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Bike Ride Through Tokyo

I went “down south” by bike today to an area between Tokyo and Akihabara caled Kanda. The whole eastern edge of Tokyo along the circular Yamanote-line from Shinagawa to Ueno is being renovated with a swathe of new buildings going up left, right and centre, and a large section of the older areas of town being revamped.

Admittedly, some of the areas under construction badly needed it and were on the verge of collapse, but it’s still a shame to see some of the older areas of Tokyo be rebuilt with no regard to history.

Here’s an example of the unexpected history that can be found, hiding under the arches of one of Japan’s busiest railway lines. Just after WWII, the area under the Akihabara traintracks became a hotbed of black market booths and stalls selling everything Japan’s fledgling traders needed for their own businesses, but couldn’t buy: Lights, fuses, radios, tills, tools, and spare-parts. Later, the focus shifted towards electrical and to this day electronic goods are sold here by the boatload.

But a lot of these shops are being replaced by the onlslaught of building work. I don’t mean that they are going to be physically ousted, no. What I mean is that they are going to be driven out by profits and the recent prolonged depression the electroincs market has seen for the last five years or so.

Categories: Japan
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