the claska is newly refurbished but preserves the vaguely 60s — 70s retro pastiche of its original conception. it’s a lot of fun to stay here. a very quirky place, with ‘Mr Dog’ the dog salon on the ground floor. a dj playing electro funk mixes in the evening, a great selection of design magazines in the lobby library, with a craft shop on the eighth floor, and a gardening shop on the roof terrace which affords great views of the tokyo skyline in one direction and

(if you’re lucky with the weather) a stunning view of mount fuji in the other. the staff here all look like models and are unfailingly eager to please. google ‘claska, meguro’ if you’re going to visit the hypermetropolis.

alas. gone are the little robot dogs ‘aibo’ in each room. the hotel has changed hands since my last stay and the previous owners took their aibos with them. actually it was a bit spooky with that dog. after a little while you start to think they’re like real dogs. i used to wonder what it got up to while i was asleep.

it was great jumping on the electro cycles and terrorising the local pedestrians (it’s quite normal to cycle on the pavements in japan, although i’ve been told it’s quite illegal, just like the uk, but here in japan, no one seems to mind. perhaps it’s the absence of lycra-clad self-righteous psychos hurtling along like they’re trying out for the tour de france.)

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