noisy, dirty and confused environment
The places which most Japanese feel at home are neither quiet, clean nor tidy, but noisy, dirty and confused.
It is a well known fact that when Tsukuba Science City
was still at the beginning of its construction, the rate of suicide was very high among the people who newly moved in and worked there. It was understood that the reason was the lack of crowded and dirty areas with izakaya and other amusement facilities where people could relax and feel human.
Japanese are, I think, like cockroaches, and cannot live in a clean environment
;-p. I suspect whether we share this cockroach-type-nature with other Asians. Whenever I visit marketplaces in Asia, I feel something common with our shopping areas and can feel very relaxed.
We used to have local shopping areas everywhere. They are now being replaced by modern super markets and huge department stores. In a sense, Japan becomes more and more Americanized and less and less comfortable place for the people with native Asian sensibility. But, as I mentioned above, the new and clean places cannot attract people, unless they are equipped with facilities with Asian confusion (^^).
As time went by, Tsukuba Science City also acquired areas with izakaya, rahmen (Chinese soup noodle) houses and other vulgar shops, and few people are now enchanted by the idea to commit suicide.
My favorite Town Seven
This Town Seven
is a piece of traditional shopping area in the modern residential area.
My family likes steamed glutinous rice sold at a store in Town Seven (See the photo above
). It's really delicious and I cannot find any comparable glutinous rice in any gorgeous department house. In order to buy this and some other things (special photo albums of an old design, which are not sold in usual shops !
), I spent US 7$ for highway fee and 20 minutes for driving to come here !!!
There are many other shops which sell home made cooked food, such as tempura
, deep fried cutlet
, grilled eel
, pickles and other daily dishes. Two fish mongers
are competing each other and this competition makes their offer always fresh and priceworthy. We have, in addition, a shop specialized in shell fish. There are also at least 4 vegetable shops and one fruits shop. A bakery and a beans shop. Several butchers and one specialized in chicken. Of course there are shops which sell sweets (Japanese sweets using red bean pasts)
What is good is that the most shops are run by individuals. They are neither chain stores, nor shops owned by big capital. As for cooked foods, the shop owners themselves cook what they sell.
Ogikubo Town Seven is only an example. You can find such local shopping areas (usually shopping streets) everywhere in Tokyo, not only in shitamachi (down town) but also in sophisticated residential districts.