I had business near Ikejiriohashi Station, just one stop from Shibuya on the outer side of the Yamanote Line. I did the usual routine of finding the address by walking in circles (Tokyo addresses are a series of ever small circles - right down to the last one, with no street names being used for the most part). Triumphantly finding it without so much as a single phone call asking for help, I concluded my business in about an hour (an interview), then found myself back outside with several hours before my next appointment, so I decided to try walking from Ikejiriohashi to Shibuya. The following photos were taken during the four-hour journey.
In spite of rivers in the city generally having been put between and on concrete like this one (Meguro River), some effort has been made to have green alongside them, and so they are still nice to walk along in spite of the concrete (necessary to prevent flooding). At least this one is out in the light of day. Some rivers are put underground out of site entirely! The pressures on nature of the the big city....
The shrine provided a welcome place to take a rest and think a little. Some areas of Tokyo could do with a lot more green, but when you find it, it's appreciated first and foremost. Wishful thinking creeps into your thinking later.
The batch of photos above is missing a lot of concrete and asphalt when I think back on the progression of my walk. The first photo was at the shrine, the second was on one of the larger side streets near the shrine, and the very brightly colored flowers were next to an overhead expressway and very busy road - complete with the noise and exhaust of the cursed fire-breathing engines. When I look at those flowers now, I can scarcely believe the surroundings in which they live. What sticks in my mind is the expression of a man passing by who gave me a curious look as I photographed the flowers - it's one thing to be photographing plants in a beautiful garden, but I suppose it looks strange in the middle of a sea of concrete.
In any case, I got tired of the noise and exhaust fumes, so I escaped down a narrow side street that took me over a hill and into a very different looking and feeling area. I had heard of the rich folks' area not far from Shibuya... "Ah... this is it then..." thought I, as I contemplated the quiet, green, big housed, rich... area I found myself in. What a difference a five-minute walk and a small hill can make! The last photo (above) was taken from the top of a hilltop park in the rich folks' area. I sat on a bench on the top of the hill in my best clothes (worn for the interview), and looked around at the foreign kids speaking English as though they were in New York or London; the mother who called to her daughter and walked off with her in a swirl of English words spoken as though they were in Seattle; the local women socializing with their cute little dogs on leashes... I felt something like a nearly invisible man (thanks to the clothes) who has found himself on an alien planet, but the aliens - from a distance - accept him as part of a scene that he very definitely is not a part of (insufficient funds).
On the other side of the park, while I was taking pictures of the lunch van, the man running it walked up and said (in English) "Do you like my van?", so after exchanging pleasantries (he probably mistook me for one of the monied ones), I asked him if he's like to be on my website, he was positive to the idea, and - poof! There he is! The phone number and e-mail of the sandwich place is on the picture. A little hard to read maybe, but if you look hard enough, you should be able to make it out.
A fire-breathing monster (#4 above)... beloved if I had had the keys to the ignition in my pocket... hated as it stood there in my way reminding me that I'm too poor for car ownership, and the toxic stuff I have to breathe for air comes from the tailpipe it it and other fire-breathing monsters.
To continue the money theme (having it and not having it), the lower middle picture is a close-up of a stone wall that was below what has got to be one of the nicest houses in the area. An older house with character and mostly hidden up on its hill behind a wall of plants. It's on the corner, but the corner consists of a three-meter high stone rampart - on the top of which is the garden (with the house built on the same level). Were I rich - very rich - and were I living in that house, I would be writing this right now out in that wonderful garden and there wouldn't be anything in here about alien planets or fire-breathing machinery (I'd probably have several fire-breathers myself). Hmm....... On the other hand... if I had enough money to live there, I would probably be far too busy making ever more money to write anything at all. Ah ha! There it is! A writer then, must by definition be poor? Naw... come to Lyle money, I promise I'll keep writing and taking pictures!
The pink-mobile. That's a very sensible vehicle actually (aside from the color that is!). Taxes are based on a car's wheelbase, so with a vehicle like that, you can have a lot of space and still be in the cheap with the taxman thanks to the small wheelbase.
Near Shibuya Station. Not much to say about this batch - just that, of the six, I like the third and sixth ones best.
Copyright 2005 - Lyle H Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo