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Objects That Bridge

Tokyo: tinned beef_1

Tinned beef on display in an izakaya that prides itself on food served fresh. But why?

It’s tempting to simply enjoy the packaging as yet another an example of quirky Japanese design. But ulitmately its more than that – a link between the yesterday and today, or to be more precise, its a bridge between two generations of customers of this Shimokitazawa izakaya. Once run by the father and mother, now by their son, who continues to serve the (tinned) dishes from yesteryear to old-time regulars, whilst at the same time bringing the contemporary fresh to the new. One person’s irony is another person’s familiarity and it takes smarts to keep both sides happy. All credit to the proprietor Hiro san for building, maintaining and walking that bridge.

Tokyo: tinned beef_2

What tenuous link to the future perfect? Simply that that digital trails we leave behind can and will be interpreted every which way. And that on occasion bridge builders will be needed to first understand the signals before figuring out a way to span everything from generations to ideologies.

Tokyo: Hiro san

If you ever make it to Shimokita its worth asking Hiro san his story – be prepared for a journey of formal Japanese schooling, and a spandex clad ride through the west coast rock scene. His plectrum still sits in the cash register.