Find an Oasis in the Desert!

If you come to Tokyo, you find that each district has its own atmosphere. Tsukiji, Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Meguro, Roppongi, they are all different. The architecture is different, people working and living there are different. People at different time of the day or night are even different. When I go to Shinjuku by night, I feel I am going to the party on another planet in the Firth Element.

Usually I avoid Roppongi because it is so bling-bling. I prefer the Japan that favors shadow because it reveals light.

So, why I am even writing about Roppongi?

Because, I discovered its shadow. In the architectural desert of Roppongi district, there is one tiny oasis, the dimension of a Noh-scene. A Noh scene, is a square, formed of 9 smaller square, the dimension of 2 tatami each. Each square is named after its purpose: so for instance, you have the flutist space. The dimension are fixed by tradition, with a source in Nishi Honganji, in Kyoto. But it can vary slightly. So we have 9 times 2 tatami that approximates 4 sqm (2X2), meaning Noh scene measures 36 sqm.

But the important feature is that Noh scene is constituted of 9 spaces, therefore its name, koko-no-ma. whereas «koko» means 9 and «ma» means space. One «ma» is said to be the optimal space for Japanese people to feel confortable. Not too much space and no promiscuity either. Just the right space.

I have not scientifically checked whether this is true but I have checked that in Roppongi’s shadow, there is an oasis where, indeed, you feel comfortable.

It is a place for dinner, for aperitifs or cocktail, for parties. There is one thing that makes Coconoma (also the name of the restaurant) attractive: its huge window. There is a large window that makes you see the street as if looking into a huge aquarium filled with moving cars and people. As you gaze at this activity, you yourself, are in your oasis!

Welcome is discreet and warm, food is simple and very nice, and the wine cellar is gorgeous. You come to Coconoma with your friend, you leave much much later, with your lover. That’s the kind of place it is.


by Claire

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