Harajuku: Design Festa Drift
I ride the Yamanote line to Harajuku. I exit the train station and walk downhill, navigating the late morning crowds erupting over Takeshita Dori. I then cross the road and slide into backstreets. I find the Design Festa gallery, it’s a refurbished house with two wings and an exoskeleton made of scaffolding. In between the wings, there’s an okonomiyaki restaurant. I stop at the restaurant, drink a beer and burn some tobacco. It’s Saturday, which means the artists are here. I kill the cigarette butt in one of the ashtrays and walk inside.
She wears a straw hat, silver necklace with a letter ‘E’ pendent and a white spotted cream t-shirt. Her faded blue jeans end just above her ankles, revealing a brief opening of white skin and providing the transition to black slip-on shoes. Above her straw hat there’s a sign on the wall that reads ‘ZERO’. To her right is a wooden table. The table collects and presents the jewellery she is selling. Necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The sabi in every piece is a testament to craftsmanship. The simple wooden table compliments the naturalism of the jewellery. Behind her, on the wall, there is a framed photograph of a Western woman lifting a set of dumbbells.
He wears a blue and white striped polo shirt, baseball cap, and thinly framed glasses. He says he’s nearly eighty. A half-smoked pack of cigarettes forces its way from his shirt pocket. He says his artwork is commentary on nature, impermanence, and the industrial society. He says his aim is to capture transience. He collects flowers, leaves and twigs during his walks in the wilderness. Most of his trips are to the Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji. After collecting flowers, leaves and twigs he immerses them in a liquid-silver solution. The solution hardens them, helps them to resist the elements of time. He says his work is a comment on our insistence to stave off putrescence.
Then. Outside again, between the wings. I light a cigarette as I drift past the ashtray from earlier. Walk down some stairs, through the exoskeleton, and onto front streets. Navigating upwards, I disappear inside Takeshita Dori crowds.