demolition

Remnants of Shinto ceremony on ground, sometime between demolition and new construction

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去年、取り壊された家の場所で、測量技師が仕事をしています。広告や神道儀式のあとが見えます。中野で。

The two neighboring houses which I watched get demolished last summer are showing signs of activity: a realtor banner, a surveyor, and a pile of fallen bamboo from a Shinto ceremony. In Nakano.

Have you seen Shibuya Station recently? Seems to be demolition time, with a new mega-building in the making?

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最近渋谷駅を見ましたか。今デパートとJRホームの構造を取り壊しています。手前で、新しいヒカリエという東急会社のビルが登場しましたが、どんな新しいショッピング・ターワーを作ろうとしているのでしょうか。東横線が今は地下に入ったので、もっと地上のスペースができたのでしょうか。

It seems the Tokyu department store above the station is being demo’d. I expect it will be another mega-shopping, “cultural” and office tower like the brand new Hikarie across the street. I wonder how it will be different and even “newer.”

Another rail change is the demolition of the elevated Toyoko line to Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and on to Yokohama, which has been replaced with the underground extension of the Fukutoshin subway line. Is there a plan on how to use this reclaimed public space?

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The mailbox, buzzer and family name are all that’s left after Nakano demolition

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取り壊しの後には、メールボックスとブザーと表札しか残っていません。

This is the end of the demolition series. I took this photo with my iPhone as I was leaving Nakano for a trip to San Francisco on September 1. I am curious whether the mailbox will still be there later this week when I return.

Construction worker poses on top of truck, in front of his job site

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 毎週、現場を通りかかると、同じ青年がいつも声をかけてくれました。仕事にとても誇りを持っているようでした。

For weeks, each time I passed the demolition site, the teenage worker would greet me. He seemed eager to pose for photographs. Here he is on top of the truck that hauls out metal scrap.

Western style home from the 1970s also getting scraped

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二番目に取り壊される家は洋風です。玄関の上に、古風な機械が置いてあります。

The second house seems somewhat more recent and more Western in style, with lots of fancy metal work and a mix of brick and concrete. During the demolition, archaic machines were perched above the front entry.

At the start, the demolition truck is still empty

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取り壊しの初め、トラックは空っぽです。青いタイルの家も左隣の家ももうすぐ取り壊されます。

The houses to be demolished are the Showa-era one with blue roof tiles and the neighboring house on its left.

“These are Japanese tabi,” announces the young demolition worker

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とてもフレンドリーなガテン系の青年は靴を指差して「ジャパニーズ足袋」と言いました。これから、中野にある住居の取り壊しのシリーズをはじめます。取り壊しの時に、住居の中が見えます。真夏なのに、若いガテン系さんは一所懸命に働きます。

On my way to the station, I first notice a large truck parked in front of an old house. A minute further down the small street, this orange-haired youth greets me, and points at his shoes, saying “these are Japanese tabi.” Tabi are the mitten-like shoes worn by Japanese construction workers and farmers. He very willingly posed for his portrait, with the demolition site in the background.

This is the start of a series on the demolition of two adjacent Nakano houses. One was, at one time, an elegant and understated Showa-era home, with clean lines and a few blue ceramic roof tiles as decoration. It’s neighbor is a more international-style home from perhaps the 1970s. The demolition took place during the heat of summer in August.

Home demolitions give you a rare peak inside the homes of strangers, allowing you to see interior courtyards, old kitchens, and other “private spaces.” The demolition requires weeks of dismantling and trash sorting. There’s some machinery for the heavy lifting, but much of the energy for these small projects comes from youth.

This is what the hidden Shinjuku looks like from the back of the buildings

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新宿の建物の解体された後、裏からの視点ができました。都市の考古学ですね。

This is urban archeology, with past and current technologies made visible. A large building in Shinjuku is torn down, exposing the back side of the neighboring buildings. It’s amazing how haphazard and tenuous the building systems are. There are many wires that seem left-over from earlier times. Also amazing is how the air conditioner below has been squeezed into the crawl space!

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Mechanical claw gobbles up Showa history

日本語では「パワーショベル」と言いますね。昭和時代の家にさようなら。

Living in Tokyo you become used to the continual process of demolition and new construction. Not the ten or twenty year boom and bust cycles I’ve seen in San Francisco and New York City. Even in the perpetually shrinking Japanese economy, Tokyo continues to morph and grow. The photo is from the demolition of a post-war Showa house in Nakano, a residential neighborhood. It will undoubtedly be replaced with a multi-unit structure made of pre-fab materials and slightly customized, standard layouts.

Closer to my house, I’ve seen the local liquor seller vacate his main storefront, which was replaced by a brand new 7-Eleven in less than four weeks. I watched the incredibly fast work to the interior, modernizing a 1970s storefront into the faceless, placeless space of a convenience store. They also installed enormous heating and cooling structures on the roof. I was glad to see that the liquor store owner has retained an adjacent, closet-sized space for his liquor sales. He seems to enjoy interacting with the neighbors.