Public telephones are still a surprisingly common sight in Tokyo, and the very distinctive green models never fail to catch the eye, so with that in mind, it seemed like a good idea to put some photos together as a small homage of sorts.
The timing also makes sense, as last spring a decision was made to gradually reduce their presence to about a quarter of the current number, marking a very definite turning point in the future visibility of these once invaluable devices. They were also made obsolete on all shinkansen, with the still installed but no longer operational unit in photo 8 presumably the last one I’ll ever see.
Perhaps more than anything though is that there’s just something about them. Something that’s admittedly hard to define, and yet along with the obvious element of nostalgia, they also seem to posses a kind of quiet dignity. Maybe even a sense of loneliness in their always ready to serve but now rarely used state. All of which is probably a little over the top, but what’s for certain is that visibly at least they will be missed.
These photographs are so interesting and they bring back many memories. Thank you!
You are very welcome. And yeah, reminders of days past…
The first is so cool. It’s like a scene from a detective movie I’d love to watch.
Thank you. I couldn’t quite believe my good fortune when I was heading down the stairs and saw him there. One of those lovely moments when everything is set up perfectly.
Such great photos as always. I agree there is more than just nostalgia but I too don’t know what it is!
Thanks a lot. Yeah, it’s an interesting one as they are only machines at the end of the day, and yet…
What a superb set. The green payphones look so earnest in their upright, always ready, posture. Rather different to the warm, soft, familiar demeanour of the pink payphones. Sad that they will be culled by such a massive amount. Odd that the study into how many should be retired used a rationale that there should be one for every Elementary School/Post Office.
I wonder where those deemed unworthy will end up. Perhaps one will find a home next to my pink one 🙂
Thanks a lot. Yes, definitely a different look and feel than their predecessors.
I suppose those locales would be good places to have phones if that’s part of the thinking, but there again so would busy stations and the like should the mobile network go down or get swamped during an emergency.
But yeah, they’ll have a lot of old phones on their hands. Sure a few will end up on auction sites, so definitely a chance to provide some company your current pink variant.
Martin B says
This is one of the things I always find curious about Japanese culture, on the one hand there is a constant push for new or improved technology, on the other hand things like pay phones and fax machines are still in regular use long after other countries have virtually abandoned them and moved on.
That’s very true. It’s definitely a country of contradictions. Some of them can be genuinely endearing, others not not quite so much…