Ext shots - drab, depressing Tokyo cityscape. Music starts. Int - in apartment - clean, soul-less. TOMOKO is in bed, asleep.

VOICE: Alice from Wonderland once said: "If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. "

We see her wake, enter bathroom. TOMOKO does eye-liner, stretches and leaves apartment.

Fade to black.



Train pulls into station. Commuters, worn down, travel to work. An empty phone lies lost on seat.

VOICE: There is a Japanese saying. In life, beginning is easy. Continuing is the hard bit. But sometimes we need a little push to even get us started.

TOMOKO walks over and sits down. She looks down and see the phone. Picks it up.

Sees text that says GET OFF PLEASE AT SHINJUKU.

Close up of TOMOKOS face. She looks intrigued. Fade to black. Up from black. TOMOKO is walking to Sequence walking to the lost property. She sees the lost property sign. Then a text appears on the phone.

PHONE: Hello Mr. Smith - Are you there yet?

She looks puzzled. Then takes a gamble...

TOMOKO (typing): Yes

PHONE: Then welcome Mr. Smith to Tokyo Architectours - your mobile e-mail guide to the best in Tokyo's architecture.

VOICE: Shall we begin? The first building’s not that far - just go to street level and we’ll find it.

TOMOKO smiles, and leaves barriers.


Ext: city streets, high rise - Tomoko standing in front of tall, dull building.

VOICE: As it’s your first time in Tokyo, Mr Smith, perhaps we should start with the basics. Or, rather, the conventional view.

Pan up from TOMOKO looking at a non-descript office building

VOICE: This is what most business visitors to Tokyo see - lots and lots of office buildings.

More office shots

VOICE: Welcome. Mr Smith, to the world of the salaryman.

Music kicks in (Ludovico Einaudi - I Giorni - Track 10) and then GVS of salarymen and office towers

VOICE: For me, it's not so much the look of this business district that's interesting, but what it represents. Salarymen work incredible hours. They live, eat and sometimes sleep in these glass towers. To understand what makes this lifestyle, and this architecture, possible, you have to realise that, until recently, we were a nation of rice farmers. Rice growing demands organised labour. And, more importantly, it demands llsomething called wa - or social harmony. Wa was needed to ensure a good crop. Wa prevented starvation. And Wa demanded group behaviour and self-sacrifice.

Pan up to see TOMOKO looking up at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Only through Wa can you get to build an office block like this. Self-sacrifice made this possible.

More shots of repetition.

VOICE: And in architectural terms, it can't be more evident today. The repeated form tells us behind these windows loyal workers are toiling away. There are no displays of individualism. Sobriety and conformity win the day.

TOMOKO sits in front of the WASHINGTON HOTEL, SHINKUKU, and draws hundreds of little windows.

VOICE: Here in the heart of the Japanese financial district, Tokyo still operates as a giant rice-growing village where individuality is frowned upon, and harmony demanded. Acting in a way not in line with the greater good is effectively deemed a sin. And that applies to the buildings as well.

TOMOKO walks to a vending machine, gets out a power drink and drinks it.

VOICE: Now - this tour really isn’t about repetitive office towers - so let's move on. But first I think a drink’s needed. Try one of our power boosters - and let's see where we go from here...


Train to Odaiba. Shots of buildings from a distance

VOICE: Let's head out to Odaiba. It's an artificial island across from central Tokyo. It used to be a centre for defence, but now it's home to a different display of power ... over the last two decades Odaiba’s seen dozens of buildings like these get built.

TOMOKO walks forward - the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Site) is revealed.

VOICE: This is Tokyo Big Sight - an international forum centre. Some say it’s a bit much. An eyesore. I think that misses the point. This building’s meant to be noticed. Compared to the West, Japan was late to industrialise; and then, just as they were getting to feel like world leaders, the Second World War hit the nation hard. So these monumental buildings clearly say - we've made a comeback.

TOMOKO walks across a big empty auditorium.

VOICE: And, of course, likellll any grand statement, they feel a bit empty.

TOMOKO walks across empty space.

VOICE: Look at me, they shout. Japan is important. It has to be - look how big our buildings are.

TOMOKO holds up a finger to the monument.

VOICE: These monuments are unequivocal. We're number 1. These buildings yell out: Tokyo is headed for the future.

TOMOKO walks across a bridge. TOMOKO stands underneath the

VOICE: So they have no choice but to be uber-modern. The only way is up, they say.

TOMOKO walks towards the NATIONAL ART CENTRE (Kisho Kurokawa)

VOICE: And like here at the National Art Centre, the philosophy is of civic improvement. The more modern the building is, the further society can get from the drudgery of the rice paddy field. These are national statements of intent.

TOMOKO on a Ferris Wheel

VOICE: Enough chat for now Mr Smith. Perhaps we can just enjoy the view... but remember, with national ambitions and economies, what goes up - usually comes down.


Flags of Rising Sun flutter in the breeze. TOMOKO walks up steps.

VOICE: Mr Smith, I now want to show you a more explicit side to this modernist vision. That of how national identity has entwined with corporatism and futurism.


VOICE: A place where business shows its loyalty to the state.

CU of Ambidex Head Office Building.

VOICE: Where, even unintentionally, the rising sun is aligned with economic ambition. And you see it everywhere.

Shots of other Rising suns. And ends on National Museum of Emerging Science rand Innovation.

VOICE: Since the Second World War, there has been a repeated attempt by architects to define what it means to be Japanese.

Slow zoom on TOMOKO.e

VOICE: This is called the theory of nihonjinron.

Revolving globe.

VOICE: A theory that defines Japan’s place in the modern world.

Wide shot of Fuji Television Building.

VOICE: It says Japan doesn't need to lose its soul to Westernisation - the Japanese are unique and have a long cultural and genetic history to prove it. It's no mistake to find the rising sun here in the Fuji TV Building. Whatever we broadcast, it says, it will still be Japanese. Don't you worry about that.

TOMOKO looking at the Sunburst Building, Ashihara

VOICE: And when you see it here on a driving school, it's done without irony or embarrassment. It says Japan is driving into a bright future and you should be too.

TOMOKO lifts egg up in front of Egg of Winds (Kaze no Tamago; also known as Okawabata River City 21 town gate).

VOICE: And there's the egg imagery as well. Rebirth, renewal - both needed for a country to move forward. But without forgetting where it came from.

TOMOKO walks towards the submerged egg in the Fukutoshin Shibuya Station

VOICE: The fresh dawn of the rising sun, the possibilities in an un-hatched egg. Architecture designed to remind the commuter on his way to his office about the duties of nationalism and self-determination. Something to keep us going when we're stuck at our desk at two in the morning.


TOMOKO on subway train.

VOICE: And now, Mr Smith, time for lunch.

TOMOKO inside a Tokyo restaurant.

VOICE: It is strange, Mr. Smith, but the closest thing that business travellers to Japan may see, that they call authentically Japanese, is this - the bento box. Carefully presented, unique from anywhere else, and deeply symbolic.

TOMOKO leaves the restaurant. TOMOKO walks past three nicely framed buildings.

VOICE: And this really is the point of this tour. From now on I want to show you what I call Bento architecture - the flip side to the corporate or nationalist buildings we've just seen.

Shots of lanterns and Buddha.

VOICE: And to prepare ourselves for this, we need a little spiritual guidance.

VOICE: It's been said Japan has no genuine philosophy. Only form. I’m not sure.

Yes, Japan never gave birth to a Confucius or a Buddha. It never saw a Jesus or a Mohammed rock its foundations. It was an island that was never conquered, and it never really embraced the seductions of Communism or the Enlightenment. For almost three hundred years until the end of the 19th century, Japan even shut themselves completely off from the world, shunning all foreigners.

VOICE: But because of this, Japan is perhaps the only modern nation that still has an abiding belief in the spirit world that stretches back to the villages and the shamans, the ancestors and the demons of the long dead past.

VOICE: And perhaps that’s why the best architecture we shall see accepts that to be Japanese is to be simultaneously living in the past, the present and the future.


VOICE: It's an idea summed up by this Gymnasium: a modern vision that still reminds us of ancient Imperial palaces.

TOMOKO makes a paper bird. She is outside DESIGN 21. It is folded like a giant origami paper fold.

VOICE: If another culture took a cultural symbol and turned it into a building it could so often seem gauche or clumsy. And yet here, the Origami fold of a pitched roof seems natural.

TOMOKO sits before shop HHstyle.

VOICE: And when a design shop is built like a modern vision of an ancient fortress, it doesn’t stand out like a painful mistake. But blends in.


VOICE: Another architectural element you see organically blending in, is where modernity and nature are worked into a project simultaneously. Japanese traditional culture springs from a oneness with nature. But the sterile industrial buildings we’ve seen seem out of step with this tradition.

It's clear the landscape in which most Tokyoites live is created by human effort - every leaf on every tree is man-made. But its also clear that we, the Japanese, while living in one of the most crowded and artificial landscapes on earth, adore the natural.

And so the business district is an aberration - because generally in Tokyo, nature’s barely separated off. Things are simultaneously cultural and natural, constructed and wild. It is artificial nature, refusing to make a distinction between what is and what is not man-made.

The Japanese refusal to say what is natural or cultural shows how strongly the persistent idea of the spirit world is here. An animist philosophy that says the spirit of nature is with us always - in a world both constructed and simultaneously outside human control.

TOMOKO walking in parklands:

VOICE: And so we see iron in greenery...

VOICE: Painted rocks.

TOMOKO looking shops in Harajuku.

VOICE: Grass where grass shouldn’t be....

VOICE: Natural materials used on modern designs.

TOMOKO looking at Onward Daikanyama.

VOICE: Treelines etched on walls.

TOMOKO looking at building covered with clouds.

VOICE: Clouds caught by buildings.


VOICE: And museums formed from rough stones.


Wide shot of a lily covered lake in Tokyo. Buildings rise from the other side.

VOICE: Of course, nature is being constantly threatened by the population density of Tokyo.

Close up of teeming crowds.

VOICE: It is one of the most crowded places in the world, and yet there is still a sense of deep isolation to this city. Tokyo has been described as an octopus pot society.

Wide shot of Tokyo cityscape - and close up of buildings.

VOICE: Each person lives alone in their pot, cut off from others. Their only link a fraying piece of rope holding all the pots together. We even call the end result - hie-sabi: living in the sphere of the cold and lonely.

Close up of quirky building.

VOICE: But there is architecture that tries to battle this. Architecture that focuses on details - like asymmetrical windows - trying to break down the hard lines.

Pan down from Nakagin Capsule Tower

VOICE: Or buildings like this Capsule tower - that says the future is going to be crowded - let’s make a virtue out of it. Live our lives in pods, pare down on material possessions. Achieve a Zen-like calm through small things...

Random building and then the Spiral Building

VOICE: And you can see again and again this beauty in small details. Where big buildings are broken up to get rid of the tyranny of symmetry.

Cut to Undercover Lab apartments.

VOICE: Or where the lack of space is turned into a virtue - and a building appears magically suspended in the gap in the sky.

TOMOKO looks up to Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center

Voice: Or even the office tower that branches out, like a tree or a totem, finding the space where it can.

Montage of small details in buildings.

VOICE: And, Mr Smith, if you look around you can see these details everywhere:

concrete garnishes on rooftops,

steel epaulettes on corners,

bug eyed windows staring out.

This modernistic attention to detail beguiles and entertains.

TOMOKO looks up at JSubway Architecture - Iidabashi

VOICE: It is a sort of sci-fi baroque.

TOMOKO walks down a corridor of reflecting glass.

VOICE: These futuristic distractions act as pressure valves against the crowds, against the responsibilities of salarymen.

TOMOKO looks up at Meisei Web, Meguro, Edward Suzuki

VOICE: They allow us to forget the social burdens of adult life and enter a magical world of childhood fantasy. Where buildings become insects.


VOICE: Or robotic sentinels - watching over the city.

TOMOKO visits K- Museum

VOICE: These buildings seem to come from some fantasy land - or from the future. Creeping into the city - providing a bridge between two worlds - a sort of window between fantasy and reality. And their whimsical designs make living in this highly structured society just a bit more manageable.

TOMOKO passes Ueno Park, Police Koban in the park.

VOICE: In this way they are like strange creatures that appear in unexpected places.

VOICE: Their hard lines and edges make it seem as if they are protecting us from something. As if an ancient guardian spirit lives in these machines.

They are the perfect symbol for police booths.

TOMOKO passes Earthecture Sub-1

VOICE: And they appear as if from nowhere - surprising us from around corners - ever vigilant.

TOMOKO walks around Ariake Sports Center.

VOICE: You can't look at a building like this without thinking it's some giant, benign creature, watching over the city. Ready to fend off the next Godzilla attack.

And by so pointedly saying this is the future - these buildings are optimistic - they say that despite your current troubles the future will happen - and this is what it looks like.

TOMOKO visits ST MARYS TOKYO. We see the roof glinting in the sunlight.

VOICE: It is not surprising, then, this form of modernism is used for religion, like here at St. Marys Cathedral. The style lends itself to the message. It offers a newL dawn.

VOICE: The paradox is these modern Christian sites are built on a message from 2000 years ago.

Perhaps that's why futuristic religious architecture works better in Japan than in the West - because, like other facets of society - the Japanese are happy to live with buildings that are simultaneously of the past, the present and the future.

TOMOKO sees Airspace Tokyo - Kitamoagome

VOICE: Yet by being so obviously modern these buildings quickly date. This spaceship of a building is ready for destruction - to be replaced by something that probably looks even more like an extra from Battlestar Gallactica.

Shots of construction and destruction.

VOICE: Unlike in Europe where buildings are treated as if they are sacred, there is no sense of outrage this building is being torn down to make room for its successor. Everywhere you look you can see destruction, construction, demolition, renewal. The city has an uneasy energy - “build, build, build” it says, less our past catches up with us.


Japanese people in street - and TOMOKO going to next building.

VOICE: This constant building and re-building comes deep from within Japanese psychology. Shintoism tells us life is an illusion - all is transient. At the same time, Tokyo's recent history - with the city destroyed again and again by earthquakes, war and fire - has left a deep impression.

TOMOKO sees Wedge building

VOICE: Some buildings almost expect to be destroyed. Willing an earthquake to happen.

Glass and Stone Building

VOICE: Their replacements peek through the destruction.

White Architects studio

VOICE: Others seem transparent- as if they can be blown away. Saying: you tempt fate if you appear anything but impermanent.

Fashion building

Some buildings look like they're dressing up. Still putting on a metal cloak to protect themselves from the cold world outside.

TOMOKO in front of RISE

VOICE: Or perhaps it’s that they are ready to throw off their clothes, and embrace the future.

It is theatrical, comical, and impermanent. The perfect design for a cinema...

TOMOKO in front of imbocho Theater building

VOICE: Or a theatre - dressed as if for a Noh play. You can't help but feel if you look under the folds you'll see the building’s true face.

TOMOKO in front of Style shop Roob-5

VOICE: These buildings are like modern Geishas - their glittering Kimonos to entice you, seduce you. And their beauty is purposefully fleeting.


VOICE: It's not surprising then, that shops devoted to beauty like this hair-salon should be, in itself, superficially - on so many levels - beautiful.

Boutique Alexandre Herchcovitch

VOICE: And here the shop takes it to the ultimate level - where artifice is everything - and nothing about what is hidden within is revealed - and yet you know - whatever it is - it is to be desired.


VOICE: These shops are for those who are so rich they don’t feel a need to shout about it. Discretion, elegance, refinement is the key. These are jewellery boxes in steel and glass.

We are in the shopping centre - Japanese mill around, luxurious brands are everywhere.

VOICE: But for the majority of shops such understatement would be the road to ruin. Most have to stand out in a city inundated with sigl rns, adverts, promotions and offers.

TOMOKO walks through the shops, taking in Mikimoto, Dior, De Beers, Prada, Uniqlo.

VOICE: How else to get the public’s attention? Shopping, after all, is a national pastime.

Some say all this materialism is at odds with a traditional culture when people once lived in a materially circumscribed world with small houses, simple clothes, few possessions.

But nowadays 90% of us are middle class and if you are stuck in an office, then wearing these pretty foreign brands show the world you are international, modern. It gives you a sense of purpose. Or at least, Mr Smith, it cheers up the girlfriends, mistresses and wives who shop here.

TOMOKO looks up at the H&M building - a white vision of light in front of her.

VOICE: This is where people - quite literally- buy a vision of the future. A future of happiness and meaning.

TOMOKO visits the PRADA building - a glass.

VOICE: And big desires require big architectural statements. The building becomes the brand. Like this massive advert for Prada in glass. The sort of architecture that gets design editors salivating.

TOMOKO looks at the DIOR building.

VOICE: I’m not sure what you think of them, Mr Smith, but these buildings seem a little fickle to me.

TOMOKO looks at the LUIS VUITTON building.

VOICE: Yes, they are a bit witty and pretty - but I can’t get excited at a building that is just another office block with a front made to look like a pile of Louis Vuitton suitcases.

TOMOKO looks up at the DIOR building.

VOICE: Perhaps it is the repetition of theme that is draining - the innate conservatism of those who buy here means that this is viewed as a luxury shop because this is what a luxury shop has to look like. Quirky - but not too quirky. Corporate - but not too corporate.

TOMOKO looks in mirror outside DIOR building.

VOICE: And bigger than the emptiness you see when you look in the mirror.

TOMOKO looks at the LUIS VUITTON building.

VOICE: If it didn’t look like this then it wouldn’t be a shop, really. So we have the same shop but in different colours - usually done by a foreign architect for a foreign brand - it’s just the little black dress re-invented.

Montage of shops. Music stops. TOMOKO takes the bags she has been carrying with her and unpacks them - to reveal that they contain just the things she started with.rr


VOICE: Of course, it’s not all about luxury brands. A big part of Tokyo is the architecture of distraction - a world of liberation from the pressures to conform. This is a land of fantasy providing peace from the stresses of office politics and relationships. There's a reason why 90% of Japan watches over 3 1/2 hours of TV a day - it means they don’t have to talk.

VOICE: Instead, they can retreat into the world of Manga. Manga, which means whimsical characters, is a realm of comic imagination - and it’s massively popular.

VOICE: Some people think it’s all horribly vulgar - but if you are a lowly salary worker stuck at the bottom of a rigid society perhaps being vulgar is the only way to feel alive.

VOICE: It’s not really a new art form though - it’s heavily influenced by Japanese wood cuts from previous centuries.

VOICE: But it represents a great deal. A significant part of communication in Japan is non-verbal. Images are used to avoid shattering the strict state of harmony. Speech is considered too delicate to deliver a message... so to function effectively, society here has to make its statements through other means. And to really appreciate this, Mr Smith, we have to enter the mind-altering world of Manga architecture.

The ASAHI BEER HALL is in the distance.

VOICE: Where better to start than here - the Asahi Beer Hall - locally known as the golden turd. They say this building replaced the city’s last remaining wooden pub - now it is a hallucinatory advert designed to sell an intoxication. Which I suggest we try.

TOMOKO drinks the beer. Music starts. TOMOKO walking beside long mirrored wall.

VOICE: Mr Smith, now you feel a little different - perhaps we can take a step closer to the hidden world of Tokyo. Let’s go - as Alice would say - through the Looking Glass.

Odd sculpture outside CHILDRENS CASTLE.

VOICE: In the West you divide clearly the adult and the child’s world - the child’s world is enchanted, full of fairies, magic. The adult world is rational, sensible, based on logic. Growing up is conceived of moving from enchantment to disenchantment.
TOMOKO walking through a line of traffic cones.

VOICE: But in Japan, our desire for universal social harmony means we’re constantly having to side-step anything seen as too different, critical or competitive.

TOMOKO walking past a series of Manga-like characters.

VOICE: And so our lives are made more tolerable by the constant child-like reminders of inversions, when the enchanted, the ridiculous, the surreal are allowed and encouraged. This is where the world of Manga comes to life - it makes us forget ourselves.

TOMOKO under giant chefs head.

VOICE: And allows us to glimpse the spirit world. A world where the Mad Hatter’s Tea party springs to life.

TOMOKO outside the M2 building.

VOICE: A liberating world where the conventions of architecture are thrown to the wind.

TOMOKO outside Children’s Toy House - enters and meets residents.

VOICE: A world where utopian dreams can be imagined - where we can return to a child-like innocence and undo adult failures and shortcomings. It’s perhaps no surprise that in this block of children’s toy-houses there lives an anarchic music collective intent on world revolution.

TOMOKO outside Unhex Nani Nani

VOICE: And we see the same themes repeating - the desire for buildings that offer protection from apocalyptic devastation - like this benevolent spirit in the guise of the thinking machine.

TOMOKO outside Ayoyama Technical College

VOICE: Or this Manga robot, ready to spring to life and attack the demons that haunt us.


Shots of girls in Victorian Maids outfits.

VOICE: And it is not just the buildings that are dressed up to play their part in the spirit world. Costume or cosplay is another form of escape from the pressures of life - change your outfit and you can become whoever you want to be. But, of course, being adults, it’s a fantasy quickly infused with hormones.

VOICE: There’s good money to be had in dressing up like a Victorian maid. Alice would be shocked, I’m sure.

VOICE: But unlike in the West, there’s no Victorian prudishness over Manga porn. Sex here is a neutral subject - sex is natural - and it’s only logical the architecture of fantasy you’ve just seen is also here in Tokyo’s biggest red light zone.

VOICE: Here are the famous love hotels - sometimes with complimentary maids’ outfits. They’re hotels that rent by the hour, allowing you and your partner, Mr Smith, to act out whatever you desire.

VOICE: So you can be a cyber-trojan in this one.

VOICE: Or pretend you’re rescuing your lover from a Roman Earthquake here.

VOICE: Of course, Mr Smith, being a businessman on your own in Tokyo, I understand you have needs, so I can arrange for a girl to visit you in one of the rooms if you want... That was a Japanese joke, by the way.


Time lapse shot of night time falling.

VOICE: Now, Mr Smith, as night comes, Tokyo dissolves into a world of light. Buildings seem to fragment, only to be replaced by neon outlines. And finally salarymen begin to leave their jobs.

And go down to street level to eat - where they are met by manga representations of what’s on offer. By now it begins to get difficult to tell the difference between illusion and reality - shop windows offer tasty dishes, but they are all plastic. Daytime constraints of reason and logic begin to unwind into the comical, the desirable.

TOMOKO enters Trick or Treat Horror Dining.

VOICE: Where spirits, good and evil come out to play... fancy a drink?

VOICE: I recommend the red wine. The fantasies we see in architecture during the day really do seem to come to life at night.

Street shots of hostess bars

VOICE: For others it offers a cover of darkness to explore different desires. There are literally thousands of hostess bars and massage parlours here. We call it the pleasure district - or the floating world - where actions somehow are made inconsequential by the artificial light.

VOICE: It is a world only made possible by the wealth of the salaryman. A world needed to make the salaryman’s life tolerable.

TOMOKO outside fetish bar.

VOICE: Why don’t I suggest a small club I know. It’s the perfect place to get rid of any stress you might have.

VOICE: I think clubs like this are a direct result of the stifling conservatism we saw at the beginning of this tour. The urge to retreat into pure fantasy is at its finest here.

TOMOKO leaves club

VOICE: I hope you enjoyed that, Mr Smith. You must be tired, but perhaps we can go to just one more place.

TOMOKO appears in street and looks up.

VOICE: It’s just up ahead...

Tall tower appears. Next shop we are high above Tokyo.

VOICE: Enjoy, Mr Smith, the floating world of Tokyo...and thank you for taking this tour.


We are back in TOMOKOs flat - she is asleep with the Blackberry by her side.

VOICE: And so Alice in Wonderland said to herself: I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up yesterday morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!


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