When looking for a photo the other day, I also found the first one in this little series, prompting a rummage back in time for the rest of them. It was a building that always fascinated me. The wonderful mix of signs, and in particular the pachinko ones, got me each and every visit. Plus there was its incredibly ramshackle and overgrown state. Oh, and the silver Mercedes that had inexplicably been dumped next to it. All of that right by Yoyogi station and only a short walk from Shinjuku.
It wasn’t just the exterior either. There was the wonderfully dated entrance, with stairs leading up to the last remaining business — a bookshop so densely stocked it was more akin to a maze than the home of a merchant. Books were even balanced overhead in some parts. A cramped environment, in a crumbling structure, that made it hard not to think about earthquakes and whether it really was all that wise to be wandering around in there.
The rest of the building was rather frustratingly sealed up. Then one day so was the entrance. An inevitability of course, but it was no less sad to see. As was the subsequent demolition. A bit of history gone, along with a very real sense of how much of the city must have once looked.