Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Regarding the November 3 story “Tokyo Station’s iconic brick building, witness to war, stands the test of time,” the Tokyo Station Hotel at the south end of the station building has always bothered me because it does not fit, and it destroys the symmetry of the station. I often have the chance to look down on the building from a vantage point high above in one of the nearby office towers. The station has a straight north-south configuration, but the hotel occupies what appears to be an afterthought, like a human appendix, a vestigial thing. The more I look at it the more annoying it is. Whereas the façade of the station faces the Imperial Palace the hotel is more oriented towards the recently renovated/rebuilt main post office building. It is quite impossible to balance the structure by adding a comparable extension on the north wing, but aesthetically that is what ought to be done or to have been done already, long ago.
If it is intentional then we might praise it as an outstanding example of Japanese "wabi sabi" aesthetics, or designed imperfection - although wabi sabi is habitually ascribed to traditional arts like Ikebana, Zen rock gardens, bonsai tray gardens, tea houses, ceramic ware (especially Hagi ware), and poetry (especially haiku) - and my reaction can be dismissed or at least framed as chronic culture shock. I will not cease to be annoyed by the apparent imbalance in the building, however.