Show Menu

Heartbreak Hotel

I slept a few times in front of these air-conditioning ducts near the top of Rambling Street in Shibuya, when the faded but somewhat majestic Hotel Kowa stood on this spot. I can still see inside our room, above the yellow elbow of the backhoe, though of course that’s my imagination and no one could…

Read more

A Farewell to Arms

When I told Mrs Yamamoto with the short brown hair about the two old drunks who stumbled in to Seifu Massage the other day she said, It used to be a lot worse. The afternoon of the drunks, Mrs Anai was massaging my forearm, pinching the flesh through my sleeve. Face-down, looking through the donut…

Read more

Two Kinds of Quiet

Rock and Shrine: an exhibition Readin’ Writin’ Bookstore Tawaramachi (Ginza Line) Dec 04 – 16 2018 Monday closed readinwritin.net 2-4-7 Kotobuki Taito-ku Tokyo tel 03-6321-7798 東京都台東区寿2-4-7 (地下鉄銀座線、田原町駅) Tokyo writer/street photographer Mark Robinson’s black-and-white series juxtaposes new photographs of the rainswept national treasure Kamosu Shrine in Matsue with the two-man “No-Wave” band Friction performing in Shibuya.…

Read more

Healing Time

People come to Sensoji for all sorts of reasons. Superstition that your illness will be cured by the incense smoke from the cauldron of the goddess would rank high after ordinary tourism. But who’s to argue against a bit of blind belief? Could be just the thing to get you moving and focus your mind…

Read more

Cosmic Confection

People who love red-bean cakes often say Japanese sweets are healthy, but the truth of course is, they’re loaded with sugar. That’s what helps preserve them, says Mari Masuda, the madame of Tokutarou sweets bakery. She also lets you know, without a hint of reserve, that she is aged 74. You can’t help thinking ……

Read more

Outpost to a Dream

What else do you do up there? asks my friend Takahashi. Get the train to Horikiri, and just eat ramen? Yes, I say, just eat ramen. Some days, like in this heatwave, that’s enough purpose in life. Five stops from Asakusa. Negi ramen. Just get to Miyuki Ramen, beside the railway and the river. One…

Read more

Felt Tips of the Gods

You see your share of homeless men and women near the river. At least the worst of the cold is over for the time being. Spotting the aloha shirt makes you feel breezy. This guy is a bit of a fixture, one milky eye, height about 4 feet, brown as a nut. I am in…

Read more

Michio Yamauchi Photographer

I ran into the street photographer Michio Yamauchi outside the Hanayashiki amusement park. I knew him from a book project I had worked on, but we had barely spoken. He said, Asakusa during the holidays is a good place to shoot. I said, Sometimes I stand here to snap the roller coaster. He seemed willing…

Read more

Kimchi Cherries Lizard

I asked for it spicy and the master of this small Korean BBQ restaurant in east Ueno, who wore a chef’s hat and also took my order, put it through to his wife behind the kitchen window, and she made a stewed beef claypot lunch that was powerfully hot, just right for this warm afternoon…

Read more

Watching the Wheels

I jumped as the traffic lights changed and an oncoming horn blast caught me taking a picture of these buildings, standing in the middle of Meiji Dori in Higashi Mukojima. Couldn’t resist the rust and corrugated iron. Not to mention this fellow, who waved at me. Takao Iida was born and grew up in this…

Read more