The other day I made my way from the Tokyo side of the Kyoedogawa RIver to the Urayasu side to just wander around in the clear winter air. I love wandering around the old part of the fisherman town of Urayasu. The tight alleys and the corrugated metal homes that sit along the river that comes off the main river.
Urayasu for many years was a hub of clam harvesting, fishing, and seaweed gathering. Urayasu was a town of fisherman. They were utterly dependent on the sea to provide for them. Those fisherman days are all but completely over. There are a few families that make their living from the sea, but most now travel into Tokyo and have company jobs.
I am a bit saddened as Japan looses these pockets of old culture as the mad dash to modernize and compete on the world stage. As I biked around the neighborhood, I was astonished to see the amount of rebuilding in the old neighborhood. Everywhere I looked I saw houses being taken down, empty lots being prepped and building going up. There was so much construction that was dismantling the tight community of Urayasu.
I came upon a large patch of land that had recently been bulldozed and graded relatively flat. Buried though out the earth were thousands of shells. A reminder of the properties seaside past, or past profession. They I spotted something unusual next to a cinderblock wall, I spied a Japanese stone lantern, and assorted rocks making up a small zen, meditative garden. This little patch of tranquility had been sparred the bulldozer, and hopefully will be preserved for the next house that is to come. It gives me some hope that all might not be lost in the old neighborhood of Urayasu.