Still fast asleep at the last stop, on the last train, this weary traveller may not have known where he was, let alone the time, but at least the impeccably turned out platform attendant was there to ever so gently ease him out of his slumber.
Archives for September 2013
Japan may well have suffered several decades of economic stagnation, but Tokyo is still a city very much in flux, with buildings both big and small going up and down at an almost dizzying pace. A transformation generally done in the name of progress, but which at the same time often destroys a good deal of the city’s character — even its soul if one is inclined to get a little sentimental about such things.
The wonderfully archaic Tsukiji fish market will soon move to new premises, and Kabukicho, the capital’s famous red light district, is steadily undergoing massive changes — with far more dramatic ones already being put forward in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. A ‘clean-up’ that some fear will also include Golden Gai, potentially depriving the city of another of its icons, not to mention a link to the past.
But that’s not to say that other old, practically untouched pockets of Tokyo don’t exit, because they do. Like this fabulously dated sweet shop for example. A business that with a bit of luck will live on for as long as its owner does, although the chances of it going on to outlive him are sadly next to none.
Big nights out are a daily option in Tokyo. As are benders of truly epic proportions. The only problem, however, is that there’s almost always a price to pay, and sometimes a hefty one.
It may well have been early Saturday afternoon rather than Sunday morning, but when it’s still hot and the week’s work is finally done, why not squeeze into a tiny old bar and down a few?
Confrontation isn’t a common Japanese trait, and considering the population of Tokyo and its seemingly incessant crowds, that’s almost certainly a good thing. But that’s not to say it’s a city of peace and zen-like harmony, because it’s not — not by any stretch of the imagination. Anger and frustration often simmer gently just below the surface, and now and again — despite the acute embarrassment of some — they quite understandably boil over.