It’s impossible to know if it had simply been one of those mornings, a horribly busy one, or something else altogether, but which or indeed whatever it was, it was very clear that this man most definitely needed a break and some tobacco.
Recently I posted a couple of ‘before and after’ series featuring the disappearing people and places of Tokyo. Small vignettes of change and lost lives in a vast metropolis. Elements that make the city what it is, but are also easily forgotten and left undocumented.
The photos below are similar in some respects, but also quite different, as the area being demolished is sizeable to say the least. It’s also fairly well known due to its old school charm and looks. A vast array of buildings, businesses, and most strikingly a couple of iconic drinking alleyways, that are all making way for a massive apartment complex. Large scale demolition that is also happening in several of the city’s older neighbourhoods.
The pictures were all taken after pretty much everywhere had been emptied and locked up, but fortunately just before the barriers blocking access were put in place. In a similar vein as those aforementioned ‘before and after’ sets, I’ve also included some photos taken over the years in the same locations.
And with that it’s farewell to a large part of Tateishi. A once truly fascinating area that Tokyo will never see the likes of again.
My recent 3 week or so return to England didn’t involve a lot of photography. Primarily it was to see family and spend some quality time together, as due to distance, quantity simply isn’t an option. That said, I did take my camera, and the pictures I took seemed to compliment the enjoyably quiet vacation it was.
Along with that, the photos were in many ways reflective of my past. Or at least my childhood spent in and around the local area. Places that were also well and truly in the collective past before I came along. That latter element in particular providing some similarities with those I take in Japan.
The one exception of sorts is the last photo. It’s a train line that used to be somewhere to explore, as at the time it was no longer in use. Since then, however, it’s been resurrected for steam and diesel train journeys, and on one particular day, there was a visitor from many millions of people’s past. A now global face in a once very unexpected place.
I should also add that I’m now back and settled into Tokyo life, so the usual Tuesday and Friday posts will resume once again.
Earlier this year I put together a post of Tokyo graffiti from over the years — street scenes that for some reason or other are rarely associated with Japan.
To be fair, there isn’t exactly a huge amount of such artwork to be seen, but at the same time it’s also far from non-existent. Something that was confirmed once again on a recent stay in Osaka. So here then is just some of what I saw in the space of several days.
Keirin, Japanese track cycling, is a sport that generates over a trillion yen of bets a year. A huge amount of money that along with the Olympic variant conjures up images of a rather glamorous pastime. Even more so when the traditional location of Kyoto is added to the mix.
The reality, however, is different, as just like many tracks up and down the country, the Kyoto velodrome is wonderfully dated. A place stuck in a past when attendances were much larger, with many of the booths where people once bought tickets now shuttered up or covered with curtains.
Not that efforts aren’t made to entice new fans, and the likes of the decidedly grim playground in the photos below are part of an attempt to attract young families. Plus on the day we were there, there was the unexpected appearance of an idol group. Performers who brought in a very different crowd as well as providing quite a contrast to the surroundings.
A combination that all added up to a good day out. One that, as always, would have only been better if it had also involved a win.
Last week I wrote about the ‘before’ photos below and how, over time, they became much more than I ever imagined. Poignant vignettes of lives lived and structures now long gone in a forever changing city.
That state of flux Tokyo constantly seems to be in, along with a generation of people and buildings approaching their end, means there will be more photos to come, but for now at least these (along with those previously posted) are some of what I have at present. Little moments that offer a brief glimpse of lost lives in a very large metropolis.