Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Tokyo Kills me, 2008

Ongoing Updates (5.26.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

Check out the most recent pictures posted, circa 2007-2008, at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Advertisements

Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

20070701-untitled shoot-9_DxO

Ongoing Updates (5.23.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

See more at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Ongoing Updates (5.20.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

20061204tokyo5253_DxO-4_DxO-1

 

See more snaps at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos 

Golden Gai Warning: Touts from Notorious Kabukicho “Clubs” Encroach on Golden Gai

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
On the Path Golden Gai

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…

Here’s a longer version of this story, if you wanna read more. https://medium.com/@aaronpaulson/kabukicho-touts-now-in-golden-gai-22b5bfd66672

Kinokuniya’s Flagship Bookstore in Tokyo Downsizes

Kinokuniya Bookstore, Tokyo

It couldn’t last; Heck, I’m surprised it stuck it out as long as it did. A six-story bookstore simply wasn’t meant for this world of online ordering and ebook readers. As of December 1st, the flagship store of the Kinokuniya bookstore chain has given up four of its six floors to a designer furniture shop. For now, the foreign books section remains on the sixth floor, and still stocks books in English and French and other languages, though anyone who’s visited recently knows, other merchandise such as large-scale wall calendars and t-shirts are encroaching on the floor space once reserved for books and magazines.

On a personal note, the Kinokuniya bookstore served as a critical landmark  when I first arrived in-country almost two decades ago and spun out a jet-lagged fugue in Shinjuku’s elevated walkways and neon canyonlands. I’ve made regular visits ever since, and always allowed myself the luxury of impulse purchases to help support one of my favourite places to kill time. I have to admit I’ve visited less in the last few years, but I’m going to miss riding the escalator from the sixth floor to the cafe where I could check out my latest purchases.

Sigh. End of an era.

Fire in Golden Gai April 12, 2016

Update Friday, April 15: On Wednesday, a day after the fire, police reportedly arrested a 66-year-old man for breaking into the building shortly before the fire started.

 

Update 7:25 p.m.: According to this report from The Japan Times, the fire is out with no cause determined. Five buildings damaged and one person injured. I can’t tell much from the picture, so I’ll have to pay a visit sooner than later to see where the damage was…

 

Don’t have any details yet, but a part of Golden Gai – my favourite hang-out spot in Tokyo – is apparently on fire. here’s the news footage: http://www.news24.jp/articles/2016/04/12/07327128.html?cx_recsclick=0

On the one hand, given the 200+ tiny bars crammed into ramshackle buildings in this six-block Shinjuku ghetto, it may not be surprising that a fire has broken out. Then again, there has been a rumour ever since Tokyo won the bid for the 2020 Olympics that Golden Gai is once again being considered for gentrification… http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/2020-olympics-might-spell-end-for-shinjukus-golden-gai

Either way, I may have to update Down the Rabbit Hole, my guide to Golden Gai, sooner rather than later…