14. Reversible Destiny

During the spring break, I took my family to Tōkyō for a week, staying at the Reversible Destiny Lofts, a concept apartment building in Mitaka.[1]

While the main reason for going was to provide my sons with a unique living experience, something I have tried to do with them every year. We also took time each day doing the usual touristy things, such as visiting Tōkyō Disneyland, the Ueno Zoo, the newly renovated Tōkyō Station, and the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.[2]

No matter where I went, though, I found myself looking for you. In the rush-hour hordes at Shinjuku Station, among the weekend shoppers in the warrens of Shibuya and Harajuku, in the lines snaking outside of Disneyland attractions, at the art museums of Roppongi, among the midday bustle of Marunouchi and Midtown . . . I scoured the city for you.

The thing was, I had stopped trusting fate long ago. Never once had it reunited me with that first Japanese love of mine, Mié, even though the two of us lived for decades in what was, and still is, for all intents and purposes a relatively small town.[3]

Yet, no matter how hard I looked I could find neither hide nor hair of you anywhere. Each evening I would return to the Reversible Destiny Lofts, defeated and convinced that destiny could not be reversed no matter how determined I was to nudge it along.

[1] The Reversible Destiny Lofts, built by architects and artists Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins in 2005, is a concept apartment building featuring two- and three-room circular apartments, with a kitchen in the center and brightly painted cubical and spherical rooms on the circumference. The floors are uneven and bumpy, treacherously so. There are hooks and poles throughout allowing residents to “play” with the apartment by hanging hammocks or bars from them. While not the most comfortable of places to stay, it is certainly interesting.

[2] The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is highly recommended for fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

[3] For more on this, read A Woman’s Nails or A Woman’s Hand.