mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Sic transit

Turning out the stationery files looking for envelopes, I found a used envelope from '92 with my Yamato-cho address on it. So naturally I called up Tokyo Streetview to see what had happened to the old neighbourhood. If Streetview is to be trusted (it isn't in TO, where my present address gets you next door in May 2012) my old house is now a hole in the ground, or was in July. By now it may be a lovely aluminum-fitted modern house like the ones to both sides. Nothing at all looked familiar, but a click or two along the street revealed that the denki-ya-san (electrician) is still there and still in business, though I remember him- *once* I remembered him, because I'd totally forgotten about him- as ancient.

Not actually surprised that All Is Changed, you understand. In Japan a twenty-year-old house is what they call 'dirty', meaning old. Usually dirty as well, Tokyo climate and building materials being as they are. (Mine looked exactly like the ones in the icon, which dates to 1946. The house was built above bare earth, which the rats loved. Yes of course we had rats.) Tear it down, put up a new one, nothing more natural. But someone at work just came back from two weeks in Italy and put together a slide show on their tablet, and looking at all those buildings from ohh yanno the 16th and 17th centuries made for a deep cultural disconnect.

(The oddity of Tokyo streetview is that everything looks narrower than it is, unlike here where all the streets seem wider and longer.)
Tags: japan, place

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