Saturday, April 14, 2007
There is something funny about that picture. At the weekends they shut off all the traffic on Ginza's Chuo Dori, Tokyo's main upscale shopping street. It is wonderfully liberating. Suddenly the city feels less dangerous and unpleasant. Young children are running helter skelter down the street. There is laughter and chat. It feels really transgressive walking down the middle of the street as if you owned it
Makes you realise how locked down by the combustion engine major cities are, how walking humans are peripheral, subsisting at the edges of the main business of the city.
They have been doing this since the 1960s in Tokyo. It was the inititiative of Ryokichi Minobe, a man who in this single act dwarfed the achievements of the risible and offensive Shintaro Ishihara, who was reelected last weekend.