The Tokyo trail of Barry Eisler’s fictional assassin continues (* Spoilers are included below, you have been warned!) and next up is the Nakagin Capsule Tower (page 125 & 130) in Ginza. This architectural wonder has featured a few times on Tokyo Fox in recent times as it featured in a BBC documentary and also doubled up as a “Nagasaki” love hotel in ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013).
It was built in 1972, the year when this Rain story takes place, and was claimed to be the tower of the future whereas these days it is a bit of a vacant rust bucket described in the novel as “a monument to an ideal that was promised but never came to be” though its still popular with photographers wanting to capture its interesting architecture. The building (below) is a fine example of Tokyo modern architecture and now you can actually stay there.
Cafe de l’ambre (below, page 131 & 133) is no stranger to Eisler as he also included it in ‘The Detachment‘ (2012) albeit a very brief reference at the start of the novel which saw John Rain and Ben Treven join forces. In ‘Graveyard Of Memories‘ McGraw leaves an envelope of information taped to the underside of one of the counter seats.
As for Hibiya Park (above, page 136), Rain sits on a bench there and reads some files about Fukumoto which were left for him by McGraw at the aforementioned Cafe de l’ambre.
The prestigious garden suburb of Denenchofu (page 137) in Ota-ku is where Fukumoto resides and where Raim rides to to find his impressive house in this expensive neighbourhood. The picture below is not Fukumoto’s residence but the station which is the symbol of this Ota-ku neighbourhood.
The arty Daikanyama (page 140) district of Tokyo is mentioned briefly but again no exact location is mentioned. Not sure what to add picture-wise so this giant sunflower (below) will suffice though no doubt it was not around in the early 1970’s when this story takes place. Just down the road from the sunflower is Mocha Coffee which is the kind of independent coffee shop I can imagine someone like John Rain frequenting when he’s in Tokyo. Rain follows the lady exiting Fukumoto’s house (in her yellow Porsche) to Daikanyama where she enters one of the clothes boutiques which the area is famous for.
Benzaiten Shrine in Inokashira Park (below, page 150 & 189) pretty much marks the end of the Kanda-gawa River which I cycled the length of back in April 2011. McGraw tells Rain to meet him at this “out of the way” shrine described as “a fusion of Chinese, Indian and Japanese styles.”
Kabukicho (below) is the slightly less salacious side of Shinjuku and Taro Club (page 151) is where Rain takes Midori to see some jazz musician. That club was a figment of Eisler’s imagination within the neon heart of darkness.
The New Otani Hotel at 4-1 Kioi-cho in Chiyoda-ku already has its place in popular culture due to its appearance in the 5th James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice‘ (1967) where it was used as the Osato Chemicals exterior. In terms of Rain locales, its lobby (page 191 & 213) is where McGraw tells Rain that Miyamoto will be waiting for him. When they meet they enjoy tea in the lounge overlooking the garden above.
In 2013 I wrote all about Zenpuku-ji (page 215) having been there after watching ‘The Barbarian And The Geisha‘ (1958) where an under-par John Wayne played the role of Townsend Harris who became the first Consul General to the Empire of Japan three years after it had opened up in 1853. The temple (below) is at 1-6-21 Moto Azabu and it has a monument in the centre dedicated to Harris. As for Rain, he goes here on his motorbike to collect his thoughts and reflect honestly whilst being the “sole living trespasser in a sanctum of the dead”
Shiba-koen and Zojoji Temple (below, page 273) stand side-by-side in the foreground of Tokyo Tower and Rain takes a woman here in the wake of some action. I said earlier that spoilers are included here but as this happens towards the end of the book I had better not reveal too many details.
Jikei Hospital (below, page 290) in Nishi Shimbashi possesses the morgue where a couple of unfortunate casualties are taken as the story unfolds.
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