Tokyo never ceases to surprise.
And wizards, it would seem, are sadly just as reliant on smartphones as the rest of us.
On a recent walk past what is now a massive building site, there was the bittersweet memory of some Audrey Hepburn urban art I once photographed there. The timing of which, at least light-wise, couldn’t have been better. So as a nice reminder, and a remix of sorts, here’s a new version. A scene that is most definitely long gone, but in this format at least, it still manages to live on.
When it comes to helping overseas visitors, Tokyo has definitely made an effort over the years. Signs and announcements in foreign languages are now way more common than they once were, and similarly helpful menus can be found in an increasing number of restaurants. And yet at the same time, how much the capital really wants to be the international city it supposedly strives to be is difficult to say, as below a very fragile surface, Tokyo is arguably just as traditional as before.
For better or worse, however, some things are difficult to maintain, and when outsiders start perfectly replicating the behavior once dominated by inebriated Japanese salarymen, there’s probably no turning back.
This one-room little workshop in an old part of Tokyo was founded just over 90 years ago. Producing handmade tatami (traditional Japanese flooring mats), it’s both a business and a part of the local community — opening, as it does, onto the area’s little shopping street.
Going back to those early years, tatami was ubiquitous in Japanese homes, so presumably it would have been a decent money earner. The situation would also have been very similar when the original owner passed it on to his grandson, the man in the photo below.
Now, however, tatami is nowhere near as common as it once was. Neither, it has to be said, are such traditional little businesses. Younger generations simply aren’t interested in running them. So when the grandson, who is now himself a grandad, finally calls it a day, the shutters will come down on another part of Tokyo’s past.