Snow Days in Tateishi

essay, Feb. 2019

mao nakazawa

I was born and raised in Tateishi, which is known as the downtown of Tokyo. Here, it connects directly to Haneda and Narita airports, always open to the world.

Tateishi is famous for barhopping, so you can easily find people drinking from as early as noon. When I tell someone, “I’m from Tateishi,” he or she invariably replies, “Oh, I went there to drink!”

I grew up in this city; cheerful and energetic scenes—with alcohol—were always before my eyes.

One particular day, it was very cold. The day before the snow fell was colder than usual; grey clouds, which had seemingly come out of nowhere, were now above me.

“Hey, tomorrow will be snowy.”

“I wonder if the train runs when it snows.”

We all talked about the upcoming snowy day. In Tokyo, it rarely snows, so everyone gets concerned. I was the only one who was excited, like a little kid.

The next morning, I jumped out of bed fully expecting that snow would be piled up high. I opened the curtains, and yes! Snow was everywhere, as far as I could see. It was falling down like cotton candy on the crowded buildings of Tateishi.

There were several streets that nobody had stepped on yet. I pasted jam on some toast, ate a fried egg with bacon and a salad, and drank hot tea (instead of my usual breakfast of rice and miso soup). Then, hanging my camera around my neck, I stepped out the door into the pure, white world.

First, I found white snow on white apartment stairs. In the colorful city of Tokyo, the combination of white on white is very rare.

Close to Tateishi Station, behind the Tateishi Nakamise shopping district, a parking lot—empty of cars—was also pure white, silent, camouflaged.

Here I felt as if the house had been done up in snow makeup, or like powdered sugar had been sprinkled over the old shutters and winter plants.

The camellia bloomed cheerfully even in the cold. It seemed like someone had just painted a bit of pink and green on a canvas.

Today, I felt, the usual energy of Tateishi would probably be covered and contained in snow.

No one bothers to visit on a day like this. Therefore, it’s the best day to hang around Tateishi like a local.

Yes, I was excited for this snowy day because I knew Tateishi would belong all to me.

As snow fell without a sound, I walked back home, taking only the streets that no one had yet stepped on.

written by

mao nakazawa

Photographer and essayist. Born in 1988, Tokyo, Japan. Based in Tokyo.
I am updating my blogs "record of tokyo" with film photographs.
Feel free to contact me!

instagram: @_maonakazawa_
twitter: @_maonakazawa_

related stories

essay, Mar. 2019

mao nakazawa

In the Warm Darkness

essay, Apr. 2019

mao nakazawa

Addictive Spicy Curry Rice