3 in 30 - 2001.04.22 Sunday
The Matsubara-cho neighborhood is quiet on an early Sunday afternoon. Saturday was nearly fifteen degrees C cooler than the day before and Sunday it warmed up a bit, so by early afternoon, most of the neighborhood seemed to be empty. This week, I thought I might find some groups of people to put into the snapshots, but there was no one about.
Instead I walked out to a raised parking lot behind one of the pachinko parlors and looked west. On a clear day, you can have a good view of Mount Fuji from this location, but today was not a clear one. There was a veil of haze in the air that obscured the view to even the ridge of hills across the river. Instead, we are able to look down and see one of the three large, attended bicycle parking areas around the Haijima train station. One is just outside our back door. The third is on the other side of the train tracks, outside of Matsubara-cho.
It seems that there is always some construction going on somewhere in the neighborhood. Since there are really are no "empty" lots, in order to build something, something needs to be torn down. Since we don't frequent this part of the neighborhood much, I have no idea what may have stood inside this fence before.
When the old house was torn down, they did not tear down this stone built kura. A kura is basically a fireproof storehouse. It would be used as the family's vault. In it would be kept valuable kimonos, seasonal clothing, cash, and possibly a supply of rice. Where most of the architecture was of wood and paper, city-wide fires were a real possibility. The famous Chicago Fire was a rarity, while the nickname for the fires in old Tokyo was "Edo blossoms."
I seriously doubt if people keep similar valuables in kura these days. This one may have been allowed to stand—even with stains from the former house—because it is still a good looking building.
Returning back toward our house, these azaleas in full bloom make an unmistakable impact. These happen to border a walkway/driveway between two parking lots. You will only be able to get a vague idea of the variety and depth of color from the computer screen. You should see them up close. The bushes closest is of a deeper purple than the crimson bushes behind.
You may notice the small pickup truck parked in the near lot. If you are more familiar with English, you may think it reads "Su Ga Pi El." In this case, one would read from the front of the truck to the back. It reads "LP Gas."
Behind these luscious azaleas is an a-typical house in the neighborhood. You can see that the designer accentuated the staircase in the front by making it stick out from the side of the house.
On the far left corner is a room with a vaulted ceiling and some a-typical huge picture windows. This happens to be the music room in the house with two grand pianos and space for one person to walk on the keyboard side. I only know this because this is where Candy goes for her music lessons. She has been taking piano lessons from Mrs. Ishikawa for about four years now. She recently started learning a bit about the violin from Mr. Ishikawa.