The Shibamata area might well have ended up looking radically different if it hadn't been featured in a popular movie series called "Otoko wa Tsurai yo" ("It's Tough Being a Man"). Thanks to the movie series' fans providing a steady stream of domestic tourists to the spot, it's become somewhat of a historical spot. After seeing several of the movies, which feature a traveling salesman who always pops in and out of one of the shops in Shibamata (see 1st & 4th photos above, where - in the movie - his aunt and uncle live and his sister works), standing in front of the actual shop the movie version was modeled on (and the shop-lined street it's on, as well as a nearby temple) makes the fictional movie series seem quite real....
The picture of the flowers was taken over by the nearby river - a seven-minute walk from the shopping street.
It has remained unchanged for a long time, but on my most recent visit a couple of months ago, I found myself wondering how long the area would hang on. It used to be that people very reliably and predictably bought souvenirs whenever they went somewhere, but people aren't doing that much these days, and many shops that depend on that sort of business aren't doing very well. Everyone looks, but few buy. (Maybe they're saving their money to pay for new hardware... MP3 players, etc?)
I have great respect for the skill of drawing and painting. If I were able to, I probably would try it myself, but my drawing skills are abysmal, so I use a camera (a large thank you to the scientists, manufacturers, etc. who have made photography possible!).
The third picture is a close-up of part of the temple in the middle picture.
Copyright 2005 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo