There was a sign on the wall in the dim hallway saying Suda Beauty Salon on the 3rd floor of the Okuno Building. It was a nice design, with an atmosphere from the past, but there had been no evidence of a beauty salon on that floor for at least ten years. All that could be surmised was that there was once a beauty salon on the 3rd floor, but now only the sign remained.
The issue of the existence of a beauty salon aside, the sign still had much to convey with its mysterious ambiance - a link to a different era which left a lasting impression.
■Ginza Okuno Building Room-306 Project ■
The "Ginza Apartment[s]" building (currently the Okuno Building) was built in 1932. Soon after completion, a woman moved into the building and opened a beauty salon in Room-306. While working and living in the Okuno Building, she witnessed 1930's Ginza, the start of World War-II, the bombing of Tokyo, the postwar reconstruction period, and Japan's rise as an economically powerful country. She closed the beauty salon in the 1980's, and moved into room 306, which became her residence until her death at the age of 100, in early 2009.
Fortunately, after her belongings were removed from the room, but before cleaning and renovation had begun, we were able to rent the room.
The "Ginza Okuno Building Room-306 Project" is a non-profit group, whose members keep and use Room-306 for non-profitable activities. The project members are from many different backgrounds and are engaged in various projects while loosely interacting with each other.
The purpose of the 306-group is not to preserve the remains of the room as in a museum. As time progresses, paint is peeling from one wall, wallpaper is coming off of another wall, and the evidence of the previous tenant is gradually fading. In drawing a line from the early Showa Era to the current early Heisei Era, the points remembered form a dotted line, and as time passes, the distance between points grows. Our idea of keeping the room is not to intervene in the progress of time, but rather to have a look back - and forward - from a common point of still changing reference.
As the current tenants of the room, we all are also drawing our own lines. This is core to the project. We don't know how these new lines will interweave with each other and with lines from the past - including those disappearing - as time flows forward and carries us somewhere into the future.
The project has two basic rules:
- Each member contributes towards the rent to keep the room.
- Each member of the group who uses the room must respect and maintain the core principles of the project, the direction of which is an ongoing process.
This is an experimental project, so please check the schedule before visiting Room 306 in the Okuno Building.