Back in December 2018, I took the bar photos below. An evening that lives long in the memory, as despite having enjoyed beers in many little bars that have barely changed in decades, this one was truly unique.
It had been in business for 40 years, with the 82-year-old mama-san in charge the whole time. A place where she quietly grilled chicken and served cheap drinks to her regular customers. My friend and I, on the other hand, weren’t regulars in any sense of the word, as in those four decades, we were apparently the first western foreigners to set foot inside. Presumably we were the last too, as sometime between April 2021 and February of this year, the bulldozers moved in. The results of which can be seen in the fifth, and very final frame.
This disappearing aspect of old Tokyo, and some of the reasons I attempt to document it, are covered in a video I did a little while ago, so if you’d like to see it, the link is here. Being on that side of the camera is, rather hypocritically it has to be said, a place I’m not especially comfortable, but it is a good way of showing why I seek out and shoot what I do.
Car parks are such a sad end but man what an awesome bar that was! I’d love to have spent time in there.
Yeah, they really are. Just so lifeless and empty…
It was very special. Of that there is no doubt. Feel lucky to have experienced it.
I am amazed by the color of the walls.
They certainly had a unique patina. Years and years of cigarette and yakitori smoke I presume. That and a general disinterest in cleaning.
What a lovely place. A few moments marvellously captured and preserved.
The feeling of looking into that empty space is summed up by a phrase posted in the comments to your video link.
“Mono no aware”
I found two translations “pity of man” and “pathos of things” which together describe the feeling of sadness and loss many of your recent sets elicit.
Great to be reminded of the slide adventure Lucas had 🙂
I also feel his loss of the atmosphere of the sodium street lights – so much so I procured one for my room!
Cheers. It really was special. Very sad it has now gone.
Yes, that deceptively simple phrase sums it all up perfectly.
Oh, nice. What a good idea. Must be a treat every single time you turn it on.
Sure is. Takes a nice long while to warm up. From a deep red through to the final intense orange.
Here is a shot of it in action – a bit overkill for my little mancave, but just the right colour for halloween 🙂
That is very. nice. Such a lovely warm glow.
The little video was great, thanks. I especially liked that you and the other guy talked about how the loss of a loved one has made these old places more meaningful to you. The other guy shared his regrets that he had not taken more photos of his grandfather. I feel likewise about my grandparents and my parents, both of whom have also passed away. I am very grateful, however, for the photos of them that I do have. I have shared these with my daughter and my niece and nephew a number of times in hopes they will treasure the photos and their memories as much as I do.
The moments when you talked about the young women of Yoshimura were also quite poignant.
Thanks for your efforts to preserve the memories of old Tokyo.
Thank you. That’s very good to hear. And yes, photographs can be very therapeutic — both as memories and the act of taking of them.
You are very welcome. It’s sad to see so much of it go, but it’s also good to have seen so much of it before it did.