Tuesday, November 22, 2011

gaijin in her black suede spikes

Here in my Akasaka hotel, I can't sleep. I get dressed and walk to Roppongi, through a not-unpleasantly humid night in the shadows of an exhaust-stained multilevel expressway that feels like the oldest thing in town.

Roppongi is an interzone, the land of gaijin bars, always up late. I'm waiting at a pedestrian crossing when I see her. She's probably Australian, young and quite serviceably beautiful. She wears very expensive, very sheer black undergarments, and little else, save for some black outer layer - equally sheer, skintight, and microshort - and some gold and diamonds to give potential clients the right idea. She steps past me, into four lanes of traffic, conversing on her phone in urgent Japanese. Traffic halts obediently for this triumphantly jaywalking gaijin in her black suede spikes. I watch her make the opposite curb, the brain-cancer deflector on her slender little phone swaying in counterpoint to her hips. When the light changes, I cross, and watch her high-five a bouncer who looks like Oddjob in a Paul Smith suit, his skinny lip beard razored with micrometer precision. There's a flash of white as their palms meet. Folded paper. Junkie origami.

This ghost of the Bubble, this reminder of Tokyo from when it was the lodestar for every hustler on the face of the planet, strolls on and then ducks into a doorway near the Sugar Heel Bondage Bar. I last came here right on the cusp of that era, just before the downturn, when her kind were legion. She's old-school, this girl: fin de siècle Tokyo decadence. A nostalgia piece.

William Gibson, 'My Own Private Tokyo'
Wired magazine, September 2001.


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