|RANT "N" RAVE|
Home Sweet Home
Many folks complain about housing in
ultramodern Tokyo. Well, I hate to brag, but I have come across an unbelievable little
place with none of those cumbersome concessions to "modernity" that some
apartments are burdened with these days.
Back to the land, people. I mean, air conditioning, really. It is quite pleasant and cool
now, and if you are going to pay all that money to go to a sauna anyway, just wait for
summer! You can sauna the nights away for three full months in lovely, concrete-encased
And then there's the kitchen. Who needs one? My cooking is more often dangerous than
edible anyway. Just relieves me of more clutter. Simplify, simplify. And the bathroom?
Never really cared much for them. Cleaning, mildew, water leaks-a headache all around.
The purity, the unrefined simplicity of this living space pokes fun at
"multi-purpose" quarters. Washing, sleeping, eating, all in the same place, has
confused modern man. Sadly, I am forced to accept electric power as a concession to living
in the 21st century. But the lack of a bathroom or kitchen is a mere bonus to my chateau au
Despite all these charms, it's the design itself that truly draws people to this prime
piece of real estate. It seems that the master who composed this symphony in wood pulp
managed to do it without using one single right angle. Probably no ruler either.
Plus, it seems that the very walls and floors are engineered to lean several degrees off
center as the estate ages. True art masquerading as run-down low-budget housing. The
subtlety! It is a jest, an architectural jab at Tokyo technocrats.
I would describe the room in more detail, but I don't know what shape it is supposed to be
anymore. At one time, it might have been squarish. The doors all meet their hinges in sort
of an approximate way, and the floor is, for lack of a better term, lumpy. Forget cubicles
constructed of flat, featureless planes. The entire room is tipped to one corner (for ease
of cleaning). Each of the four wall surfaces is a roiling, hilly landscape of
cost-effective yet attractive tofu-colored paper. The tatami floors are equipped with soft
patches, meant to simulate marshland, I think. It's a magnificent expression of the
Despite its refusal to compromise form for practicality, this "building" stays
miraculously erect, although every time a truck goes by the entire structure shimmies and
sways like a treehouse in the wind. Call me crazy, but I think it's kind of romantic. When
the woman I have invited to my room suddenly leaps into my arms, fearing that the Big One
has hit Tokyo at last, I just laugh my big booming laugh, say "Tut, tut, dear,"
and try to extricate my foot from the hole it has punched through the floor.
Overall an artistic triumph, a landmark that dwarfs any Lego-based construction
heretofore. And they say the housing situation in Tokyo is tough. Ha! I am filled with
Many thanks to Adam J. Sorkin for this Rant.