July 15th, 2004


What? No Wi-Fi?

Preparation for the launch is gathering apace, so there's not much time for entries currently, but here's a few thoughts.

I finally watched Lost in Translation at the weekend. I quite liked it. A very slight film, but there's no problem with that. I was interested to see that it was set in the Park Hyatt Tokyo. This hotel opened when I was living in Tokyo and I've had drinks a few times in the lobby on the 40-something storey. If there's a hotel which is screaming Towering Inferno or Massive Earth Tremor Now! more loudly, I've not been there. One day, when I'm rich, even momentarily, I'd like to stay there for a few days. But you can still sit in the lobby and look out/down/across Tokyo for the cost of a cup of coffee or cold beer. It's a better view than the twin towers of the Metropolitan building and certainly a more relaxing ambience. Ah, those tiny ants beneath me must be some millennial terrorist group planting some deadly nerve agent to kill us all. Eh?

The basic guest room comes in at ¥46,000, but judging by the room shots, I think the film characters were staying in the fancier rooms. They're hiding the prices on those. 4-and-a-half man doesn't seem that bad for a night to be honest, given the chance you might witness the swimming pool smashing its way through the leafy fronds of the atrium at any moment when the big one hits. I recall it being that price seven years ago. And, of course, you will assume correctly that the hotel makes mention of the film being set there, Notting Hill style. They may even be getting lounge singers to perform Scarborough Fair every night for those seeking to recreate the authentic movie experience.

Of course, the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku is in one of the few parts of Tokyo where high-rise development is allowed and I should point out the stringent building regulations in the area. The building is a shining example of late 20th century Japanese construction work and employs all kinds of doohickeys and widgets to ensure that even it wobbles, it won't fall down. So, either you'll witness the city being destroyed beneath as you sip your Brandy Alexander or you'll realise that all that fancy construction talk was just bunkum to raise the budget so they could pay hefty backhanders to politicians and the mob.

Mind you, it doesn't look as precarious as the Sofitel in Ueno. That one really is just waiting for Godzilla to take a swipe at it. Who knows, there may be yet more dangerous looking hotels that have been constructed since.

If anyone fancies taking me away for a dirty weekend though, the Park Hyatt would swing me around fairly sharpish.