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Quiet day by the river / 19 September 2013

Blue sky, clear with just a hint of autumn haze, greets me in the morning. Back pain and balloon hand have been with me all night. I guess this will be another quiet day. The temperatures are climbing back up into the 30's, but the air still has an autumn feel.

For the first time since I have been here we switch off the air-con and open windows for the whole day. I watch the curtains breathing in the wind, if anything I am less mobile than yesterday. I get offered a skin patch to reduce swelling and ease pain and eagerly accept. 

With a delicious sense of decongested lightness around the affected area of my back, I am able to roll to the river. The plan is to find a comfortable way into a rather good looking supermarket in River City. I say good looking because I like the bunches of flowers and posies around the entrance. I enjoy the similarity of flower arranging sensibilities between Japanese and Danish florists. I cannot pass a Japanese florist (and there are many in Tokyo), without being tempted inside.

Sometimes I think of Tokyo like a computer - there is always more than one way to get the same result. The ramp down to the level on which the shop entrance sits is a little steep. To counter any chance of slipping it is ridged; just what I don't need - anytime, but especially now.

Entrance to the tower housing the supermarket is through the garden walkway above the river. Inside is an impressive empty space clad in striated marble in various colours, but predominantly black. A short corridor leads to a very aggressive lift and a short journey down takes me to the correct level.

The little supermarket is the most international I've seen here, with its spacious layout, and quantity of foreign products. The various areas are named in French and the 'boulangerie'  has a selection of French bread. In Tokyo there are many French bakeries where the bread has an elegant Japanese twist to it. They also include a Japanese version of 'Danish Pastry' which is much closer to the original Viennese Bread that is sold in Denmark.

I enjoy making the connections and playing with the words. And I buy some unknown, seasonal Japanese food for its attractive strangeness.

Rolling back alongside the river, I see echoes of yesterday's orange sky as the sun sets over her swollen waters. I cross two bridges, one of them has creative, sculptural seating each side of the bridge for the few people who wish to smoke outside (most pavements contain no-smoking signs). There is a small shrine included in one of the seating areas.


Sumida shines silver, lit with orange fire
as the sun hides behind the tower blocks
of Tokyo. Fat with tropical waters she
lurches drunkenly inches from overflow.
Playfully shifts her bulk to and fro
slapping concrete as she rolls.
Whisps of teased-out white
curl across the darkening sky,
sudden drama of wind
soon forgotten. Only Sumida
remembers Man-Yi. Only
Sumida ignores the sea
monster, swollen with power.