This new learning amazes me.Posted: 05/09/2013
Kikai’s pair of labyrinthine books have been on my mind in recent days. I wondered if anyone else had noted them — in (cough) any of the languages I can be bothered to read — and it turns out that yes somebody has. Of Labyrinthos = 東京夢譚, we learn:
Just like his portraits, the cityscapes were also taken in Asakusa, a former entertainment district in Tokyo, still popular because of its many temples.
There are four photos shown: from plates 43, 66, 72 and 87.
The layout of this book is very straightforward. Under every photo is (i) the plate number, (ii) the area where the photo was taken, and (usually) (iii) the year when it was photographed. Perhaps unfortunately, the second of these is only in Japanese script, so let’s transliterate (and googlegloss too):
- Plate 43: Shinjuku-ku Kabuki-chō (Google Map)
- Plate 66: Shinjuku-ku Nishi Shinjuku (Google Map)
- Plate 72: Kawasaki-shi Tama-ku Kawahara (Google Map)
- Plate 87: Shibuya-ku Nishihara (Google Map)
It would take you well over an hour to walk to any of these places from Asakusa (Google Map).
Putting aside what the photos show, just what is this place called Asakusa?
Asakusa, a former entertainment district in Tokyo, still popular because of its many temples
Oh? Though no expert, I’d guess the reasons for Asakusa’s popularity are:
- its temple, Sensō-ji
- the street leading up to this, Nakamise-dōri
- proximity to Tokyo Skytree
- view of the golden turd
- the entertainment available there (for example, theatres)
- various festivals
- shopping (predictable stuff, but also the traditional, and such places as Hayata Camera)
- places to eat and drink (here — the small spots as well as the big ones — are izakaya, Japanese-style bar/restaurants)
(And there are more ideas here.)
I may of course have failed to notice, or forgotten, the “many temples” that I’m surprised to read are in Asakusa.
Perhaps best is its footnote 4:
Sometimes, I deceive myself into thinking that I cannot live without a certain book, so I do whatever it takes to buy it. For some reason, when it is finally in my possession, I look at it only a few times, and then completely forget about it, its impact having been far less important than I initially thought.
Yes! And it’s worse than that. Some I look at only once. Or perhaps I don’t even do that.