This frenetic, superlative Ur-City is the place I have made my home for the last 16 years – a three-year overseas adventure which has become a way of life (sorry, Ma!).
As a writer and especially as a photographer, I find the constant (over-) stimulation a daily source of inspiration. Even after all these years, I start my commute each morning with the thrilling sense of a new adventure about to begin.
Whenever I get a little burned out on daily life here in this overcrowded, hyperactive, workaholic city, all I need do is turn some random corner, preferably with camera in hand, to discover some fresh new angle or view, or to uncover another ugly or delicious *omoshiroi mono* “interesting object” among the everyday, the overlooked, the quotidian.
I have always felt that the world is an erotic place… For me cities are enormous bodies of people’s desires. And as I search for my own desires within them, I slice into time, seeing the moment. That’s the kind of camera work I like. — Daido Moriyama
The short version:
I’ve posted about Golden Gai many times on forums and even written an introductory guide to “Tokyo’s worst-kept secret,” a cluster of dive bars near Shinjuku’s notorious nightlife district where hipster travellers and in-the-know locals mix and mingle and together enjoy a unique Tokyo experience.
In 15 years of exploring Golden Gai’s narrow streets and cluttered bars, I’ve never really felt threatened, even when out all night, alone and killing time ‘til first train…
Until last night, Thursday Tokyo time. For the first time that I’ve seen, some of the touts from the dodgy nightclubs in the surrounding Kabukicho red light district are now in Golden Gai itself. One guy, in particular, chatted up patrons at the landmark Champions bar near Golden Gai’s unofficial entrance. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t take NO as an answer from me, and actually followed me right into Champions bar and wouldn’t leave until he thought I was calling the cops. When he did leave, it was with a threat that “he’d be waiting for me” outside Golden Gai.
Lousy way to end the night.
A one-off, rogue tout, or the beginning of a new and unwelcome phase in Golden Gai’s growing popularity? We shall see…