Sunday, May 21, 2006

Azabujuban Street

It's undeniable that western culture has had a tremendous impact in Tokyo. However, I'm constantly reminded that I am in a foreign country and that things are drastically different. Today was a different story, for today was the first time I felt as if Tokyo was a far and distant land. I stumbled upon a block in which all I that I saw and knew for the past week was gone. Buildings that had 6 floors of restaurants were nowhere to be seen, the bright, neon signs in which most are oriented vertically were very sparse. The first two things I noticed were the colors and the people. Most of the signs and buildings were earthtoned and pastel. You saw the occasional red and blue, but only shop within that block. ALL the signs were in english, and like I mentioned before, all the shops were ground level, the second floor were primarily apartments. It reminded me a little bit of rittenhouse square in philadelphia and in fact, belgium as well, for it had a small european flavor to it. And at least half of the people walking around were westerners. I later find out there's an Austrian embassy up the road. It felt like "Americantown", with Tokyo. I felt unusually awkward for some reason, although I've lived in Philadelphia for a long period of time. I would like my project to compare this particular block in Tokyo with other blocks in Tokyo, and see visually how western city blocks are structured compared to contemporary eastern city blocks.

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