The awards have been handed out, and people are starting to head home, so, naturally, as opening week of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale winds down, the non sequiturs ramp up. Our correspondent Ian Volner was in the Japanese pavilion just after its Golden Lion win was announced, and discovered that while attention has been deservedly focused on Urban-Think Tank and Justin McQuirk's fellow Gold Lion–winning exhibition, a not-oft-discussed hidden gem in their area of the Arsenale is actually a tasty café. And while the biennale is not invulnerable to political protests, visitors are still happily spending their evenings in the historic venues of Venice.

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