On my walk to AIT this morning I came across a wonderful exhibition of historical photographs charting the history of the Berlin Wall. The images look like they have been specially glued to the long concrete wall of the German Embassy that runs up along the hill by Arisugawa Koen in Hiroo. I found myself walking like a crab, sideways along the pavement, looking carefully at each large image. You can see the selection on the embassy website link above. Many of the images I had seen before, many were new to me.
The experience of unexpectedly coming across such an exhibition is rare and always satisfying. After a few moments of adjusting oneself to engaging with the presentation (a part of me continues to walk to AIT), stopping in the street to look and read is intensely nice. This particular exhibition, commemorating 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, looked all the more sharp for being pasted on the long grey concrete wall of the embassy compound which I walk past most days.
As an aside I am now reading The Yamato Dynasty on the loo, and I started to think that there is an impassable wall in the middle of Tokyo in the form of the moats surrounding the Imperial Palace. Moats are very clever for being negative structures, inclines into the earth. They keep people out and also provide aesthetic pleasure, by housing swans and sweeping vistas. I suppose they crucially also keep the Imperial Family in. This got me thinking how any 'Fall of the Imperial Moats" would necessitate strong swimmer climbers who, instead of knocking walls down, would have to build bridge-like structures across the moats or ferry people over in small craft. This is clearly the domain of the stealthy folks living in Iga and Koga, the ninja.
Occasionally they are partially breached, as we saw in October 2008 when a British man living in Spain dove in and started to climb one of the moat walls. It was a scene from Planet of the Apes - the naked barbarian hurling rocks at the police trying to evade capture. He was caught and arrested I believe.