Despite being 90 and still running her half-century old suburban sweet shop, this lovely lady somehow seemed as happy as the day she first opened it all those years ago.
For years now I’ve been semi-regularly passing by, and invariably through, Shinjuku’s famous Omoide Yokocho, or Piss Alley as it’s also known. Most of the time there’s nobody of interest to photograph, but now and again a scene or someone in particular stands out and I attempt to get a shot. Efforts that have resulted in a growing number of images, and these monochrome suited ones make up a small series of sorts — one that hopefully captures some of the alley’s atmosphere and character. Or perhaps more accurately, former atmosphere and character, as the huge increase in visitors to Japan over the last few years has understandably changed the area somewhat.
Now, whether that change has been good or bad is debatable. Yes, it’s not quite like it was, but at the same time it could also be argued that the drinking spot’s renewed popularity has allowed it to survive in a city that demolishes and rebuilds both regularly, and unemotionally. It should also be noted that some of the photos have been taken fairly recently, so in many ways it’s still the same, it’s just different that’s all.
Should you wish to see more photos of Japanese bars (and drinkers), these and many of others can be seen on my portfolio site, here.
Tokyo is always in a state of flux, and with the Olympics now on the horizon, the speed of change seems to have been ratcheted up way more than a mere notch or two. Wander away from the city’s main hubs and stations, however, and it’s possible to see a very different side of the city. One that’s older, rough around the edges, and now and again completely and utterly dilapidated.