Since I moved to Tokyo almost ten years ago, I have been a city girl. I live in Meguro and rarely leave the Yamanote districts of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ebisu and Meguro. I do occasionally take my passport and travel the 20 minutes to some of the Shitamachi districts like Akasaka, or Aoyama, but the suburbs are somewhere I usually would never dream of going. They tend to be characterless, residential areas with little to make you want to go there.
However there is one exception and that is Kichijoji.
Kichijoji is a suburb to the east of Tokyo and is part of Musashino City. It is leafy spacious and green, but has good transport connections and really great shopping with lovely boutiques and also some great department store and a really great covered shopping street right by the station ! ! !
When I was working as a promotion girl my agency had a contract with Canon and I was sent to a very large and famous camera store in Kichijoji quite frequently to promote and demonstrate various camera and other equipment, and walking around the area I came to appreciate the lively atmosphere, the large number of young people, the really great shopping, and the good night life and slightly alternative feel to neighborhood.
There is a lovely park called Inokashira Park with a beautiful Buddhist temple at one end and a number of Shinto shrines at the other. There is also a really nice petting zoo where you can pet the amimals which is of course very popular with young children and their parents.
So I hope I am painting a picture of a beautiful and laid back suburb and actually Kichijoji is consistently voted as the place that most people would like to live ! ! !
However there is of course also another side to Kichijoji ! ! ! If you leave the station by the opposite exit to the shopping district, you will enter a lively entertainment neighborhood, part of which is also red light district with all the usual pinkusaron, soaplands and sex encounter establishments that you find in these places everywhere, but part of which is full of lively clubs, and bars.
It was in this area that I first discovered Johnny Cash ! ! !
After working in the camera shop for the day, I went to take a drink with one of the sales guys there, and we went to the entertainment district to a cowboy themed bar with waitresses dressed in really cute cowgirls in uniforms and the waiters dressed a s cowboys, of course the music was Country Music.
I was not really paying attention, but suddenly on the TV Screen I saw Iggy Pop ! ! !
What in Earth is Iggy Pop doing singing country, but them I started to realize this actually a song by a country artist with rock stars appearing as guests. The track seemed to hypnotize me, and drew me in. I desperately tried to listen to the words and could catch a few phrases. I was so entranced by the track I even used my phone to search for the lyrics and after reading them I ask the barman to play it again.
I left the bar determined to find out more about Johnny Cash and as I walked back to the station past the red lights clubs and the hawkers outside, the words of Johnny Cash’s song came back to me . . . . .
Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down