A melding of cultures as well as imaginative smartphone storage.
With seemingly the whole world now implementing social distancing, self isolation and even full-on lockdowns, life in Japan inexplicably continues as normal, with no real measures in place whatsoever. Of course school closures were announced at the end of last month, with museums, concerts etc. quickly following suit. Sporting events have also been cancelled, or played behind closed doors, with one notable example being sumo, which now approaching the end of its spring tournament, has provided a rather surreal, and also completely joyless daily dose of the world as it currently is.
The big question, of course, is how effective such early closures have been. The number of those with the virus is (officially at least) still low, but so are the number of conducted tests, so it feels like a waiting game — a game with no shortage of risks. Things might be OK, but then again, come tomorrow they might not be. And with the likes of trains, restaurants, and shopping areas almost as busy as usual, the odds of it being the latter are a distinct possibility.
But in dark times there are thankfully still lighter moments, and seeing these two fellas taking social distancing to a whole new level last week was definitely one of them.
On a slightly different note, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you indeed for the lovely response to my recent addition of a buy-me-a-coffee page. Despite my considerable apprehension, it has been an incredibly positive experience, and one that without a doubt has made these troubling times a lot more bearable.
Most haikyo (abandoned buildings) have a unique atmosphere all their own. The faded remains of this old hot spring resort, for example, harked back to a different era, and as such, possessed a sort of melancholic nostalgia. The empty homes and structures of a deserted mountain village, on the other hand, were far more emotive, containing, as they did, personal effects such as photos, clothing etc. Plus completely differently, the mutilated animatronic figures of Western Village theme park made for a vibe that was nothing short of disturbing.
With this aspect in mind then, the building below was similarly special, even though in many ways it’s just another abandoned hotel — something Japan has absolutely no shortage of. Shuttered up and left to slowly decay almost exactly a decade ago, it’s presumably not a very well known spot, as there’s little in the way of damage, and footmarks in the dust were fairly minimal. But due to the bright sun and closed curtains, a couple of the rooms were lit in such a beautiful way that the general quietness was elevated to something almost akin to serenity.
On a completely unrelated note, and one I mentioned in the previous post, the current climate has made work — not to mention life — very uncertain, so if you are a bit flush, or particularly enjoy my photos, then I’ve taken the similarly uncertain step of setting up one of those buy-me-a-coffee/beer pages: https://ko-fi.com/tokyotimes
This tiny shop has appeared on these pages before, but up until taking the photo below, I knew absolutely nothing about it. A business, it turns out, that’s been there for half a century or so, and incredibly, the current proprietor has sat working in that very same spot for the last four decades.
It’s also a shop that, despite its age and diminutive dimensions, is arguably ideal in the current climate. The owner has no colleagues, customers are kept very much at arm’s length, and money is passed back and forth on the black plastic tray in front of him. Hence, perhaps, his big smile and relaxed demeanour.
Similarly connected to the current situation, freelance work has understandably dipped enormously of late, so I’ve taken the rather uncomfortable step of creating one of those buy-me-a-coffee pages. Not at all sure if it’s a good idea, but if you think this site is worth the occasional ‘drink’, or even a recurring monthly one, then the option to safely and securely pay for a hot beverage, or better still a beer, is here: https://ko-fi.com/tokyotimes