Or if not a different world, then definitely a different Tokyo time.
Archives for September 2015
With the fairly recent addition of a fancy new hotel and cinema complex, Tokyo’s wonderful grubby Kabukicho red light district has started to see distinct signs of gentrification. So families now mill around on a day out, and tour groups regularly move through en masse, frantically firing off smartphone and tablet photos like their lives depended on it.
But for the time being at least, it still maintains a good amount of rough and ready charm. Drunks, for example, can still be seen passed out on the street. Both male and female. Or even males pretending to be females. Plus the area’s various alleyways remain incredibly dingy, with some of its eateries not all that dissimilar. And as such, weekend afternoons in particular are still as gritty and marvellously impromptu as ever.
With work clearly no longer one of his worries, a few quiet beers to wile away a warm afternoon didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.
Tokyo’s often brightly decorated streets are fascinating to explore. They are gritty, attention grabbing and absolutely littered with good bars and eateries. In fact so seemingly limitless are the city’s offerings that even relatively small areas possess more than enough stimulation for countless lives, let alone the measly one we are limited to.
But escaping the urban scene is good every now and again. Absolutely necessary sometimes. And yet even then one doesn’t need to leave the capital, as way out west it’s another world altogether. One where the colours are all natural.
Climbing is still social but in a very different sense.
And perhaps most important of all, relaxation is preposterously easy.
For both practical and financial reasons, it’s impossible to imagine Japan’s long gone trams ever making a reappearance. A shame really, as they are much more interesting than the admittedly convenient, but ultimately run-of-the-mill trains one sees everyday.
On the plus side, however, it does make those still in operation all the more special.
In affluent, generally acquiescent Japan, local punks have always seemed a somewhat incongruous sight, with fashion rather than any kind of real fervour appearing to be the main driving force. But with protests against Prime Minister Abe’s incredibly controversial security bill now practically the norm, and anti-nuclear groups still challenging the powers that be, it’s surely a good time for punk to regain at least some sense of relevance. Or if not exactly relevance, then to once again be a visual and vocal addition to anti-establishment sentiment.