This young boy may well have been in desperate need of a pee, but for a moment at least, his bladder concerns were put on hold by the mesmerising sight of a Buddhist monk praying in the middle of the street. Praying, perhaps, that the little lad in question could find somewhere to go before things got too desperate.
Her native Okinawa that she left over 40 years ago must have changed enormously, but the bar this strong-willed Mama-san runs in Tokyo most certainly hasn’t. Or at least not since the 1970s.
A space that in many ways is more like an extended living room than a bar, allowing customers, with the accompaniment of a couple of beers, to feel completely at home.
Despite all the coverage that Japanese trends and technology get, the country is just as traditional as it is modern — maybe even more so. And that’s true in regards both attitudes, and small daily details.
No dreams of Michelin stars or celebrity customers; just good basic food, in suitably basic surroundings.
Tokyo’s Kabukicho red light district isn’t an area known for its restraint; and that goes for the services on offer, as well as the behaviour of those who drink there.
Due to the nepotistic, old boy network that masquerades as democracy in Japan, it’s not hard to understand why voter turnout is low, and apathy reigns supreme. A passing down of the positions of power that arguably makes the current, old Etonian filled cabinet of Britain, seem positively revolutionary.
But thankfully there are signs that changes are afoot, with anti-government, and particularly anti-Abe protests becoming commonplace. A movement that has been galvanised further by the Prime Minister’s recent reinterpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution — this hugely controversial move coming only months after the same government rammed through a similarly contentious secrecy bill. The latter law making a mockery out of any kind of press freedom, while at the same time giving those in power all the freedom they need to block stories or restrict information.
A massive shift to the right, and a worrying nod to the past, that tie in precisely with Abe’s hawkish, backward looking agenda. Policies that are being successfully rushed into being, while his much-touted, and politically motivated Abenomics, continues to falter.
But as mentioned, opposition and public unrest is growing. Many people aren’t happy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And the target of their anger is Abe.
Of that there is no mistake.