Thursday, March 24, 2011
One of the things I love about this city, but which are increasingly difficult to track down intact, are the aged alleys in older parts of town.
These are the vanishing places in which Taisho-era (1912-26) or early Showa period (1926-89) wooden buildings lean in disarray, and you actually feel like you've been transported back to one of Yasujiro Ozu’s or Akira Kurosawa's domestic dramas from the 1950s.
About a year and a half ago in this wayward blog I got cantankerous about the disappearing old buildings in the area of Tokyo (Okusawa) that surrounds our apartment - more about that here.
I also waxed a wee bit pessimistic over at Forces of Geek on a similar theme.
Don't get me wrong; I completely understand progress and change and I embrace it in many ways.
I'm also often knocked out by a lot of the contemporary architecture going up in Ginza, Harajuku and Odaiba.
I just hate to see this historical aspect disappear - some of these alleyways and the abodes within are absolutely mesmerizing.
Today I visited one of these rare gems in Ōokayama (大岡山駅), about 15 minutes' walk from our place.
In much of the surrounding area there're new apartment buildings, but some of the shops and houses sandwiched in between are classic vintage numbers - including this alley.
Tuckedjust around the corner is also a gorgeous little inari shrine.
It's cheap thrills like this that make my world go round.