I had the pleasure of walking past this small but well looked after urban garden on numerous occasions. Its owners, on the other hand, I only saw twice — on the two different days these photos were taken.
Several years ago, however, the house was demolished, leaving behind a sad, tarpaulin covered empty plot. It stayed that way for a while, but now it’s a home again. Several homes in fact. But all signs of previous life have been completely and utterly erased.
I understand why those old houses need to be replaced, much as I hate it. What I don’t understand is why they don’t even TRY to make new houses look nice. They could be nice in a different way! Why make them look like plastic boxes? But the people I’ll really never forgive are the ones who move into those houses and don’t put any potted plants outside.
Yeah, as much as I hate to see them go, I wouldn’t (and don’t) live in one. They certainly look great, but along with countless other things, they are absolutely freezing in winter. But yeah, the replacements are so utterly generic. Nice inside no doubt, but far from appealing on the outside? Given a bit of time though, the plants may begin to appear again. Let’s hope so anyway.
That is ‘progress’ in Tokyo and other large cities in Japan.
Sadly it is. Progress in regards comfort it has to be said, but not so much in regards appearance.
These new homes certainly have a lot more creature comfort features. But they lack aesthetics….both inside and outside. ‘Sterile’ describes them well.
It really does. Pity those comfortable interiors can’t be matched by pleasing exteriors.
Yep that is one dramatic change. The new build looks so ….. sterile…….
Quite shocking, isn’t it? A very stark contrast. And yes, that’s exactly how they look.
This is the norm in Tokyo. “My Homes” put up by Panasonic, Asahi Kasei, etc. are all bland, white and sterile. It’s an architectural disaster
Yeah, no doubt about it. The buildings have to be demolished at some point. No getting away from that. But there must be better, and yet still affordable designs out there…
Once an Expat says
(sigh) Seems all of post-war Showa is slowly being eradiated.
Yes, sadly so much is disappearing. Of course that’s been the case for a long time, but in the last few years the speed of demolition definitely seems to have increased. Presumably a combination of both the buildings and the owners coming to the end of their natural lifespans…
Once an Expat says
Wonder if one could argue the urge to tear down in culturally hard wired? After all, the high shrine at Ise is torn down and rebuilt every 20 years.
That’s something that I’ve often wondered too. When hugely important cultural assets can be periodically demolished, rebuilt and enjoyed just the same, then it surely must have some affect on people’s thinking/approach to such things. I definitely do sense a lack of sentimentality to old homes such as this one. Not everyone of course, as some are saved, but generally they seem to be viewed as old, way past their best and thus fit for nothing but demolition. Harsh perhaps, but at the same time very practical.
Re: ‘I wouldn’t live there if you paid me’ (‘The Big Country’)
I didn’t know Panasonic built houses but it seems to parallel their (and other diversified companies) cameras; they often have something missing in their use – joy.
I wonder if the crafted ‘urban garden’ would struggle against the plastic backdrop, as opposed to the more ‘plant by numbers’ conical shrub selection. I can hear the faint call of my garden trowel but not the aforesaid camera!
Nice reference. A good reason to give that one a play after not hearing it for a long time.
Hopefully over time an urban garden will make an appearance, either replacing or joining the current, suitably neat and tidy shrubs. Maybe the bikes are the beginning?
The camera comparison really hits the nail on the head. That’s it exactly. I was out shooting with a mate over the weekend, and I asked why he had brought along two less than practical cameras along instead of his technologically superior Sony. His simple answer was, “It’s no fun.”
or even an urban gardener! I hope you both did have fun and his choices were ‘good enough’.
Hopefully both! And yes, happy to say the choices were plenty good enough, and the day was also plenty of fun.
It’s always sad to see the old homes vanish. But unless you lived there you are only seeing the external aesthetic – which isn’t what houses are about. I loved my grandparents home with the only hot water, heating and cooking coming from the fireplaces, and the loo at the bottom of the garden (sound prehistoric but it was in the 60s) but my Dad pointed out I only ever stayed there during the summer. he said the army baracks were a luxury for him in the 50’s compared to home.
Even thes new Sims style house will age and grow into the surroundings – look under that Panasonic Aircon unit. And I’m sure the family inside is very happy with their new home.
Definitely. As I mentioned in a reply above, along with other problems, such places are absolutely freezing in winter. My first apartment in Tokyo (although I use the term apartment loosely) wasn’t anywhere near as old as this house, but at the same time it was far from modern. In spring and autumn it was ok. Incredibly basic and all that, but it was fine. Plus I was out most of the time anyway. Come summer, and in particular winter, however, and it was awful. Glorified camping to be honest. And even then in an old tent and on a site where the facilities are rudimentary at best. It too was demolished a good few years ago., and from the comfort of my modern apartment, I don’t miss it one bit.
That is where my contradictions and hypocrisy are laid bare. I hate to see these buildings go, but at the same time there’s no way I’d want to live in one. Been there, done that, and at the end of the day I didn’t like it very much.
Haha, what I didn’t add was that the apartment was at the bottom of a lake, and I had to get up half an hour before I went to bed to clean said lake!
too soggy for cardboard boxes then!