Tsukishima Shotengai – Store Fronts
Last night most of Japan saw a complete lunar eclipse which although impressive it not really photogenic. So instead I picked a few photos of storefronts that I took in Tokyo’s central Tsukishima (月島) district. The name translates to Moon Island. Tokyo is not all gleaming skyscrapers and huge modern buildings, there is also quite a few houses and shops that have probably never seen a renovation budget over two figures, and I love these. Almost all of these stores are family run business, often with the owners being way past retirement age. In Japan pension payments are not connected very much to your income so it makes sense to keep working even after 65 and it also explains why several of these stores are not all that concerned with profit maximization. I always make an effort to shop in stores like this. Most items are slightly more expensive than in the big brand stores but there are enough items much cheaper so on average I think it evens out. It is also a great chance to chat to people you would never ever meet otherwise, as most of the owners are very happy to have a conversation with the purchase (most, but not all). One of my favorite mom and pop stores is a fruit seller in my neighborhood. The first time I went in there the owner, an old lady of way past 90 was sitting down resting and her energetic son of around 70 rushed down to help me with my purchase, sparing his mother. He claimed that his mom was way too old to “risk her heart speaking to handsome gentlemen like you” so naturally I had to buy some extra to reward his excellent sales pitch. It is still the only place where I put money down for fruit!