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Kyojima

K intro

 

I could use all kinds of long fancy words but it would all boil down to this – wow. Tokyo. Wow.

Having never been before I had little idea what to expect. I mean, sure, I’ve seen Lost in Translation too. Read some Murakami. Even done some origami in my time. But really, nothing prepared me for this.

After just over a week it’d be somewhat silly to make a grand pronouncement of exactly what makes Tokyo so interesting – but I’m in a silly mood so… You’re in Asia but it feels kind of European, it’s sophisticated but cartoony-madcap too, ancient but edgy, and while buzzy-exciting, there’s also a tremendous sense of calm.

There. Tokyo in a nutshell. The End.

Okay, no, now I really am being silly. Let’s get down to business.

For the first week here I wanted to find ‘old Tokyo’. But was it even possible? One mega earthquake and a world war had destroyed most of the old long ago. And if it did exist, where was it? In a city that makes Los Angeles look compact, I had no clue where to start.

Then I read about a festival celebrating traditional Edo culture that was happening on the weekend in a place called Asakusa. Went. Marvelled. But was disappointed. Impressive temple, grand parade but where was the patina?

Just across the river from Asakusa as it turned out. In an area that actually did survive both the earthquake and the bombs – Kyojima. So after spending half my time in Asakusa, we headed over there.

Some facts… Kyojima is in eastern Tokyo, in the historically working class ‘low city’ (shitamachi). Late 19th century, it still had paddy fields and marshes. After the great earthquake of 1923, masses of wooden ‘long houses’ were built without any planning to cater for those who’d lost their homes elsewhere. When most of Tokyo burnt to the ground in WWII, Kyojima again was spared – by the river and the railway line that acted as firebreaks – and even more people piled in.

So what’s it like today? Let’s go see…

 

Part 1: En route

It’s hard to follow one’s plan in Tokyo I’m finding. You set your course but then something crops up, and suddenly you’re heading down another road, literally.

Case in point – our first day in the area. As I mentioned, we started out by visiting Asakusa, right next door to Kyojima. I had planned to make a beeline for the big temple there but as soon as we exited the subway, Coco and I were thrown off course by two women in kimonos.

We’ve seen so many since then that I almost don’t have to stop and stare now – almost – but these first ones completely entranced me.

 

 

first sighting

first sighting

 

 

 

 

We followed them all the way to their destination – a shop that sold the traditional shoes they were wearing, geta. I ducked inside to ask if I could photograph them – without hesitation they agreed. And so ensued a little photo session…

 

 

the unveiling

the unveiling

 

 

 

 

Kaori

Kaori

 

 

 

 

glow

glow

 

 

 

 

Yumiko

Yumiko

 

 

 

 

ready for take-off

ready for take-off

 

 

 

 

We barely spoke a word but Kaori and Yumiko were both so patient and still. It was dreamlike and inspired some (bad) haiku…

 

 

The brown spot hopped off, And landed on her neck, It was happy there

The brown spot hopped off, And landed on her neck, It was happy there

 

 

 

 

The sound her Geta made, Clip clop clip clop clip clop, Her grandfather’s favourite

The sound her Geta made, Clip clop clip clop clip clop, Her grandfather’s favourite

 

 

 

 

The colour of her Tabi, Made her dream of Hanami, Drinking sake under sakura

The colour of her Tabi, Made her dream of Hanami, Drinking sake under sakura

 

 

 

 

After taking the photographs, they calmly went back inside to resume looking at the hanao, the little V-shaped straps that attach to the geta shoes.

 

 

hanao

hanao

 

 

 

 

endless variety :: 1

endless variety :: 1

 

 

 

 

endless variety :: 2

endless variety :: 2

 

 

 

 

I’d read somewhere that kimonos are enjoying a resurgence among younger women and was curious to know more. But unfortunately the language barrier prevented much chat. So I thanked them both profusely for their time and left. (And do you know, of all the kimonos we’ve seen in the past week, their two remain my favourite.)

 

 

sayonara Yumiko and Kaori

sayonara Yumiko and Kaori

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Still en route

Our next visit was also to Asakusa because at this stage I was still hoping to find the ‘old’ there. We only caught the tail end of the parade of traditional culture and costumes but found a few characters hanging around on the streets late afternoon, being madly photographed by the passing crowd.

 

 

what's so special about these geisha?

what’s so special about these geisha? :: 1

 

 

 

 

what's so special about these geisha? :: 2

what’s so special about these geisha? :: 2

 

 

 

 

they're men

they’re men

 

 

 

 

pretty men

pretty men

 

 

 

 

 

And then, more dress-ups…

 

 

dogs in kimonos being followed by ninjas with big hats?

dogs in kimonos being followed by ninjas in big hats?

 

 

 

 

The ‘ninjas’ were actually rickshaw drivers who whipped out cameras instead of nunchucks to snap the dogs because they were so kawaii – cute.

 

 

 

kawaii

kawaii :: 1

 

 

 

 

kawaii :: 2

kawaii :: 2

 

 

 

 

Part 3: Finally, Kyojima – and the search for the rare nagaya

By day three I’d worked out that Asakusa wasn’t floating my boat – but that just across the Sumida River was a neighbourhood called Kyojima that probably would. It was apparently one of the few traditional areas left in Tokyo, filled with old wooden ‘long houses’ called nagaya. Patina here we come!

First thing of note is that while Kyojima may be old, right next door is Tokyo’s latest, greatest – Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, opened just this year.

 

 

Kyojima, with Skytree in the background

Kyojima, with Skytree in the background

 

 

 

As we wandered around Kyojima’s maze-like alleys, filled with bicycles not cars, residents would ask: So you’re here to see Skytree? No, actually, we’re here to see you! You and your nagaya.

Of course, finding the old nagaya – which are basically three dwellings in one long structure – wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined. I later learned that over the last five to ten years a lot of them have been demolished, some because of the Skytree development itself. (Apparently a trusted community leader who supported the Skytree project was instrumental in getting others in Kyojima to sell their land to the developers. He moved to the 41st floor of one of the condominiums the Skytree people built, saying, “I’m going from a horizontal nagaya to a vertical nagaya”. )

Despite the scarcity of the nagaya, we managed to find a few. This one’s day must be numbered – it’s uninhabited and just standing.

 

 

nagaya - 'long house'

nagaya – ‘long house’

 

 

 

 

revival vs just surviving

revival vs just surviving

 

 

 

 

Around the corner we found a happier story, that of husband and wife Shiego and Fumiko Motosuna. Fumiko has lived in the small house they call home for 80 of her 82 years; Shiego, for their married life, all 54 years of it. Although Shiego at 83 is very fragile, he only needs to open his front door and take a few shuffling steps to sit in the sun and be part of the world.

As Coco and I were trying to communicate with the couple, their younger neighbour popped her head out, to give us the once over and then to help translate – I can only imagine how reassuring it must be for the older couple to have her and their other neighbours so close.

 

 

home for 80 of her 82 years - Fumiko with husband Shigeo

home for 80 of her 82 years – Fumiko with husband Shigeo

 

 

 

 

On another visit we met a Japanese father and son, Tak and Ken, out on a nagaya hunt themselves. They actually took us to the one below, where we ran into Mr Suzuki, a local restaurant owner who was picking up some dishes from the owners of the nagaya, having delivered the food a little earlier. No styrofoam or plastic here – and I love the ingenious system for transporting the tray of food on the back of the motorbike.

 

 

first he delivers, then he picks up - Mr Suzuki

first he delivers, then he picks up – Mr Suzuki

 

 

 

 

up, down

up, down

 

 

 

 

back to base

back to base

 

 

 

 

After Tak, Ken and Mr Suzuki had left, Coco and I stayed to have a nose around the nagaya.

 

 

the front door of No 36-8

the front door of No 36-8

 

 

 

 

a bonsai 'backyard'

a bonsai ‘backyard’

 

 

 

 

nature in the midst of urban

nature in the midst of urban

 

 

 

 

new neighbours

new neighbours

 

 

 

 

Part 4: Down the main street

I’d started to get a sense of the lovely community feel of Kyojima when we’d met Fumiko and Shigeo. But walking down the small shopping street, Tachibana Ginza, I really started to understand what was so special about this place – it felt like a small village despite being in the middle of the world’s largest metropolitan area. Virtually car-free, everyone on bikes, kids running around – and the friendliest shop keepers providing everything you needed for dinner.

 

 

rush hour on the main street, Tachibana Ginza

rush hour on the main street, Tachibana Ginza

 

 

 

 

keeping Kyojima in veggies - Yoshiko and Toshi

keeping Kyojima in veggies – Yoshiko and Toshi

 

 

 

 

Toshi and her kaki - Japanese Persimmon

Toshi and her kaki – Japanese Persimmon

 

 

 

 

when you've finished that, could you go to the shops and pick up some bread please

when you’ve finished that, could you go to the shops and pick up some bread please

 

 

 

 

the stuff of life - memories and bread

the stuff of life – memories and bread

 

 

 

 

Soda waiting for customers

Soda waiting for customers

 

 

 

 

tea and udon

tea and oden

 

 

 

 

 

I particularly liked Yumiko and her colourful shop selling takoyaki (octopus in batter) and taiyaki (red bean paste in batter). I couldn’t sample the wares (gluten) and Coco didn’t want to (scared), so I can’t tell you what they were like. But they looked pretty tasty.

 

 

aglow - Yumiko's fish cafe :: 1

aglow – Yumiko’s fish cafe :: 1

 

 

 

 

aglow - Yumiko's fish cafe :: 2

aglow – Yumiko’s fish cafe :: 2

 

 

 

 

Yumiko making taiyaki - fish shaped cake with red bean paste

Yumiko making taiyaki – fish shaped cake with red bean paste

 

 

 

 

ready to eat - taiyaki

ready to eat – taiyaki

 

 

 

 

And then there’s takoyaki – which sounds so much nicer than octopus balls…

 

 

Mr Yamamoto waits for his takoyaki - octopus balls

Mr Yamamoto waits for his takoyaki – octopus balls

 

 

 

 

takoyaki - octopus in batter

dinner?

 

 

 

 

The octopus inspired more (still bad) haiku…

 

 

Eight tentacles apiece, Like eight petals on her obi, Infinity rules

Eight arms apiece, Like eight petals on her obi, Infinity rules

 

 

 

 

They share nothing, But a predilection for dots, Is that not enough?

They share nothing, But a predilection for dots, Is that not enough?

 

 

 

 

Part 5: The future of Kyojima

As atmospheric as neighbourhoods like Kyojima are, many consider that they’re also a disaster waiting to happen – densely packed areas with narrow lanes that fire trucks and ambulances wouldn’t be able to squeeze through in the event of a major earthquake (predicted to strike Tokyo within 30 years).

After last year’s disastrous earthquake in northern Japan, the government is even more concerned and is looking closely at ways to reduce the risk – the nagaya surely would be the first to go.

I don’t know what’s more worrying, that or the fact that Japan has an extremely low birth rate and a rapidly aging population; I read somewhere that Tokyo’s population could halve in the next 90 years.

From what I could see Kyojima is at least doing its bit to repopulate Tokyo – there seemed to be kids everywhere. Like seven year old Himari, who was dressed for the ‘3-5-7 festival’ – Shichi-Go-San – where kids aged three, five and seven don traditional costume and visit temples and shrines.

 

 

7 year old Himari, dressed for the 3-5-7 festival - Shichi-Go-San

new life in Kyojima :: 1

 

 

 

 

new life in Kyojima :: 2

new life in Kyojima :: 2

 

 

 

 

And Hinata and Icho, playing what looked like hopscotch, minus any numbers.

 

 

hopscotch-ish - Hinata and Icho

hopscotch-ish – Hinata and Icho

 

 

 

 

And perhaps the newest member of Kyojima…

 

 

lunchtime - looking through the noren, doorway curtains

lunchtime – looking through the noren, doorway curtains

 

 

 

 

The Wrap

Maze-like, cramped and at major risk of fire damage from any future earthquakes it may be, but in a city as vast – and ‘new’ – as Tokyo, Kyojima is a wonderful thing, housing families who’ve lived here for generations in a tightly knit community. And I’m glad I got to see the nagaya – I’m not sure how much longer those dear old things can hang on for.

 

 

mesmerised

mesmerised

 

 

 

On the ‘home front’

Coco, being the easy-going, consistently happy, endlessly positive child that she is, has pretty much loved every city we’ve been to. But I think Tokyo is the one that will leave the greatest impression on her. We really haven’t seen much aside from Kyojima yet but already she’s smitten. She can’t get over the kimonos and the school uniforms and the way little kids travel on the subway by themselves. Or how kind and helpful the people are (aside from going out of their way to help us with directions, we were also invited to a small tea ceremony one day).

Then yesterday, as a bribe to do yet another few hours of exploring, I took her to a ‘cat cafe’ where people who can’t keep pets in their homes can hang out with 20+ felines. She loved it. Begged me to stay longer. Desperate to go back.

So that’s it. She’ll have travelled all around the world and people will ask, what was your favourite place. Paris, Rome, Disneyland?

Na, the cat cafe.

Ah well.

 —

This suburb has been brought to you by Di Quick

See you next week.

 

  1. suzy says:

    Such beautiful photos! I love the colours and the vending machines and plants resting on crates. And glad that you are enjoying Tokyo so far! I love Japan because it’s so different to anywhere else – even when things from overseas have been adopted they’ve been given a Japanese spin. I can’t wait to take the children to visit, but in the meantime I’m going to travel vicariously through your photos.

  2. Joel says:

    Love it. I was starting to get a bit worried since it had been a while since your last post, but this one was well worth the wait. =)

    I saw a lot of people in kimono while I was there, but I never could work up the courage to go up and ask them if I can take a photo, and I just don’t know how you manage it constantly. I didn’t really see any of the old neighbourhoods of Tokyo, but I did see some in Kyoto, and I do like those old buildings. Never did manage to see a cat cafe, though. =P

    On a side note, even if Coco finds the takoyaki a little squeamish, I highly suggest taiyaki.

    Awaiting next week eagerly. =D

  3. donna says:

    it is WOW isn’t it…I can’t wait to see the next few weeks Louise…Coco is at such a great age to be in Japan, I know it left a lasting impression on our family. Have a blast Louise…Tokyo is fantastic. :)

  4. Lesley says:

    I am sooo inspired by your project. Before i was aware of it – travelling for a year taking photos and blogging was the top of my todo list – but the scariness of money etc is something to deal with first! Thank you for opening my eyes up to the world the way that you have xx

  5. Vivian says:

    Great post Louise (as usual). I visited Tokyo many years ago when my sister was in Japan on student exchange – I loved it then, and you’ve inspired me to return!

  6. Fay Thomson says:

    I liked the happy children and hopscotch game- not a hopscotch I’m familiar with. Perhaps could be introduced to Australia to help with our obesity problem.

  7. Lulu says:

    WOW! I have walked through Kyojima area before but never knew so much about it. The area on that side of sky tree is amazing. In fact 3 years ago this side of sky tree was completely different as well.

    I think coco would like the taiyaki too as someone mentioned above. It is quite sweet! Even my kids like anko/red bean paste.

    Looking forward to seeing the more “modern” area you head to next.

  8. ric says:

    once again, just fabulous. I think the best thing about Tokyo is the gardens, often in the most unlikely spots.

  9. Deborah says:

    From photographer to photographer, from from Berlin to Sydney to Tokyo: I love your work. Good on you to make this project happen, I always enjoy looking at your images.

  10. di says:

    Fantastic shots Louise, your saturated style works well in this culture, the designer in me adores Japan, as does the rest of me … that takoyaki looks scrumptous, my mouth is watering. Some places have a look of ubiquity about them, but Japan – no way.

  11. MINEKO says:

    Wow! Welcome to Japan! And thanks a lot for your great works. They are so inspiring.

  12. ANDI says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous! One of my favorite places in the world (never been to, yet… sigh) and one of the awesomest blogging photographers to capture it. Thank you for sharing these shots!

  13. Sarah says:

    Awesome work again. Tokyo is on my visit list and seeing your photos makes me want to go even more!

  14. Charlotte says:

    I love this post! As someone said earlier in the comments, Tokyo matches perfectly with your photographic style.
    I don’t think it’s a problem if the japanese population decreases, though. I can see your point regarding the kids in the streets, but Japan is such a small place… Anyway, now I want to go to Japan!

    • Louise says:

      Charlotte – I see your point – small country, small population, makes sense. But the problem with an aging population is that there’s less of a workforce making the moola. So come on Japan, make more babies!

  15. Red Peony says:

    What a fantastic post, thank you Louise!!! Lurrve …….Lurrve….. Lurrv it all… have been there three times. This post makes me yearn ever more so for Tokyo.

    • Louise says:

      Red Peony – Oh very good, I like to make people yearn!

  16. Louise says:

    Suzy – Very glad I can provide some virtual Tokyo experiences for you!
    Joel – Yes, we lost a day because of the time difference, then it took a while to ‘find’ Kyojima. And I suspect I’m not as efficient as I was earlier in the project – after 11months of travel I’m getting a little weary! But very happy you enjoyed the post.
    Donna – Agree, 9 is an excellent age to travel anywhere – they’re fully conscious but not yet moody
    teens!
    Lesley – The money is a worry it’s true. Despite the fact I did a crowd funding campaign and have a few sponsors, this project is going to end up costing me a pretty penny. But if you can somehow do it, I believe it’s worth it – best of luck!
    Vivian – Being a student here on an exchange program would be amazing I imagine. Did your sister get a whole lot out of it?
    Fay – Hopscotch Tokyo style!
    Lulu – I’d loved to have seen Kyojima before it was ‘modernised’. Were there plenty of nagaya then?
    Ric – I’m so looking forward to seeing the gardens too. Haven’t really spotted any – aside from the sweet bonsai ‘backyard’.
    Deborah – Thanks so much – those six months of trying to get this project up were not easy – but worth every minute now.
    Di – So true – few places feel truly unique but Tokyo is one of them. And yes, it’s nirvana for anyone passionate about design. I’m obsessed with their papers, prints etc etc.
    Mineko – Arigato! So wonderful to be here.
    Andi – Dou itashimashite!
    Sarah – I’d encourage anyone to make it No 1 on their list! Come!

  17. Wayne says:

    Hi Louise. I was walking up Collaroy Beach this morning… Lovely kelp masses washed up, held at the high tide mark.
    Maybe seaweed put me in a mood for your “suburb” this week. Sushi? :)

    • Louise says:

      Wayne – I can smell the beach from here! Can’t wait to see that again.

  18. Andy Solo says:

    Oh Louise – they’re gorgeous! You’re amazing. Dan, Akira and I are heading on another Japanese journey for 6 weeks in early December and you’ve just boosted my excitement ten-fold! Love your Haiku too… keep up the beautiful, brilliant work… x

    • Louise says:

      Andy – Oh wow, six weeks – where are you going? And thanks, glad you like my Haiku!!

  19. Denise says:

    This is a wonderful post, because I’m currently planning a trip to Japan next year, and looking to stay in Asakusa, so I’m pleased to hear about this traditional suburb nearby. I’m looking forward to more Tokyo posts. Also the cat cafe, I’m with Coco on this. I so want to visit one!

    • Louise says:

      Denise – I think Asakusa would be fantastic to base yourself. Hope you like the cat cafes!

  20. ellen says:

    another great post xxxx japanese ppl r so kind and so shy asian ppl r great only prob i have with them is they r generally more funny bout the fact im in a chair than most other cultrues but i had a dr once who explained that reason to me its coz in their countries people like us dont get out much they r kept locked in homes or sent away i remember that dr had said how lucky i was that i live in a place like aus where we all can get out yet i still find they can be all stiff and funny to me like if im looking at soemthing in a shop ill get odd looks i dotn get in soem other shops like im gonna break soemthing great ppl tho

    • Louise says:

      Ellen – It’s true, you hardly see anyone in a chair or a wheelchair here. How sad that they don’t encourage people to get out – can you imagine? It must be a cultural thing and so I guess they would find it strange when you suddenly appear. Maybe you can start a trend!

  21. Kylie says:

    Another wonderful post Louise…I particularly love the vending machine image with Coco at the end. It kind of sums up the overwhelming awe of the place. Looking forward to your next post. Have fun!

    • Louise says:

      Kylie – ‘Overwhelmed’ is how I felt the other day at Shinjuku station, trying to work out where to go – apparently two million people pass through it every day! Scary.

  22. Suey says:

    wow…tokyo was the first city I landed in on my first trip overseas 26 yrs ago…wow then, still wow now. I wonder what happened to Hiroyuki (my snow prince of way back when)? enjoy, I will enjoy the virtual reminiscence!

    • Louise says:

      Suey – I was only thinking about you coming here all those years ago – and then saw this! Where else did you explore in Japan – seem to remember you went to the countryside?

  23. lynn says:

    How talented and wonderful your eye on this world is.
    Thank you again.

    • Louise says:

      Lynn – Oh, you’re very kind. Arigato!

  24. Anthony says:

    Wonderful stuff as usual Louise – love the people and the little details (the stripey pattern on the Kimono was extra cool). Tokyo is a sensory-overload. I’ve only managed a couple of stopovers of a couple of days each, but I’ve stayed in Shitamachi. As I understand it you won’t find much ‘old’ in Japan – buildings were traditionally of wood, which of course burns easily, so in a country of earthquakes and centuries of civil war they’re used to building from scratch. In Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hotel Tokyo was simply demolished to be replaced with something more modern.
    I’d highly recommend books such as:
    Lafcadio Hearn (a Nineteenth Century Anglo-Greek who settled in Japan)
    Speed Tribes by Karl Taro Greenfeld
    Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
    The Roads to Sata by Alan Booth
    Kampai!

    • Louise says:

      Anthony – Demolishing a Frank Lloyd Wright building? Yikes. I have read how until recently ‘old’ wasn’t valued very much here, but that luckily things are changing. Although there ain’t much old to save sadly. Thanks for the book suggestions – I may have to wait until next year to read them though!

  25. katerina says:

    Lost 4 words…just seeing ..needs no words,except, thank you. xxx

    • Louise says:

      Katerina – So happy I could transport you.

  26. Gaylee says:

    Fascinating Louise…can’t wait for more!

  27. Claire says:

    Hi my love.. – yes Tokyo is definitely very ‘you’.. looks amazing. After all the agonising, I think you made the right choice. xx

    • Louise says:

      Claire – Now I know what Tokyo’s like, I can’t believe I almost didn’t include it in the project. People can try and paint a picture of a place but until you see, smell, taste it for yourself, it’s hard to know if it will really float your boat.

  28. Libby says:

    Another masterpiece! Feel like I’m there. Love your octopi and kimono pairs. Is that Haiku? Can’t wait for your next chapter and to hear what Coco makes of all their fabulous oddities and gadgets. Wishing you warm toilet seat :)

    • Louise says:

      Libby – Those toilet seats are so curious. So many buttons but always seem to struggle to find the flush. The other day I set off all the options trying to find it. (Thankfully though, not the bidet function, or would’ve ended up getting squirted in the eye.) And yes, that was Haiku, or an attempt at it anyway!

  29. Antoníno Pinguim says:

    Fascinating Louise; Suas imagens são Maravilhosas.

    Antoníno Pinguim
    Jornalista & Multimídia
    Paraiba – Brasil

    • Louise says:

      Antonio – Obrigada!

  30. Whispering Gums says:

    I’m with Coco … Japan gets under your skin. Loved your description of kyojima and your analysis of its future. Sad really, and yet …

    • Louise says:

      Whispering Gums – Sure does. It’s probably the one country I really want to come back to, to explore in full. Fascinating, fun, surprising. And I still cannot get over how calm and civilised Tokyo is, despite the millions. Perhaps it’s the fact that there are rules, set in stone, and everyone follows them. Of course that can be a little frustrating at times!

  31. Trudy says:

    One word – awesome. Such a great adventure to be on *slightly jealous* LOL

  32. Sarah says:

    Yay, lovely post – very engaging. I was half way through when you were talking about bread, and I thought ‘are you GF’ and alas you got to that! I’m just back from Morocco and Paris – and it seems what was previously a choice to eat less wheat is turning into something more sinister (as in, eat it, and suffer!) So I empathise with you and your plight as you travel around. Admittedly asian food seems to offer more rice based options, thankfully, so you might be right for a little while!

    • Louise says:

      Sarah – Sorry to hear you had food issues. Actually, Japan isn’t easy for gluten problem people – the rice is fine but they cook so much in soy sauce, which actually has wheat in it. I have my own bottle of Tamari but you can’t always organise for the cook to use it instead. Very frustrating because all the (soy-infused) food looks and smells so good! Hope your holiday was wonderful.

  33. Margaret says:

    Meanwhile, at home Summer Hill has a Smart ambulance for worming through big crowds; the Tokyo city fathers might consider the idea for the tiny gorgeous streets you show so appealingly.

    • Louise says:

      Margaret – Agree, Summer Hill needs to talk to Kyojima – wonder how that would go down?!

  34. Sam says:

    I’m with Coco. I’ve travelled all around the world many a time and still it’s the cat-cafe that wins!

  35. Elowyn says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so happy that you chose Tokyo, I have always wanted to see it, and as circumstances dictate I probably won’t in real life, how better than through your lens. Beautiful!

  36. Anna says:

    Arigato Louise for another fabulous post – loving re-visiting Tokyo “with” you. I shared your link with a Japanese friend, who replied with the following:
    I fully enjoyed your friend, Louise’s “Kyojima” photos and stories. I could feel her warm heart and love to the people of Kyojima through her every shots.
    Her photos and writings surely discribes a true life of Kyojima people. Kyojima was named by the combination of “Kyo” of “Tokyo” and “Jima” of
    “Mukoujima”.The population in 2011 is 10,465.

    • Louise says:

      Anna – Lovely reaction from your friend. Very happy she felt I painted an accurate picture of Kyojima.

  37. Jackie Nolan says:

    Missed this e-mail at the time! It was wonderful to
    see this suburb – Kyojima – I just loved the old
    buildings or Long Houses – nagaya and the locals in
    their gardens and bonsai. Hinata & Icho playing
    hopscotch was a special photo. I especially liked
    7yr old Himani dressed in her pink kimono for the
    Sichi-Go-San Festival. This post showed a delightful
    insight into this suburb, its inhabitants and special
    features. Thank you for your photographic and written summary. Splendid!

    • Louise says:

      It’s been a while since we were in Tokyo – seeing your comment pop up immediately transported me back there. What a place. And I loved Kyojima so much with its nagaya and lovely people. Very glad you enjoyed it too.

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