Tokyo: A Certain Style by Kyoichi Tsuzuki

Tokyo: A Certain Style
Kyoichi Tsuzuki
(Chronicle Books, 1999)

Karin Goodwin is often listed as the author. Perhaps she translated? (Original photos and text are Tsuzuki's.)

READ: March-July 2006 (intermittent)

What a fascinating little book. We found it on one of the bargain shelves at Chapters, and it quickly became a permanent fixture in the washroom (only the best books are reserved for the "throne" at our place). This is a long way from Zen gardens and stripped-down, bare interiors. Instead, Kyoichi Tsuzuki took many candid shots of people's apartments in order to show how Tokyoites really lived. And how do they live, you may ask? Well, according to this book, they live in tiny little spaces sometimes barely deserving of the word "room", and they fill these spaces with stuff, stuff, and more stuff. It was just insane to see how some of these places were just filled to the rafters - and beyond! To be fair, many of the people whose places were profiled were artists and other such occupations in which much "stuff" is often accumulated. But it's a crazy read, loads of fun, and really really really interesting to see.

Quirky sidenote: I don't have the book handy* so I can't give you an exact quote, but in Wrong About Japan, Peter Carey makes a reference to a book showing how Tokyoites fill their homes with stuff. He describes the book at some length, without actually mentioning it by name. But there is no doubt that this is the book he meant!

* It's sitting in a storage locker in Ottawa, halfway across the world from where I am currently writing this. That excuse should hopefully be good enough.

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