As we head for Meiji Jingu Gaien, we walk by the construction site for New National Stadium. The service entrance periodically opened, allowing us to see what was going on inside, but we were overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. When we finally arrived at the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, those statues really were there, in a place not far from a shopping district.
I once interviewed Okuno about his neighborhood. It was a chat about how the neighborhood where you grow up is the neighborhood you love. Born in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, he moved to Saitama to attend university. While still in school, he commuted to Shimokitazawa to perform at a small theater. After graduating, he moved to a neighborhood two or three stations removed from there. Okuno told me he wanted to live in a place with a bit of separation from everything that was going on in Shimokitazawa.
Sendagaya is a neighborhood surrounded on three sides by the green spaces of Shinjuku Gyoen, Meiji Shrine, and Meiji Jingu Gaien. It's also not far from terminal stations in Shibuya and Shinjuku. The neighborhood's countenance changes rapidly as you walk. On the way back from Meiji Jingu Gaien, I felt a certain solitude in the lights that come with the dusk.
It's 1,215 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.