During an April trip to Japan, I interviewed one of my favorite architects, Kengo Kuma. He's a busy guy, so our conversation didn't begin until 10pm on a Wednesday night. Yeah, Tokyo is that sort of place.
Our chat took place in the rooftop conference room of his Minato-ku headquarters in Tokyo, a few blocks from where his design for the 2020 Olympic Stadium is currently under construction. Kuma-san got his assistant to bring us up a couple espressos, so I was pretty wired. But we got along quite well, not least because Kuma's calling card is his use of wood in construction and I happen to know a lot about wood – I'm descended from three generations of lumberjacks, and was born in a logging camp. (FYI: sugi is the Japanese word for cedar.)
After the interview ended, Kuma headed downstairs for another meeting and I picked up my wife from a nearby bar. We decided to pop in on the Big Echo Shibuya location, and put down our money for the karaoke chain's excellent late night all-you-can-sing deal. For 1900 yen each, we got to sing Springsteen and Tom Petty tunes at the top of our lungs until 5am while a nice young Japanese man brought us mugs of draft Asahi. Thank god for soundproof private rooms.