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One Cup Sake™ + ATU 310
Tokyo • Japan
A story of love, sake and tall buildings
STORY & IMAGE → GARRY RIGBY © 2023
Prelude. Rookie • ルーキー [Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo]
There are three of them and although I am on a mission, I just can’t resist.
They have already busted a European chap with a rusty bicycle basket and are now shaking down a long-haired Japanese dude for having his shirt tails hanging out.
I think it must be love and One Cup Sake™ • ワンカップ 日本酒 ~ I just feel, I don’t know, as if I can do anything.
They have spotted me already, but I am pretty much untouchable with my bow tie.
The long-haired dude is now being frisked, arms spread against the wall as the older of the rookie cops conveys his bust to his boss on the other end of the walkie talkie ~ his face drops as I presume his sergeant reminds him what a complete idiot he is and to get on with something more important.
He is now eyeballing me with contempt, but still unable to approach ~ how can I reel him in?
Oh yeah, smoking a cigarette on the street is frowned upon ~ I take a long drag and stare him out ~ here we go.
“Show your ID.”
“I am an officer of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.”
“You need probable cause ~ beat it kiddo.” (David Lynch said that to me in Beverly Hills; See: ‘The Most Expensive Restaurant in LA‘). One is actually legally obliged to carry ID at all times and show it to the cops unless of course?.. yep, you guessed it ~ the bow tie clause + a bucket full of sangfroid and One Cup Sake™.
I dutifully extinguish my cigarette and stroll off to the Embassy of Sweden as the cops apprehend a pigeon for jaywalking.*
Part I. Bow Tie • ちょうネクタイ [Embassy of Sweden, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo]
The Japanese diplomatic police step aside ~ no match for a New & Lingwood bow tie (brown, with white polka dots), as I boldly enter the Embassy of Sweden. The faint whiff of Penhaligon’s ‘Lily of the Valley‘ leaving no doubt in mind ~ I’m leaving nothing to chance on this escapade.
“Name.” enquires the Swedish security guard.
“Rigby, Garry Hardy Rigby.”
Head snaps up, a sharp intake of breath as he takes in the bow tie, dark blue Armani jacket, all the way down to my creamy Campers®.
“State your business” ~ an almost imperceivable tremble to the voice.
I briefly glance down at my Longines, La Grande Classique (time is of the essence) and then present my best gimlet eye, no time to pussy-foot, this is a ATU 310!
“I am here to rescue a maiden.”
And I’m in!.. I know, he didn’t even bat an eyelid; its that bow tie, its a real killer and disarms almost anyone.
I blagged my way to the top of this tower in Akasaka once and then got stuck ~ three hours, waving and shouting my voice raw. Someone eventually called the Japanese Special Forces (it was a really posh tower) ~ by the time they got on the rooftop I was really annoyed but just shouted them down and stormed off in a huff, bow tie blowing in the wind. They have these signs everywhere in Tokyo that say ‘No Entry’ (立入り禁止), but never lock the door ~ ah bless.
“Hur kan jag hjälpa dig” enquired the receptionist. (She definitely not Swedish and I’m not, so why ask ‘How can I help you’ in Swedish is anyone’s guess. In these situations, just take a deep breath and let it go).
“I am looking for [redacted]”.
She was pretty cool actually, open-minded is the word I think.
“Sign this form”.
I comply immediately, the Montblanc® pen retrieved from my left inside pocket, leaves a delicate stroke of ink, a declaration of love and determination.
“Nej, she is not here”.
“Are you sure, please check again”.
Not even a sigh, just fricking Zen…
“I am sorry, [redacted] is not here”.
There really is no way to respond to this kind of behaviour, its like the tax office, just implacable.
Bow tie ~ totally ignored. I could have been wearing a shitty rag from Primark, these things meant absolutely nothing.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, it is an ATU 310 ~ but Jesus, gimme a break. I head for the exit enormously downcast, signs clearly stating ‘this the way out’ and despondently glance to my left… Ingen Ingång (No Entry).
Happenstance, indomitable spirit, bull, red flag ~ Muleta! I don’t care what language it is ~ the chase is back on.
One really must strut at this point, leaving no doubt in the mind of any observer this is your domain; never glance at your map or hesitate at a turning ~ just really go for it and hope for the best. If anyone looks at you, stare back with complete disdain (I smiled once and they tried to engage me in conversation ~ I didn’t speak Russian and certainly not Swedish now). I arrive at this door with more buttons to press than a button factory. God damn, I forgot my secret agent thingy so just pressed them all.
“Hej” someone said eventually.
“Hello, I am looking for [redacted]” ~ A click and the door magically opens; I presume if one has got this far, they just presume one should be there.
The taxis doors do this in Japan all the time but with lace curtains ~ its really disconcerting.
Anyway, here I am, I straighten my bow tie and march boldly on. For some reason the guy at the end of the intercom told me exactly what floor he was on so these elevator buttons are easy peasy… press, press, press ~ Voilà.
I hand him my business card ~ bilingual, Japanese on the reverse; FYI ~ same weave, weight and font as Paul Allen’s in American Psycho (I really don’t think the Swedish diplomat appreciated it at the time, but I love these little details).
“Hello, is [redacted] here”.
“No, I am afraid not” he replied in some confusion. I can see his thumb and index finger gently rubbing my credentials and although this is an awkward situation, perhaps he does recognise the quality.
“Are you sure”
Reluctantly he tears his gaze from the beautiful, 350gsm, subtle off-white coloured card and our eyes meet…
“Yes, I am sorry. There is no [redacted] here”.
I snatch the card from his hand and slam the door in his face.
Slamming I know, is usually done from the other side, but this is a ATU 310 and I have no time for Swedish diplomats enamoured by cardboard and no answers.
I take a quick swig of One Cup Sake™ and consider my options.
Intermission • 幕間
Hello • こんにちは, is nobody wondering what the hell is going on. Who would call their child [redacted], what is an ATU 310, who am I, why am I here, would one really wear creamy campers® with dark blue linen and who cares. Well, funny you should ask, I was just beginning to wonder that myself. But what with all the One Cup Sake™, the heat and bow tie, I really don’t know and maybe there is no rhyme or reason. I just got bored and slightly tipsy if the truth be known. However, its too late now ~ I’m in the heart of the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo and heading for the roof regardless. And don’t forget, this is still an ATU 310, so surely, once I find the maiden she can make some sense of it.
Part II. Elevator • エレベーター [Embassy of Sweden, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo]
Do I really want to continue. There are two elevators now; one I arrived in earlier and another. The other is a little different, just one big button ~ and its red. I take a deep breath; I’m all for pressing big buttons and getting high, but this one seems particularly portentous. I could just walk out and forget the whole thing. Am I really scared, or just scared of getting caught. I break all my own rules, I hesitate and look left to right, up and down ~ oh well, faint heart never won fair maiden.
Finally at the top. I alight from the elevator. The answer to all my desires, a quest almost fulfilled. Wow, blimey, gee whiz, what an absolutely spectacular view, its better than the ANA InterContinental. Well, not really, I actually have a suite at the ANA InterContinental on the top floor with a view nothing short of mind-blowing and this special telephone one can use, bringing anything you want before you even know you want it. And its so large, you have to take a string with you to the bathroom or leave bread crumbs. I have all these cupboards as well, full of beautiful Kimonos; I usually wear one for about an hour then just chuck it away. However, I haven’t got time for this rubbish, I’m on a mission. The view is still pretty darn good though, not mind-blowing, just spectacular and hopefully the maiden.
Tune next week…
Product Placement • 製品の配置
Sake • Ozeki | Scent • Penhaligons | Bow Tie • New & Lingwood | Watchmaker • Longines | Jacket • Armani | Footwear • Camper | Pen • Montblanc | Lodging • ANA InterContinental