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The danchi (団地) has evolved

blue building near takadanobaba shinmejiro dori

I have seen this curious building, above, several times (on Shinmejiro Dori, just west of Takadanobaba Station). On this day it finally looked ready for a picture with the blue sky and white fluffy clouds passing by.

shakujii apartment complex on shakujiigawa river tsutsuji azalea

This second photo is from the beginning of Walk #2. The Shakujii River was at my back and the Azaleas were in bloom.

I’m sometimes asked what has changed in Japan from when I lived here in the late 1980s. One of the biggest changes is the aesthetics of the apartment housing. I’m not sure exactly when this change came about, but once upon a time nearly all apartments in Japan (danchi or 団地) were made of white concrete. These still exist, as you can see in the above photo, but they are no longer made to look this way. Most, in Tokyo anyway, have been rebuilt with a more modern design (or at least the facade covering the buildings make them look more modern than the white cement which doesn’t age very well).

Not all go for the blue of today’s top photo, but they still look more pleasing than the endless, dirty-white housings of Japan’s past.

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