Roppongi Hills glitz ‘n’ squalor

main1.jpgRoppongi Hills glitz, cast in an ironic light
International Herald Tribune June 5, 2006
…photographer Kishin Shinoyama has produced an elegant and attractive book of snazzy building and celebrity shots that define Roppongi Hills..Shinoyama recognizes the machinery for what it is and takes a perverse delight in framing those images that attest to its workings and to the artificial air that perpetually wafts through the vents, the densely cocooned, ultra-controlled environment that is Roppongi Hills.
Only a few feet away stretches the infamous and filthy metropolitan expressway, straddling the dirty noodle stalls and sex shops that make up the rest of Roppongi. There’s probably an urban moral to be drawn from all this, but Shinoyama slyly hides his message, inviting the reader to look and ponder and look againmore….

The thoughless squalor of Tokyo is boundless. Japanese just don’t care how crappy their housing is, and therefore fun sights like this one below are the norm. This typical tobacco store sits in the shadow of Roppongi Hills building on a scrap of land worth more than $3 million USD. Note the exposed illegal wiring, and hazardous pipes hanging out of this store that’s open for public business. Come on now!—They’re billionares, but they live like hillbillies. Sheesh.

tobacco store sits in the shaddow of Roppong Hills building

Besides being violation of a half dozen Japanese buidling and fire codes, this hanging-trash-on-the-outside of a building is just plain foolish in a country prone to earthquakes. One good shake and that illegally wired air-conditioner will drop off and hit someone walking on the street. Most of Tokyo looks the same or worse. Arrrg.
ANYWAY….Refer to the exhibit’s website for Kishin Shinoyama’s photos of Roppongi Hills glitz ‘n’ squalor at

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

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