The working title for the post was something like “Nakano – knackered? No!” but I have since rejected this for a couple of reasons, not just because it was a really crap pun (worse then usual?!), but mostly because half the photos here were taken of, well, the knackered bits of Nakano.
My friend B suggested that I take some photos of the more run-down aspects of Tokyo again, and I was kind of looking for an excuse to go for a walk – it was sunny, quite crisp, and walking from Koenji to Nakano is that kind of perfect journey on foot that’s not long enough to tire you out, but long enough to feel like you’ve actually had a walk.
I think it’s at this point I have to come out of the rather controversial closet and declare my love for modern Japanese residential architecture. It’s just kind of stereotypical and lazy to say that all houses and apartment buildings look the same in Tokyo – perhaps at first glance, but there’s also some really lovely flourishes of detail like wooden steps, painted sections, concrete curves and walls of glass. However, this is a bit at odds with my true love of old Japanese houses, those places that are made of rusty corrugated iron and wood and you’re never quite sure if anyone really lives there still… Just when I’ve discovered a great building, they tear it down and build some thing new! C’mon Japan, cut me a little slack here, and at least give me time to grab a few shots on the camera first!
Anyway, a few days ago we walked to Nakano and this is what we saw:
This cat is like my best friend in Koenji.
Only two metres of clearance? Seems like someone didn’t believe that!
Chuo line train mocking us for being on foot.
Weird sea mural near Nakano station.
Weird sea creatures. No, I wouldn’t eat them.
I’m also a bit obsessed with tiny alleyways, especially those are actually used. It feels like only a few people know they exist, like some kind of secret network running though Tokyo. I wonder if you could walk through the whole city just using this kind of alleyway?
And then we found the best bit:
This is a really strange block at the end of a pedestrian street that’s also quite close to a main road. It’s been abandoned, and seems to be part-way through being knocked down – score! It’s mostly old bars and cafes, and there was a section of scrubland in the middle, like a town square. Someone had put down food there, so there were quite a few stray cats too. The whole place had quite an eerie vibe to it, like everything was just waiting for the wrecking ball, all those hours spent in tiny smokey bars and clubs, all that alcohol, all those drunken promises, just waiting quietly to be absorbed into a new mini-mall or pachinko parlour.
I’m afraid I’m not really brave enough to venture inside, so I’ll leave the haikyo (urbexing) to someone else and these photos will have to suffice. I’d really like to go back there and take some more, but what’s the betting it will have disappeared?