The above image is from a small side-street in Tsukishima, just off the main street full of monja restaurants. The material culture is a reverse archeology, with the new vending machines at the bottom, a sign for a now defunct bread company in the middle, and on the second floor balcony a curious assortment of discarded household items, including fans, air conditioner, pots, stools, a laundry rack. In a modernized corporate city, these layers of history would not be visible. Although not literally green, the visibility of refuse is a reminder of the life cycle of man-made creation.
Seeing this collection of domestic refuse reminds me of the more curated version, now in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), of Song Dong’s Project 90, a display of thousands of objects hoarded by his mother over fifty years in the spirit of wu jin qi yong, or “waste not.”