I’ve been photographing these long closed businesses over many years now. For the bulk of that period, most of the changes were minimal. The awnings sagged and became increasingly forlorn, but other than that everything else was reassuringly familiar, with the little row remaining absolutely lovely to look at.
Several months ago, however, a house at the rear was knocked down, which for the first time in goodness knows how many decades exposed the back of the buildings to daylight, showing just how dilapidated and patched up they really were. Details that to me at least only added to their unique, decidedly ramshackle charm.
With an elderly lady still living in the old, former eatery on the left, I didn’t worry too much about the shops themselves. Being otherwise empty but seemingly connected, I assumed they would at least survive as long as she did, but then over the summer her one time business and home, along with building next to it, went the way so much of old Tokyo is going.
An outcome that if nothing else proves that one should never assume anything, particularly so as it turns out the woman herself simply moved three doors down into the once vacant structure on the right.