Vol. 7 - Our seventh interview is with Emi Aoki, a model who had a sensational debut, and is now a business woman and an essayist.

I began modeling in my 3rd year of junior high school when Shotaro Akiyama took my portrait photo for the magazine "Shukan Bunshun". I entered high school at 16 . . . I think it was around 1965, and I rented a house in Mikawadai from an acquaintance, hair designer, Sadao Miyazaki. It was then that I started living on my own. If you turned at the former "Hamburger Inn" and went down the road, you would find the luxurious, western style house with violet wall to wall carpets that I got to live in. Of course my parents were dead against me living alone but they knew that once I decided on something, I wasn't going to change my mind. They just pretended that I got married early and let me go. That was my first encounter with Roppongi. I went to high school and did my modeling jobs while living in that house. And every night on my way home, I had dinner at "Hamburger Inn".

Around that time, because I worked a lot with photographer, Yoshihiro Tatsuki, I often went to his house which was next to the "Chianti" restaurant. I was the image girl for "Kose" and "Kanebo" and photos for those posters were taken by Mr. Tatsuki. "Chianti" and "Sushi Cho" were restaurants for adults but he took me there a lot, too. I was a little younger than the "Yajukai" generation but someone I used to hang around with from my own age group was actor Jun Inoue. We met and when I was 20, we got married so my modeling career was actually only for four years. Before that, we lived really close to each other so when I got in, I would turn my lights on and off to let him know I was home, even though I had a phone (lol). So then we'd meet up and go to out to "Seryna" to eat. In the end, we got divorced. I was 33 years old. But we faithfully keep in touch and are still the closest of friends.

After my divorce, I worked at "Alpha Cubic" in the food industry where I produced Cafes and Cake Shops but I must say that around 1982, Roppongi was at its best. It was just before the economic bubble and if I think about it now, it really was a splendid time. I was working for a company so my hours were from 9 am to 6 pm but after work, I partied all night. I went to places like "Valentine", "Bay" and "Crazy Horse" and I danced the night away. Sometimes I thought I should stay home but we were just in the middle of the disco boom, it was so fun and I always ended up going out. When I got a bit hungry in the early morning, I went to "Kohien" and I had chicken broth noodle soup . . . You might wonder how I could go out every night on my company salary, but there was always someone I knew at every place I went to who would pay for me before I knew it. It didn't cost me anything so I would go out every night. That's how much the economy was booming; it was an era of wealth.
I started living in Roppongi when I was 16, I moved to Hiroo when I got married, then Nishiazabu after my divorce... So basically, I've been living in this area for a long time. It's so convenient and I just love it here. After I resigned from my company, it was in Nishiazabu in 1993 where I opened my cake shop "La Table". We sold three kinds of healthy vegetable "financier", spinach, carrot and purple sweet potato and they were really popular. Anyway, I am happiest when I was thinking about delicious food. I still love finding good places to eat and I love telling people about them.

In the 1960s and 70s in Roppongi where I spent my youth, there were many cool and wonderful adults. Tan tan (Kajiko Kawazoe, the Chianti owner's wife ) and Mariko Kaga were women I looked up to. Tan tan would tell me to take good care of my elbows because that is where it shows your age the most. She, in particular, gave me her knowledge as a woman. And then there was Micchan (Yoshihiro Tatsuki's wife) who, if I could have only one friend, it would be her. She was straight forward and always said what was on her mind. You couldn't be like that if you didn't have affection for the person. I met her when I was 16 and we are still very dear friends.

It was in 2003 when Roppongi Hills opened and the "Seishido Bookstore" at the Roppongi crossing closed that I really felt Roppongi had changed. I loved that bookstore and felt so sad when it was gone.
But nowadays, I have a new way to my spend time which is going around to three different museums. First, I go to the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills, have lunch there, then go to Tokyo Midtown's Suntory Museum of Art and then the National Art Center. The architecture of the National Art Center is so beautiful and it's fun just to stroll around there. This is a very extravagant way to spend your time but I highly recommend it.

Also, Roppongi is an ideal environment for watching movies. The Cinema Complex in Roppongi Hills has a "premium screen" among other things and it's just so amazing. Each seat is ¥3,000 which is a little expensive but I think it's definitely worth it. I'm so lucky to a movie theatre like that so close by. (It's been a long time since I felt so happy talking about everything.)
I hope that Roppongi becomes a town for the adult society like it used to be . . . I've been wishing for this for a long time. But now that we have these amazing museums and movie theaters, I believe that a mature culture will make a come back. I'm so excited to see how this town grows.