Thursday, October 25, 2007

Farewell, Good Friend!

I remember when I first came to Japan back in the early 90s. I landed at Itami airport and caught the bus into Namba, where my brother was waiting for me. After we dropped my luggage off at his house in Sakai, he said, “Let’s go eat yakitori & sing karaoke!”

We caught the Nankai line back to Namba. It was a Sunday evening, the day before the start of Golden Week. I had never seen so many people! (The movie Pretty Woman had been a big hit in Japan only months before so all the girls were wearing thigh-high leather boots and red mini skirts – I didn’t know where to look!) We walked up Ebisubashi Street towards Shinsaibashi. Everything was a swirl of colours and noise – people and bright flashing neon seemed to blur together.

Suddenly the canopy over the covered shopping street ended. We walked into the open, just before the bridge crossing the Dotonbori River and gazed across the water to …

The Kirin Plaza Building

It was beautiful! A beacon of sanity in the shambolic confusion that surrounded me!

Sadly, like my hair, the Kirin Plaza Building will soon be gone. Yes, that’s right! Next Wednesday, October 31st, they will close its doors forever. One of my first memories of Japan will become just that – a memory.

So, you have one week to get down there and have one last look. If you have time, you can have a beer brewed on the premises at the ground-floor bar, and then check out the upstairs gallery, which is having a special exhibition – the History of the Kirin Plaza Building.