The best days of this old Tokyo shopping street are long gone. Back in the 1950s and 60s it was a bustling thoroughfare at the heart of the community, whereas these days it’s half shuttered up and a shiny new supermarket, which a whole host of buildings were demolished for, will likely cause even more closures.
None of which, it has to be said, takes anything away from its unique and faded charm, so below are some of the people I’ve photographed along it. A mixture of business owners and local shoppers — some taken many years ago, with others very recent. Only one is an image that’s arguably strong enough to work by itself, but as a set I feel they do tell something of a story. A little snapshot over time of the life of the street, along with the lives that have made it so special.
I think that many, if not most, of these images could stand alone. Fascinating, as well as sad, that the shipowners all seem well into senior citizenship. And still working!
Thanks a lot. That’s very kind of you. But yeah, some of it is rather sad, although the owners seem to be working ‘cos they choose to, rather than have to. Whether that makes it less sad though is debatable…
My grandfather retired from running his own retail business at age 65. He returned to working at age 70 because he was bored and unhappy. He had worked hard all of his adult life. He had no hobbies, did not like to travel, etc. As it what gave him the most satisfaction in life it was best for him to keep working: gave him a sense of purpose and fulfillment. And allowed him to engage with others. He worked part time until he was about 80. Economic necessity aside that may be the case for some of these older folks.
Thanks again for many great photos!
You are very welcome as always.
Yes, I think that’s definitely the case with many of these people. Of course some may need to keep on working, but I suspect the vast majority are doing it for reasons very similar to those your grandfather.
Don’t put yourself down man these are awesome with many stand outs. I’m diggin’ the guy in shot #2. Rocking the 70s look!
Cheers, that’s really good of you. And yes, quite the look he has going on. Lovely fella too. Got a big laugh from him after I took the photo.
As you say, a charm and the remnants of the positive community aura of days gone by. But 8 down (your #12) gives a sobering glimpse beyond the green curtain of just how hard the life is and has been for those who live and work there.
Yes, that’s the photo I feel could work on its own. A story of both the street, her life, and how hard it must have been.
Why are very old people working? Do they have to or want to?