Travel to Japan: Tokyo
We begin with the famous Ginza. The names comes from the Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established a mint in 1612 at a place called Ginza--the place where silver is coined. In 1872 the neighborhood was devastated by a fire, after which the government hired Thomas Waters to recreate a London landscape. The result probably explains why Isabella Bird in the 1880s compared Tokyo to Chicago. Nothing is left of Ginza Bricktown, but before it was incinerated the Ginza had already become a Tokyo phenomenon--a shopping Mecca--perhaps because it was also the first part of Tokyo to have streetlights, which were installed in 1882.
Streetlighting, especially electric signs, are now Ginza icons.
Never projecting to the curb, the signs seem colorful but restrained.
Signs line even the Ginza's narrower streets.
Turn off the lights, however, and the neighborhood goes flat. The buildings themselves are of almost no interest.
Meanwhile, advertising advances the old Meiji mission of Culture and Enlightenment: here, Nicole does Omega.
You expected Bill Murray?
And here the magazine Brutus speaks a language that would have appalled the rulers of Edo.
The nightly show.
Down a block.
Gray as gray can be.
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