4 Tokyo - One of 40 Million


Table of contents:

  • 4.1 Cemeteries
  • 4.2 Construction Workers
  • 4.3 Poor Living
  • 4.4 Elderly
  • 4.5 Going home from work in Ginza
  • 4.6 In the train
  • 4.7 Waiting for something/sitting for no reason




4.1 Cemeteries

The burial of the death became a struggle in the populous city with only few space available. Grave plots are scarcely affordable for ordinary people. In the last years the city also developed the first vertical cemetery - modern temple high rise buildings. The privately owned temple grounds can be found between high rises, green areas and in old residential districts. The sound of the cicadas is a constant concomitant of these sacred places.




4.2 Construction workers

The holes appear on the streets, filled with workers and warm light. Sometimes only a man waves a red light to warn the slight traffic of the empty construction site. Sometimes there are blinking signs with the depiction of a man waving a red light.




4.3 Poverty and Livability

Poverty is hidden in Tokyo. From "the European perspective" materialistically most people live very humble: small homes, simple food, personal possessions just enough to fill once own four walls (, but then up to the ceiling). Considering a relative and local perspective on "poverty": It took me 5 weeks in Tokyo to see dilapidated residential blocks for the first time. Tokyo has a very big number of working poor and day workers. For many others the regular income is just enough to make a living. 
I saw many homeless men in the evenings. At day they work. They leave their belongings neatly packed on a rusty trolly placed on the side of the street.
Many internet coffee shops and libraries which are opened the 24 hours 7 days a week also house many hundreds of young adults every night. The daily entry fee is cheaper. For those with no, small and instabile income proper housing is oftenly not available. There are a couple more facilities that support particular those without much property. Many public lockers and coin based bathrooms, washing machines and dryers can be found in Tokyo.





4.4 Elderly

A lot elderlies in Tokyo. I hadn't intended to photograph them but in review they were on so many pictures...
Every time I decided not to take the train, I walked through the different residential areas. Then I found myself to be the only "young" person among all these elderly forenoon-ramblers. Usually - like the other adults, who have to work - I don't go for a walk in the morning. But now I am exited to try this somewhere else, too - maybe there are  more fit elderly-forenoon-ramblers, too.





4.5 Going home from work in Ginza

Karōshi means "death by work". For many western countries this is what Japan stands for. Per day 12 hours in an office; no breaks; 90 overtimes a month; sunday is free and relatively low waged compared to the high living expenses in Tokyo. Coming home – into a tiny apartment – energy for doing something else is rarely available.





4.6 In the train

„Please refrain from talking to the phone“ announces a voice in the train. Talking, eating and the sounds of a smartphone are unpleasant for the other passengers. So even during the rush hours, the fully packed trains are quiet: people sleep, read, chat or play games on their smartphones.

Exceptions are the trains on the way and away from Shibuya Station in the evening. Then the young and and more western oriented people and as well as tourists make up the majority of the passengers.





4.7 Waiting for something/sitting for no reason: