Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tokyo Views

Koenji crossroads
Sometimes toy and show reporting gets myopic. You're indoors, in front of a booth or shelf, snapping shots of static objects. So I thought I'd pull the lens back and take some shots of the environment in which all this stuff is made. Let's have a look at daily life in Tokyo.
Pachinko parlor. They're everywhere, and people line up before opening hours to get first pick of their favorite machines.

Typical izakaya, which is a type of casual restaurant. They're popular with the after-work crowd, and contrary to common notions of Japan as a quiet and peaceful place, izakayas get loud and raucous.
An outlet of Takkyubin, one of Japan's largest courier companies. Sending things by courier is fast, reliable, and affordable. Though the Japanese postal service is phenomenal - legendary even - couriers are still popular.
Multiple story car rental place. Renting cars is also popular, since owning one is expensive with fees, taxes, and parking, not to mention exorbitant highway tolls. Because space is at such a premium, many structures have to rise up instead of going wide - so bike parking places, car parking lots, as well as tons of restaurants and shops are small, narrow, and multi-story.

An older residence. These are becoming rarer sights in Tokyo. One reason is there is a formula by which the value of the building falls year after year, until it hits zero. (I believe this takes 20-30 years.) So homes tend to be built with inferior materials and then torn down after a few decades.
 More after the jump:

Home security

Another common sight: the convenience store. These may be the best innovation of modern Japanese life, Besides drinks and snacks (not to mention fresh fruits and vegetables), you can pay your water, electricity, and other bills there. Plus you can send and receive packages, buy event and bus tickets, and all sorts of other things. (And they have trash cans.)

Cool little smart car

Beer bottles waiting to be recycled. You can see some Japanese staples plus one which shall not be named..

Two more common sights - vending machines and graffiti. Notice next to the machines two little recycling bins. As a pedestrian, you come to rely on these, since municipally provided public trash cans and recycling bins are uncommon. (Incidentally, convenience stores are a boon for pedestrians with something to throw away. It's common to carry trash around for hours until you find somewhere to toss it.)
These signs tell pedestrians not to smoke on the road. They are frequently ignored.
The sign on this massive vintage cast iron tool says it's free.

Everyone knows about the excellent train + subway systems in Tokyo, but buses are great, too. Fewer people take them, they're comfortable, and they're a nice way to see the city above ground.

Typical urban park - covered with sand and gravel, not grass.

Lap dogs get the royal treatment by Tokyoites.

This is a cheap pizza chain called Sempre Pizza. You can get a decent enough cheese pizza for 500 yen. (For you toy hunters out there, this one is on the ground floor of the building that houses both Star Case and Ichibanboshi.)

Used book place - open on weekends with totally different stuff every week.
Hanging out. On a cultural note, it's perfectly fine to hang out with a beer without fear of being fined or hassled. And boy do Tokyoites love doing so!

Typical rental apartment. Flats in Tokyo are small, and many single people rent one-room studios with micro kitchens. Space is a serious commodity in the big city!
Thanks for taking our tour of this inaugural Tokyo Views. Leave a comment below or join the chat on Facebook to share your views on our views!

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