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My walk home

heavy metal shamisen takadanobaba eki tokyo japan

It’s a great feeling at night when I’ve finished my class and commute and find myself at Takadanobaba Station ready to walk the final stretch home. Recently I’ve come to anticipate the street musician just outside of the station. He plays a shamisen but not like the geisha. No, he plays a heavy metal version that is quite unique. I really like the vibe.

I was going to talk to him on the night I took the above picture. However, as I approached him he scowled as he tuned his three strings. I figured I should keep my distance. So I went across the street to get a picture. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a clear shot as people kept passing before him.

takadanobaba big box

While I waited for people to clear out, I turned my lens to an icon of the area, Big Box.

bijin shamisen player heavy metal takadanobaba

The view got nicer, at times, but I still didn’t ever get a good photo of the Metal Shamisen Dude. Next time, if I get up the courage, I’ll ask him if I can take a video.

old worn akachochin red lantern covered in plastic wendy's

From there I walked down Waseda Doori passing many curious shops. The one above features an 赤提灯 (あかちょうちん, akachochin, or red lantern) that seems to have been in use for decades. Rather than replace it, they have put plastic over it to keep it from wearing out so fast. The bottom half is literally hanging by a thread.

Places with an akachochin out front are great for a drink and/or bite to eat.

Farther down the street (upper right corner of the above photo) you can see Wendy’s, one of the last places in Japan to not ban smoking. The place reeks inside. Japan’s smoking habits have really changed in the past 20 years. When I was here in the 1980s people smoked everywhere. Now, seeing someone smoking is something of a rarity. There are small, designated smoking areas outside of most train stations, away from the major traffic areas. I no longer have to experience the stink, unless I’m walking by Wendy’s at the same time a customer is coming out the door.

2 Responses to “My walk home”

  1. 1

    I am so happy to have found your blog! I just moved to Japan with my husband, and have started a blog of my own. More importantly, I love reading about your adventures in Kyoto! We plan to travel there in October, and will be returning again in March when our parents come to visit from the States. I know I will be getting some great ideas from your family!

    Arigato gozaimasu!

  2. 2

    nice photos! 🙂