Illuminated Fuji in old-style coffee shop

A friend invited me to lunch in Shimbashi, an old business district separated by the Yamanote and several other rail lines from a much newer office area called Shiodome. We ate at a fantastic grilled fish restaurant in the basement of a 1960s “modern” building. On leaving, we passe by this incredible time capsule of a coffee shop, with original light fixtures, furniture, and perhaps the same customers as forty years earlier.

The illuminated Mount Fuji mural is a wonderful example of how Tokyo residents adore this mountain. It reminded me of similar era mosaics found in old sentos. As we passed by, we noticed the medal ceremony for Japanese figure skater Mao Asada broadcast just to the left of Mount Fuji. There was something uncanny about this of-the-moment live broadcast inside an interior that has not changed in decades. This basement level, businessman’s refueling and gathering place is a secular shrine to the beauty of nature.

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