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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2003
All I want for Christmas is Mori Living
By AMY CHAVEZ
How's your life space these days? Do you have the correct balance of relax space, social space and, say, foot space? In Japan, space is a topic of constant discussion. Hair salons are called "hair space" and companies tout products for "your enjoy living space."
Why the obsession with space in Japan? Because there isn't any! When foreigners come to Japan and move into our first apartment, we feel a bit like we've been punished and forced to live in solitary confinement. And you definitely don't buy anything new. "I just bought a sofa," you say to your spouse.
"A sofa? Where are you going to put it?"
"If we stand it on end, it'll fit perfectly in that corner."
"I have a better idea," says your spouse, axing off the arm rests and wedging the sofa into the tokonoma.
Well, now there is no need to ax off, nor even whittle down, furniture to fit it into small spaces anymore. Because real living space has arrived in Tokyo!
It's called Mori Living: vertical living, 100 meters above ground. On the 42nd floor, you'll not only have that space all to yourself, but you'll be able to watch migrating birds and emerging weather patterns, and at night you can spy UFOs. Far-sighted people will especially enjoy the views of Tokyo from their apartment.
In Mori Living-serviced apartments at Roppongi Hills, every molecule has been meticulously planned. In these luxury apartments, designed by Conran & Partners, a two-bedroom apartment is 87.85 sq. meters and the biggest five-bedroom apartment is 420 sq. meters. When you consider Japan has 3,000 people per square kilometer, compared to America's 353, living in an apartment this large in Tokyo is equal to living in a space the size of a football field in the U.S. God forbid you should misplace your keys -- you'd need binoculars, a compass and your hiking slippers just to find them.
And all apartments have heated floors! Mori Living has bucked the system -- centuries of shivering around hibachi, "irori," "kotatsu" and smoky kerosene heaters. Heck, this alone is enough to justify the over 1 million yen monthly rent. And the fact that the Roppongi Hills complex is outside your door, including Virgin Cinemas, where you can watch movies until 5 a.m. in reclining seats with a blanket, helps.
It's not surprising, then, that Mori-serviced apartments include Mount Fuji. While it is said you cannot leave Japan without having climbed Mount Fuji, most of us would be happy just being able to see it. Fuji-san tends to loom behind mist, clouds and pollution most of the time, which is probably why murals and paintings of Mount Fuji are so popular. It's so rare to be able to see Mount Fuji that the bullet train, which passes Mount Fuji daily, makes an announcement over the loudspeaker on the days when you can actually see it.
If you haven't seen Mount Fuji in a few years, it's simply because you're not high enough. Mori Living offers a view of Mount Fuji year-round from your living room -- as a live mural on a wall of picture windows. Not to miss a detail, they even wash the windows for you twice a month so you always have a clear lens to look through.
So, Santa, I've been an especially good girl this year. I know getting Mori Living for Christmas would take a miracle, but I believe in miracles. Remember "Miracle on 32nd Street?" It's time for a remake: "Miracle on the 32nd Floor." I'll be waiting for you, Santa, and for the sleigh ride to Roppongi Hills. I've already cleared landing for you at the sleigh port, right next to the heliport.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.amychavez.com