Omotesandō (Tokyo) is a kilometer long avenue located between the special wards Minato and Shibuya, in Japan. It’s home of the most beautiful architectural showcase of the Easternmost Megalopolis, home of futuristic boutiques of some of the main fashion brands worldwide like Louis Vuitton store (Jun Aoki, 2002) Prada building (Herzog & de Meuron, 2003), Tod’s (Toyo Ito, 2004), Dior (SANAA, 2004), Omotesandō Hills (Tadao Ando, 2005) and Gyre (MVRDV, 2007): that makes this area the best luxury-goods fashion destination in Japan, and probably one of the best ever if you consider the pedestrian thoroughfare for the cool shopping district of Harajuku, with tiny streets where you can find a range of cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as alternative boutique stores sometimes owned by emerging local designers.
But Omotesandō is also home of a thing no one talks about: the savor of freedom and solitude. If you walk this area after 8 PM, when the shining doors of all flagship stores are closed and the welcoming Japanese clerks went home after taking care for the whole day to your materialism – because “Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist” as Tammy Faye Bakker (American evangelist and talk show host) once said. So if you are not into the “loneliness loop” that fashion may lead you to (a vicious cycle studied by economists and psychiatrists for more than a decade that involves two main factors: being sad and feeling lonely. Feeling sad makes us shop and shopping makes us sad, like the opposite poor Tammy declared, unfortunately), you can experience something unique and curious: some pure, beautiful, restorative quality time by yourself, basking in total silence being alone and shutting out the noise of the overstimulating fast world you’re living in. That’s called solitude, and it’s wonderful.
This is a little photo-reportage of Omotesandō after main shops closing time, a colored – yet obscure – stretch between underweight dismembered mannequins and golden dinosaurs’ skeletons, marble statues and neon lights, pale figures imprisoned inside iron and glass elegant cages with Italian and French names overlaid. Come with me inside this solitude-storm, and find Haruki Murakami’s words at the end of your path:
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.
You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over.
But one thing is certain.
When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.
That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Text and Pics by Niccolo’ Scelfo • Reykjavik Boulevard 2015 © All rights Reserved