Thursday, April 24, 2008

Completely Lost in Translation ...


I love Bill Murray almost as much as I love the opening shots of "Lost in Translation," but I have to say, Sofia Coppola was really spot-on with her interpretations of an American traveling in Japan. It's as endearing as it is completely and utterly outre. Perhaps as funky and vivid as a Kandinsky but still immersed in this proper culture of consideration and selflessness.

We wanted to visit the New York Bar in the Park Hyatt -- not really because of the movie, more of a desire for the view. As we headed further and further into a dark abyss of, what seemed to be, closed office buildings and industrial parks; despite the clear indications on our map my mind kept telling me that we must be heading in the wrong direction. The Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the most well-known and exclusive hotels in all of Tokyo, so it would have to be in a populated area. Right?

We walk up to this abandoned looking high-rise, that has no lights, no people, and no sign of life. Okay. We walk around and around, looking for some sort of indication that a giant hotel and bar might be hiding away. I say this, only knowing how the Japanese roll. I'd been before, and I've also experienced the "Palm Restaurant" in LA, which is the most unsuspecting party in the middle of Wilshire. We finally run into a security guard, who takes one look at us and pulls out a translated map that literally reads "How to find the Park Hyatt." I must say, what a good and absolute necessary usage of a map. By god, it is needed.

We follow his directions, walk around the block to the front of the building, though it admittedly is as sparse and unassuming as the back end. Of course the hotel lobby is on the 41st floor. Why wouldn't it be? The elevator spills us out into this mid-century shrine that had more teak than Frank Lloyd Wright would know what to do with. We walk around curiously, hoping to find another living soul. It's as if the hotel, though donning lights and traces of human kind, is also abandoned. We find another elevator, and cruise up to the viewing platform where we spill out into this quaint lounge that sits beneath a glass pyramid, a la Louvre. I know from what I have read that there is a bar that exists called "the new york bar," so we find another elevator, head to the top floor. When the elevator opens, its as if we're young charlie exiting the glass elevator and entering Wonka's backyard. There's live jazz, oodles of intoxicated socialites, and wall to ceiling glass windows that offer the most spectacular view of the city you could ask for. Why the buildings are all covered in hundreds of red lights, I didn't ask, for I know cities with taller buildings and just as many planes.

We knew going into it that it would be a one drink affair. At $20 a drink, we had thankfully already put ourselves into the mindset of attacking Japan at face value, for a constant conversion to US dollars would only dampen the fun (a nice segue i suppose into my upcoming summer in europe). We chatted with a nice British man, who was about to head out to the middle-of-the-night fish market, and were pleasantly, but I suppose only appropriately surprised when our bar tab came back with an entrance fee that was twice as much as our drinks. "For relaxing times -- make it Santori times," as Bill would say. Though we American girls still preferred the Malt's.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Middle-of-the-night fish market. Of course. It makes perfect sense. Reminds me of the David Lynch-esque cantina in downtown LA with the Virgin of Guadalupe behind bars and the 20-piece mariachi band playing to an empty room.