening we realized that that this thing actually seems to have a palpable life of its own ; chiming and clanging at all hours (haunted?), so for now it has been covered in duvets and blankets until its wind up mechanism runs out – I leapt out of bed the other night when it started chiming at 4:30am and threw it again under its covers : it will either be mounted, fittingly, in our bloodbath disco toilet – or else just used as a prop in one of Duncan’s films. Or else discarded.
His latest, incidentally- for Kings Of Tokyo, ‘Lyon, France, 1968’, set to 60’s French chanteur Michel Polnareff’s heartbreaking song ‘Love Me, Please Love Me’, features a very lonely vintage bottle of Guerlain Vetiver, plus many changes of necktie, as he nervously gets ready to go out for a date but dolefully ends up in the cinema watching Pasolini smoking alone…………
I find it all wonderfully melancholic……..https://vimeo.com/dwhom
Neither could I this. Nina Ricci’s Farouche (1974) is not a perfume I could ever wear myself, but I am helpless in front of such red velours. Plus, the scent is elegant and beautiful (it is my Tokyo dressmaker friend Rumi’s favourite perfume of all time; Helen also likes this, though, so it might have to be hers at some point when I go home – – – mum, it wouldn’t suit you; I have you got you Capricci instead to be brought back in the ‘whenever suitcase’: this, and the Shiseido Suzuro).
Saturday night. Out as you should be. Wandering along, pleasantly spaced out and free, purchasing a curious book of Japanese cat pictures at an old book shop, as well as Mirko Buffinis’ compelling carnation violet Klito – which I reviewed the other day – plus a modern 93ml refill of Jicky, at Opal, and which smells exceptional on D; the definite pièce de resistance (so nice to just be out in a place you love, spending money on luxurious items you want to hold, and handle and stare at with pleasure rather than on just the basic alimentary essentials and your train pass) …… the original version of the classic Paco Rabanne Pour Homme – the now rare and sacred ‘yellow juice’ from 1973 so beloved on the men’s fragrance fora – made how it was meant to be – the perfume pristine and intact, wonderfully optimistic and aromatic; the sage note and the coniferousness beautifully balanced with the citrus and rosewood/lavender/tonka bean sweetish honey of the heart and inconspicuously erotic base; slightly more sweaty/animalic and rich – yet just as fresh – as the subsequent editions (though the Rabannes I wore in the eighties were also perfect; greener, the amiable soapiness, which is the main attraction for me, more at the fore). Recent airport editions I have smelled are fiendishly clever in keeping the basic persona of the original, immediately recognisable structure intact, but then your smell brain, sensitized, immediately senses an unwanted, irking component of metal chiding just beneath the surface. Hollowed. This version – the original – such a benign and lovely piece of work with its satisfying, herbal dependability; undemonstrative yet quietly outgoing – has no such cruelly subverted identity.