With rainy season’s miserable grey skies, disheartening drizzle and dreaded rise in humidity, an escape of some sort is often sorely needed. Sometimes it’s even essential. And what better than to swap the dark, dampness of the city’s dismal looking streets, with the far more comforting darkness of a tiny Tokyo bar?
As you have no doubt guessed, that’s exactly what I think about these kinds of places too. So much character, and a world away from the chains that dominate so much of the world these days.
It’s a shame that charming places like that can’t exist in the US or anywhere where licensing is all about big bucks for government.
Japan certainly is blessed with a good number of them. Long may it stay that way too. For all the country’s love of rules, there’s also a surprisingly cavalier approach to health and safety. Or at least there is compared to my native Britain. A lot of these places would simply be closed down in the UK…
Iwao Yamamoto says
I’m sorry the picture reminds me of a very long time ago in Shouwa Period. The black and white picture increase that feeling; as though they are not in our period but the place and the people are before Shouwa 30’s year. Looks everything are poor.
It’s precisely that dated nature of these places that fascinate me. I only know Tokyo from the late 90s, so bars such as this at least give me a glimpse of what the city was once like. Or at least that’s what I like to believe. Plus they also have so much more character than many modern places. Particularly those owned by big chains.
Hans ter Horst says
You really do know how to hit the right moment when shooting in restaurants, absolutely fabulous! You should combine work and pleasure and publish a book of the tiny, backstreet restaurants you discover! 🙂
Now that would be something. A genuine labour of love!
Theresa Amlong says
I would not even be able to fit into that seat between the bar and wall with my big – oh never mind. Amazing photo. I love following your work and reading your narratives. You truly capture ‘moments.’
I’m sure you’d be fine.
Thank you very much. That’s very kind of you. Great to hear you enjoy what I’m trying to do.
Wish I could have the seat next to the bubbling vat of oden! How refreshing!
Might be a bit on the hot side. Getting hot and humid very early this year…
Iwao Yamamoto says
I was born in Kameari, Adachi-ku 58 years ago and bred until I got married and I now live in western part of Tokyo. In eastern part of Tokyo everything like the picture was a usual scene so I remember. What we call Shitamachi which maybe cannot be translated as downtown directly from Japanese ä¸‹ç”º were mainly those places from Ueno, Asakusa to Kameari or Shibamata where once used to be very popular among those poor people or æ±Ÿæˆ¸ã£å. Though not so rich but they had a confidence to live in such a hard time in those areas. Now in front of Kameari Station there are no such store as the picture. In Kichijouji far western part of Tokyo there are small and narrow stores; full of people drinking and eating yakitori. You can take a nice picture there I think if I can.
Those are the kind of scenes I’d love to have seen. Places like this and the area you mentioned in Kichijojij are the nearest I can get these days to feeling what the city was once like.
This feels as if its in Golden Gai in Shinjuku.
I think I need a drink too.