Katsushika Along the Ganges River
interview, Feb. 2019
Born and raised in Tachikawa, I always lived with my parents or boyfriends before I got married and moved to Katsushika (Shibamata) which is located in east Tokyo.
Tachikawa is, in a word, countryside. Even though it is located in west Tokyo, once you walk a bit away from the train station, you’ll see lots of fields! It was only recently that IKEA was built.
So for me, Katsushika (Shibamata) is very urban. Close to my house, there are 4 train stations, and if you take a bus it only takes 10 minutes to get to other major cities. Even if I miss the last train, I could still walk to the nearest station and come back anyway.
In Tachikawa, when I missed the last train, I had to walk for an hour to get home.
Yes, I came to Shibamata, by marriage last June. This is the house where my husband’s mother and brother originally lived. I also changed my job when I got married and started to work in Ueno. Ueno is far from Tachikawa. It can sometimes even become a real trek. So, I felt like it might be very convenient if I lived in Shibamata.
Here, everything was so new for me. Small shops are tightly placed in one corner together, and sightseeing spots are within 10 minutes on foot. You know, around here is famous for “Torasan” and “Kochikame.” (1).
I was not very nervous when I started a new life here. On the contrary, I was so excited that I could live in such a lively place. Shibamata is along the river, so I thought “oh is this the Ganges River!?” Long ago civilizations flourished by rivers, right?
It feels a bit strange that I see such a big difference between Tachikawa and Shibamata, even though both are in Tokyo.
There are many Yakitori (Japanese style chicken with sauce or salt) shops around here. Well, in front of Shin-shibamata station, there is a small Yakitori stall. Somehow his Yakitori is popular and I also bought it several times.
Near the stall there is super-cheap supermarket called ‘Energy Super Tajima’. So, many locals buy alcohol there, give them to the Yakitori man, and eat together. Amazing, it’s always crowded with locals. Some of them even come here by bike.
Well, my new married life is going well, I guess. I enjoy drinking at dinner and watching TV with my partner. We also renovated our house by ourselves, like changing the wall color. I like it very much.
Of course, sometimes we argue with each other. I didn’t live with him before marriage, so it’s a totally new life. Sometimes, I sleep alone in the living room. On those nights, our cat sleeps beside me, for some reason. When I’m still irritated by my husband, I buy fruit and eat all by myself. Of course, I didn’t tell him about that, haha.
Ah also, I take a walk.
When I first visited Shibamata, my husband took me around the Edo River. It was night, after dinner. I’d never seen such a wide bank.
I also could see the lights of the city, and even Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower (2) at the same time. It was like “Wow! What a place! “.
So, it became my routine to take a walk along the river after dinner, sometimes with my husband, sometimes by myself. I also want to lose weight, haha.
Well, I always walk the same route: Go to the river and walk along the bank, and then towards Taishakuten. I really like the night view of Tokyo.
I used to work at a wedding hall where you could see a night view. I thought that it would be nice to see a night view. Since then, the night view of Tokyo is my favorite. When I see the lights in the darkness, it reminders me that other people are around. That’s exciting and comforting to me.
Also, I was very impressed by a train passing over the river when I first saw it. The shining train runs over a dark river. Very beautiful, like a “Galaxy Railroad”……
The night path to Taishakuten Temple (3) is also very beautiful. In the daytime, it’s crowded with visitors, but in the evening, all shops along the path are closed, no one’s here, only the lights were shining……
There are also lots of stray cats here. They live around Jizo (God of children) in front of the station.
Now you see how much I can enjoy my life only by walking around the neighborhood. So, civilization will prosper, after all, by the river. Yup. The river near Shibamata is truly the Ganges river.
Kurihara Chaos (Kurihara Aka)
Born in Tokyo. Theater management staff. I also undertake free and performing sounds. Last June, I got married and moved to Tachikawa. I’d like to do a tavern wandering memorial because I like delicacies and delicious items. The profile photo is my cat, Yamato.
Twitter: @ iuuu_k
Instagram: @ iuuu_k
Way to go to Katsushika (Shibamata):
From Asakusa train station:
Open Google Map
1. “Tora-san” is a star in a long-running Japanese film series “It’s tough being a man” between 1969 and 1995. “KochiKame” is also a ongtime Japanese manga which was serialized over 40 years.
2. Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower are popular sightseeing spots to see an entire view of Tokyo at daytime and night. They are also beautiful buildings to see from outside.
3. There are many local shops and restaurants around Taishakuten Temple.