The sale has been on at this little shoe and slipper shop for as long as I’ve been walking past, but with everything still not gone, it somehow just soldiers on.
This tiny building has fascinated me since I first found it over a decade ago. Its size, shape and dilapidated state are intriguing enough, but added to all that is the fact that somebody may actually live there. And even if they don’t, it’s certainly somewhere they spend a lot of time, as more often than not there’s a light on inside and the door, for want of a better description, is open. On top of that, the house behind it was recently demolished, providing a proper look at the rear of the property, although in many ways that has created more questions than answers.
That said, I finally do have one answer, and that’s whose property it is. When walking by alone, I always stop for a little while in the hope of someone appearing, and at long last that happened the other day. It doesn’t confirm whether it is indeed a home or not, but at least I now have a face to add to the building’s incredible facade.
For reasons unknown, I never got round to reading Ryu Murakami‘s Coin Locker Babies, but its title always stuck in my mind. A reminder of sorts that seems to sit quietly in my subconscious until I see lots of lockers, then it pops into my thoughts before immediately retreating once again.
The scene below, on the other hand, was really quite different, as it almost felt like that memory had been waiting all those years for this one specific moment.
Vending machines are genuinely ubiquitous in Japan, so it’s very rare for me to make one of them the main focus of a photograph. That said, there are exceptions, and this previously posted set of old and defunct drink and tobacco dispensers was something I thoroughly enjoyed putting together.
Similarly enjoyable was both finding and getting some food from the decidedly old school toast vending machine below. One of only a few still in use, there was a choice of either a pizza or ham toasted sandwich.
When it popped out of the contraption, the pizza option I went for was plenty warm enough and tasted surprisingly good. Admittedly it was somewhat on the soggy side, but it was toast, from a vending machine, so that didn’t matter one little bit.
And if a toast vending machine wasn’t enough, there was a similarly retro feel to the pitstop’s car park, as it had an area set aside for youngsters to play and enjoy cigarette breaks between rides.
The other day I posted several rooftop photos looking over and down into one of Tokyo’s many entertainment and shopping districts. It was a truly dazzling vision comprised of modern and mostly massive concrete structures. And yet not that far away in one of the city’s older suburban areas, life at ground level feels a million miles away rather than a mere 30 minute journey.