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Micro-Urban Areas

Yokohama is the capital city of Kanagawa with a population of about 3.6 million, which makes it the largest incorporated city in Japan.


Within Yokohama there are 18 wards, or micro-urbanized areas that have their own local governments.  I have lived in three of these wards; Naka-Ku, Isogo-Ku, and Minami-Ku.  Of the three wards that I like the most Naka-Ku would be regarded as the best.  If you live in Naka-Ku, no matter where in this ward, you should be no more than a 15 or 20 minute walk to Chinatown in Motomachi , Chukagai.


I clearly recall nice pleasant afternoon strolls when I would walk out of my old apartment, head down the inclined slope, right down into Chinatown.  From door to door it would take me no less than 15 minutes and I would literally be standing in the middle of ChiTown.  Eat a quick power lunch ( buffet ) and then walk home and sleep it off. 


Isogo-ku (“ku” means ward), was also a very nice area for me.  Between Negishi Station and Isogo Station you have buses and trains that run frequently through out the day.  I especially enjoyed the conveniences of living near a Fuji Supermarket, a post office and Yamada Denki( electronics store), all stay open late at night.  I think Isogo has a lot more to offer also in terms of recreational facilities than Naka-ku.  There’s a public gym – no I refuse go! And a bunch of parks and things like that.


Another neat thing about Isogo is its government office building.  It’s very large, clean, and well organized all the way from the parking lot to the library floor and front desk.  Easy access as well.  Just the other day while on my way to the Jukujo Club in Konondai, I came across an old girlfriend while I was standing over by the bus stop at Isogo Station.    I knew it was her, but kept my face looking down at my iphone ignoring her.  I try not to make an already unpleasant situation worse.  The smoking and the tattoo killed all interest I had in her, plus she doesn’t drink nihonshu and she’s into nigga peoples music too much.  If she were more interested in black peoples music then no problem.  


(She was another “bus stop honey” I met a few months ago, but didn’t have the gumption to go all the way with her.   The tattoo she had was too hard on my eyes.  If she had a tattoo of the Hinomaru then no problem).


And there’s Minam-Ku, which is literally like stepping into the twilight zone.  The people in this area are virtually untouched by the modern face paced environment that you get from the city centers of Yokohama.  It’s almost as if people here care nothing about  anything.   Most of the houses and apartments here are very old and dilapidated.  The people smile less and greet less frequently.  Here, a person is very comfortable with living in an old beat up shack – a very clean and tidy beat up shack.  Minami-Ku is like stepping back into the early eighties starting with Inageya, a very old supermarket chain.


(400 B/W Film)


(film B/W)

Somebody lives in this shack!  Where the canoe is located is the site where people dumb their trash on trash day.


There’s a camera attached to this machine.  I love having access to this vending machine and at any time.  You show your I.D. card then look into the camera, place your money and out comes your beer.


Someone lives here.  I would love to go inside.


This house has a little more appeal.  I like how it’s concealed from the outside with bushes and trees.

So while Minami-ku has very old structures it still maintains certain conveniences that make life a little more easier, especially for the elderly. 

Minami-ku is a geriatrics community.  So many elderly live here and everybody notices me.  It’s actually quite scary, yet pleasant because local merchants here have to keep their prices cheap in order to  stay competitive with the two 100 yen Lawson’s that are  500 meters apart from each other.  The fussy obaasan makes certain food prices remain cheap and fresh.


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