Maybe you clock it subconsciously or perhaps it’s coincidence, how the jacket of this gentleman in Kuramae blends so nicely with the oxidised bronze house with the sign, “Aoki Printing”, and how he turns out to be…Mr Aoki himself! Heading home this Saturday afternoon with a little shopping. Hello he says. You tell him you like his metal-clad house. Thank you, he says. Please feel free to photograph it. I was born and grew up here. My grandfather built it in the Meiji era. The craftsmen for this work no longer exist. It’s intricate. Three-millimetre panels. It takes a lot of folding. You can’t remove single sections, you have to peel it from the top. I heard it was done like this so during wartime when the metal was more valuable, no one would steal bits of the house. Why was it done? Well, it seals the wood. If you go to the Sumida River and look at the bows of the boats you will see they are clad the same way. Yes it also keeps us warm in winter. But it gets very hot in summer.

Aoki print crop