Observations from Tokyo

I took a short walk around the Naka-Meguro area last night in Tokyo. Wanted to get a feel for the present state of life in inner Tokyo areas. It was a Sunday evening so most people were heading home but the cafe’s seemed to be pretty busy with people chatting and eating.

As for the electricity saving measures that are constantly being talked about on tv and news print. I noticed a lot of street light have been turned off. Every other street light in the Naka Meguro area was off but it still struck me as being very bright. A lot of stores shops and restaurants still have their main sign lights turned off and personally I like this subdued version of the city. It just goes to show how ridiculously over electrified this city was.

There are still a lot of Eco offenders out there as you can see from the photos below.

The pachinko shops which Tokyo mayor Ishihara bashed in his reelection speech are certainly a glaring sore spots in the urban scape. The hundred yen shop I spotted was glowing like the melt down at Reactor #1 and there were a few restaurants that could turn off half the lights and still be plenty bright. How to get private shops and businesses to properly conserve? That is probably going to take customer and peer pressure to see a change.

My travel partner pointed out that people seem to be confusing “jishiku” self restraint and Eco conservation. As if you can’t have one without the other. We both agreed that it is totally possible to conserve energy and still be out there having fun and supporting your community.

Word on the street is that sales are way down at shops around the Tokyo area after a short spending spree during the golden week holiday.

I noticed a decent amount of Chinese tourists at Tateyama over the weekend but certainly not the kind of numbers we saw there the last few years. The presence of foreigners in Tokyo is hard to find. The Asian Tourists I had become used to seeing shopping in Harajuku are now gone.

Again the word street level is that business is going to take a shift away from Tokyo mostly to the west in areas like Osaka. I am already hearing that business is booming in Osaka. Have yet to confirm that through my local connections but I do know that a large number of independently wealthy people have made the move to safer ground in the Osaka area. A lot of family’s with young children have made the move if only temporarily to the western side of Japan. Maybe this influx of people is bringing in more business.

A lot remains to be seen but I think we will see a lot of business shift to areas outside of the country’s capital. A good barometer of this will be things like promotional events , concerts, festivals being planned for the rest of this year. I have already been asked to mc at a big event in Osaka this summer.

If anybody has street level info or opinion I would appreciate comments!

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