I have to admit that I’m slowly adjusting to Japan and all its oddities. I no longer dance to the train station “theme” tunes that play when you board or get off a train. I don’t stop to laugh at politicians waving in white gloves out of vans. I no longer get creeped out by the eerie robotic voices from the advertising vans or the eerie tunes from the rubbish truck. I take my shoes off without thinking. I no longer have the urge to stare at perfectly made-up women sporting white face masks (although I did stare at the leather-bondage themed one. That was too much to ask. Incidentally, you can buy one here.)
However, today was an all new experience. I think I saw a constellation of a man clubbing a monkey to death.
The story begins, unromantically, with housework. The kitchen floor needed to be mopped. So the logical solution was to mop myself and Calle out the front door and not come back until it was dry. This meant we had to go out for lunch. What a shame.
It was a Sunday and past 2pm and so our options weren’t great. We walked down to Daimaru department store in Yamashina and went for “Italian”.
Of course, you don’t get ham and cabbage pizza at a real Italian. The cabbage seriously didn’t help things but it wasn’t bad. I tend to find pizza is nearly always edible – never great, never atrocious. It’s a boring but safe option.
But we didn’t decide to go to the Italian place for the pizza. We went because of the salad bar. The salad bar wasn’t some tired lettuce but a whole array of cress, broccoli, tomatoes, ratatouille-style pumpkin, baby corn, sweetcorn, green beans, carrot, chick peas, kidney beans, pasta salad and potato salad. Tomatoes and chickpeas are really expensive in Japan so they were, in effect, a luxury.
We left with near-bursting stomachs and were casually groaning our way down the stairs, when the shopping centre erupted into music. Organ music.
The grand atrium contains a giant organ on the third floor level. The organ is not real – or if it is, no-one was actually playing it. Fake organ music streamed through the shopping centre and the ceiling lit up to reveal some constellations and shooting stars.
I guess the shopping experience is managed very differently in Japan. The 4pm Organ and Constellation Time really increases sales. I suppose.
However, I tried zooming in on the constellation to work out exactly what it is. But it looks like a man clubbing a monkey to death. Which one is it? Ideas please?