The Old, Old Thing

Sometimes the new, new thing is actually an old, old thing. This morning, while walking Pippi, I noticed this gate near my house for the first time. I have passed this way on countless occasions but today the gate’s charm registered with me. I imagine it is early Showa vintage — one of my absolute favorite points on Japan’s architectural time line. The original house seems to be extant but so heavily re-done that it is practically beyond recognition. I am not fully convinced that it is even used as a house anymore (but it probably is).

As you can see, the gate is made of wood and has a kind of Medieval aura. I am particularly drawn to the swirly, metal hinges. I also like the way the adjacent masonry wall steps up the hill — nice composition and abstraction of the natural topography. It is possible to catch a glimpse of the garden beyond though it intentionally remains something of a mystery. The whole shebang seems a bit incongruous with Roppongi Hills across the street but that’s Japan for you!

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