Gosh how do you talk about Tokyo ! ! !
It is a city of 30 million people divided into (maybe ) a million mini neighborhoods. But there is one real division that exists in Tokyo and it is between Yamanote and Shitamachi
In the Edo period of Japanese history the capital of Japan moved from Kyoto to Edo. Edo was the old name for Tokyo and the emperor and his court moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and of course so did the feudal lords and samurai.
These feudal overlords built thier homes in the higher land to the west of the imperial palace and the tradesmen and merchants serving then built there homes in the lowlands between the imperial palace and the Sumida river and the sea.
These days the effect of this is really that the plots of land are bigger in Yamanote and so the houses and apartment blocks are bigger and more spacious and there are more green areas such as parks, gardens and wide avenues in Yamanote.
Shitamachi is more industrial and the plots of land are smaller so this means the buildings are more cramped and the population density is much higher.
I live in Meguro which is in Yamanote and it is relatively green and spacious neighborhood. There are parks and the Meguro river runs through the neighborhood and is lined with flowering cherry trees which are a major attraction in spring.
It is an area where we have musicians such as Miwa and YUI living here and also embassies from many counties and the Crown Princess (the daughter of the emperor) lives here also.
Really it is a wonderful place to live. There is a thriving artistic community, many world class restaurants, a great alternative culture and the coffee shops that go with that.
Near Meguro are the areas of Ebisu . Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku and, actually these areas are the areas where artists and musicians and fashion designers are all concentrated.
My university is located here and of course my life always centered around Yamanote, and Shitamachi was somehow like a different world and even if it was only a short subway ride away, I never seemed to go there.
However, Kanda is a neighborhood in Shitamachi famous for old book shops and antiques. One day I went to Kanda in search of
book and found a new love.
I came out of the railway station at Kanda and walked past the brothels and strip clubs and came to a neighborhood of second hand bookshops and antique shops
I lost myself in the shops and time past quickly and before I realized it was quite late and I started on my way back to the station through the maze of tiny streets and alleyways that are typical of Shitamachi
I cam to a street stall selling vintage records and I stopped to see what they had. I began talking to the stall holder, but time was flying and I had a train to catch.
So I asked the stall holder ”What is the best British rock album you have? “ He gave a this record. I paid and put it in my bag and ran for the train . . . . .
With out even knowing what it was, the CD stayed in my bag for many days and eventually I took it out and played it .
WOW ! ! ! It was the missing link between punk and the Beatles ! ! ! So many pieces in the puzzle that is British rock finally came into place ! ! !
Much later, with my dad I listened to this track together and he said that it was probably the best 9 minutes of rock ever recoded. I did not disagree with him.
I have never been able to find the stall again, but I have spent many happy hours getting lost in the maze that is Shitamachi looking for it ! ! !
The Best Nine Minutes of British Rock Ever ? ? ? ?
Rock on Spillers ! ! !