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Super Bank Zone / 19 April 2011

photo of a crane in the garden at Hibiya

In the garden at Hibiya. Photo © Gini

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You Are Here;
sitting by Sumida,
where tufts of bamboo
poke cheekily out of
neatly trimmed azalea
hedging; here and there
in full bloom.
Sumida, so close
to the harbour
smells of the sea.
I will follow her
into Tsukiji and
the Fish Market,
but here we part
company until the
evening when we meet
again; each with our own
impressions of the day
and each playing games
with our own dragons.

A rather mixed weather forecast mentions the possibility of rain, but I decide to chance setting out for Hibiya. I'm going to roll; I've missed the river and want to sit a while, hopefully in the sun, enjoying the water.

It's warm by the river and to the consternation of locals, I shed upper, outer layers and sit in a sleeveless top, writing for a while. When it is time to move on I roll to the end of the walkway to take photographs before going back to the exit ramp and joining the road through to Hibiya.

I photograph all the things I will need to remember, including the empty fountain and rill. In Tsukiji I photograph the big fish painted, or mosaic-ed, onto the side of a building and, on the other side of corner-cafe "Jonathan", the large shiny metal fish hung on the wall.

I roll through Higashi-Ginza, Ginza and finally Hibiya and head towards the public park. Sometimes these are rather boring spaces, much used for socialising and playing games, but often they are beautiful gardens too.

Entrance is over large, rough granite paving, pleasing to look at but very uncomfortable to ride on. I do see an end to it on my left and roll in that direction. The map tells me that I can complete a circle around a pond, so I set out.

On my right a massive stone wall of giant granite blocks and on my left trees arching over the pathway create a corridor leading to the pond. Emerging, I am greeted by the sight of a Japanese Crane stalking lunch in the reed bed.

I watch for a while and become aware of another unfamiliar bird sitting watching the Crane. We all sit keeping an eye on each other and suddenly, silently a cat appears to join in the watch.

Just when the Crane appears ready to strike and the cat moves carefully towards it, the whole scenario is interrupted by a noisy group of Japanese businessmen in suits. Pointing, laughing and shouting loudly, they run towards the action. I move on.

I had intended to explore the Imperial Palace grounds also, but as I head in that direction the sky darkens. Here I can see that the massive granite wall from earlier was part of the ancient palace moat. The water around it reflects the dark sky and carries a single white swan.

There is a lot of open space and no shelter, so I head back across the busy eight-lane road as the chilly wind stirs and buffets me about. Before I get to shelter large drops of cold rain are falling and I begin to look around for some warm refreshment.

The famous Mitsukoshi department store is the obvious choice, but after half an hour, six assistants, a free cake and helpful interference from other customers, the conclusion is that Japanese green tea is not available to drink here.

I can have coffee from a bar table which sits just under my chin, or English tea in a French cafe, but if I want Japanese, and at a decent table height, I will need to go next door. The Japanese fascination for all things Western surprises me.

The evening earthquake rocks everything for just long enough to worry, but I sleep like a log.