A few months ago, I photographed and wrote about danchi, or Japanese public housing. Born in the 1950s and peaking around the early 70s, this massive building project created affordable and modern housing for the nation’s growing number of young families. Fast forward to the present day, however, and many of these once futuristic apartment complexes are more crumbling relics than sought after properties.
The same also goes for the little shopping precincts that were an integral part of some danchi. Once bustling with locals, a considerable number have gone the same way as the apartments above them. Changing habits, an older demographic and fewer residents making business not only harder, but in many cases simply unsustainable.
And below is one such shopping street. A few stores on the main road are bravely battling on, but while the days and weeks come and go, the sun has long since set on this particular part of Tokyo.
In a world of delivery motorbikes and Uber Eats bags, the sight of food being transported the traditional way is an increasingly rare sight. One only really seen in certain parts of the city. But just like the old adage about buses, after waiting ages to see one, two sometimes come along at once.
Recently, the owner of the Tokyo restaurant below opted for a ‘Japanese only’ policy due to the coronavirus outbreak. In his tweet announcing the decision, he was at pains to stress that it wasn’t in any way discriminatory. Instead, it was simply a way to try and protect his family, staff and the eatery’s customers.
A controversial move it has to be said, but one that doesn’t seem to have affected business, as on Monday (a national holiday), there was a long line of people waiting to get in. All of them Japanese of course.