Bakurocho, Tokyo | 2015

Spend any decent amount of time walking around Tokyo -- that is, non-tourist Tokyo -- and you'll soon realize that the Japanese approach to zoning differs considerably from the American approach. This is most noticeable in the intermingling of businesses (light industrial, wholesale, and other small mom and pop businesses), and residences (both apartments and single-family homes). (This article is a good primer on Japanese zoning laws and how they differ from the US.)

Here we have a small business of which type I forget now, although the washing machine outside might provide a clue. I imagine a business washing uniforms, tablecloths and the like for izakaya chains. Or alternatively it's a small print shop that moved its washing machine outside to make room for another printer or cutter. Next door is a tonkatsu restaurant, and what looks to be a small office building beyond that.

Bakurocho, Tokyo | 2015

This was taken in the Bakurocho (馬喰町) area of Tokyo. Although outside the Yamanote Line, the circular train line that delineates central Tokyo, Bakurocho is less than a kilometer away as the crow flies from the eastern segment of that line. In geography, character and appearance, if perhaps not in public consciousness, it belongs to the shitamachi part of Tokyo. Asakusa, the "capital" of shitamachi, is 2.5 kilometers north. bakuro translates to "horse broker", and the area gets its name from the horse brokerages that congregated here since before the Edo era. Nowadays, clothes and textiles are what's traded, as Bakurocho makes up part of the Tokyo Nihonbashi Bakuro Yokoyama Wholesale Town, one of the biggest in Japan. In the last ten years or so a number of art, photo, and design galleries have also set themselves up in the area.

Bakurocho, Tokyo | 2015

About a block from the corner where this photo was taken is Sparrow Photo, the only camera shop in Japan I know of that is dedicated solely to large format photography. If you're looking for a Deardorff this is your place. The Bakurocho area is also home to one of the best lunch deals around: a ¥1000 ($8.98 as of this writing) all you can eat sashimi buffet, but you'll have to do your own research for that -- the lines are already long enough as it is!





Bakurocho, Tokyo | 2015

The photos on this page are from a couple of rolls shot in April, 2015 with my Leica M6 and the 21mm f/4.5 Perar from MS-Optics, a Japanese "mom and pop" lens manufacturer, appropriately enough.