truck

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.

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.

Onward in Tatsumi, a place for transit

この「Onward」というの看板の前をよく通り過ぎます。都市の端の湾の近くは、倉庫やトラックや高速道路が多いです。

Leaving the Tatsumi Metro station, I cross over one highway on a pedestrian bridge, while passing below several elevated highways intersecting with flyovers.

This Onward sign on top of a warehouse feels like a personal extortion to move through this jumble of smog and burning fuels. Onward also seems to capture this part of Tokyo’s role as a place of distribution by ship and tractor trailer. In this frenzy of “logistics,” I always wonder what’s being transported and to whom.

Fortunately, the trees planted decades ago muffle the noise somewhat, and part of this marginal land is used as a park, community vegetable garden, and Olympic level swimming pool.

Peach truck

Peach truck in Jiyugaoka

A common Tokyo summer sight are mini pick-up trucks parked near train stations selling fruit, like this peach truck in Jiyugaoka. The sign on the back says “Directly from Yamanashi, cheap, cheap.”

The summer fruit vendor remains me of the “Arabbers” of Baltimore, who since the early 1800s have sold fruit and vegetables on highly decorated horse-drawn carts. According to the preservation society, the numbers have recently increased from one to six arabbers still working today.

Arabber in Baltimore