June 10th, 2006



Well, screw soccer and screw painting a German flag on your face and shouting "Deutschland, Deutschland!" at strangers on the street to celebrate Germany's 4-2 win over Costa Rica (for those who come here for the football scores). I'm more interested in wondering how the Fernseturm would look if some giant picked it up, swivelled around to the East, and planted it in the middle of Tokyo.

Yesterday at the art openings at Jannowitzbrucke I ran into Japanese artist Shintaro Miyake, who told me he's performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie today between 12 and 2 and then again from 4 to 5pm. He's there as part of the big Berlin Tokyo show which spent a couple of months earlier this year atop the Mori Museum at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

I last saw a Miyake performance when, back in November 2002, he celebrated the demolition of the Shokuryo Building, Tokyo's old art hub in Saga, by dressing up as a sort of kabuki monster and painting a huge painting of a little girl on the floor of the courtyard. You can see images of that performance here. It was called Emotional Site, and it was an emotional sight indeed. This time, in Berlin, he promises to dress up again, and paint something yellow. I'll be there.

First, though, I'm going to inspect -- and probably take, unless there's something drastically wrong with it -- a flat in my old neighbourhood, Friedrichshain. Yes, I know I was going to be an urban pioneer and move to Berlin's worst district, but this place is "the Asian option": it's above an Asian food store, it's got patina to spare, it's right around the corner from my favourite Japanese cafe, Smart Deli, and close to the U5 line which leads to the Thai grocery on Alexanderplatz where Hisae and I shop for food. Most important, it's dirt cheap (just €350 a month including hot water and heating costs), which means that I'll be able to abandon it regularly for trips to Japan.

So the apartment, too, is "Berlin-Tokyo". I feel like I could lift it, like some huge Berlin Godzilla, swivel, and drop it down into Tokyo for three months a year.