Saturday, 9 June 2007

Shimokitazawa relaxation

After submitting my journal paper yesterday and reviewing 5 ARC grants today, I took a pleasant respite in Shimo district this evening amongst the casually strolling crowds and convivial atmosphere of young Bohemian-style diners. my Japanese friend said the other day, "the problem with Shimokitazawa is that there are so many restaurants, it is difficult to choose one". This is a good appraisal of the copious small eateries, inns, cheery drinking stands, trippy night-clubs (psychedelic grotto Mother, Shelter, Club Que) and bars, independent vinyl record stores and numerous fashionable clothing outlets for Bobo rags and 'designer casual'. Shimo is also central to an ongoing political discussion about its conversion from randomly evolved low-rise urbanism to proposed highway and commercial high-rise that would demolish this unique pocket of cultural and artistic community. Described in Tokyo Time Out as one of the world's last 'hippie strongholds', Shimokitazawa is also home to various famous playwrights, artists, celebrities, novelist - Ekuni Kaori, the late Itami Juzo, and theatre directors - Ninagawa Yukio and Mori Hajime.

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