Sunday, November 16, 2014

Standing in the Twilight

Would make a nice new home for
Yokohama's Silk Museum
One of the first places in nineteenth century Japan opened to trade with the West, the port city of Yokohama has long been famed for its unique examples of Western architecture from that period and onward. 

Built in 1910 to serve as a silk warehouse this storied structure (pictured above) is one of a handful of such buildings to have survived a devastating earthquake that rocked the region in 1923 as well as the ravages of WWII. After withstanding the firestorms of Mother Nature and war, in the end it's perhaps no match for human greed. Unable to turn a profit from this touchstone with the past, the current owner plans to turn it into rubble very soon.  

As of yesterday the building was still
Nov. 15 - Scaffolding goes up for
slated pull down. The office building
to the right, owned by the same
realtor, dates to 1911.
standing and as of today a petition to save it is still up on Change(dot)org for anyone interested in taking their own stand for this historic landmark before it falls to the wrecking ball.

Visit the Save [the] Silk Warehouse site and The Japan Times  to read more about the building and the architect who has tried to save it from demolition.

Related stories: 

Building Character
Shock to the System

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hitting the Mark

There I was standing on the northbound platform just minding my own business when I spied him out of the corner of my eye, calling out from the other side of the train tracks. He was hard to miss with his eight foot bow and arrows in tow, an amateur archer I supposed. From his platform perch he motioned in my direction, but he seemed to be beckoning to anybody but me and oddly enough, or not, I was the only one paying him any attention.

Then luckily, or not, his cries managed to penetrate the cool veneer of a young hipster (he wore sunglasses) who had just joined the ranks of the northbound traveling band. The young man picked up the piece of paper that pops across the way had been desperately pointing to all this time. "It's nothing," he screamed with a look of utter disdain as he flung the small scrap of certainly something to the south corner of the earth. When the wind returned it to whence it came I could just make out that that something really was just about nothing, simply somebody’s discarded receipt from the nearby Mos Burger fast food joint.

Looking a little sheepish the old archer did exactly what I would have done if I had been in his shoes - shift the blame on somebody else. So he saw an easy target and took his best shot, saying, "Sorry! I thought the foreign gentleman dropped it and that perhaps it was something important."

Suddenly the same crowd who had ignored this voice from the other side for the better part of five minutes were all ears, and all eyes for me. Their cold stares pierced my core like poison-tipped arrows. Never one to litter, “No it’s not mine,” I protested, but I cried out in vane. They had all turned away to board the just-arrived train, leaving me with all the blame. Feeling nothing but shame I acted a little insane and kicked that receipt as if I were kicking a field goal in a football game. Then as I watched it float to the ground below, my gaze fell upon the sharp eyes of my southbound foe with the bow and in them I saw the sense of supreme satisfaction. He had hit the mark and the mark was me.

 Note: These drawings are just temporary placeholders. I'm going to do them over in oils on canvas. In the meantime just imagine them in all their future glory!