Today we crossed the “Bridge of Tears” into San’ya. So as aforementioned, there was a book written by Edward Fowler called San’ya Blues, which “offers the reader a look into the laboring life of Tokyo…an area that is ‘physically and psychologically segregated from the rest of Tokyo’” (Cabrera)(Fowler 16). Truthfully, I did not even know that we were walking into San’ya. When walking down the street, you can easily see the newly constructed SkyTree, which is the “world’s highest free-standing broadcasting tower”. (http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/archive/). The view of the SkyTree and the fact that it is within viewable distance from San’ya is just unimaginable, at least to me. If a city can be able to provide improvements to one section, how about doing so on the other? But again, this is my first thought after walking under the train bridge and entering San’ya. (Also, that train bridge IS NOT the Bridge of Tears).
When we got to Namidabashi (Bridge of Tears), I was absolutely in shock. I did not expect Namidabashi to be a huge and relatively clean intersection. And when we went on a tour with one of the representatives of Sanyukai, I became more and more shocked. I was born and raised in New York (before moving to South Carolina in 2007) and I have walked past different areas full of homeless and low income people. And where they were living was not a pretty site. But in San’ya, the streets were clean and presentable. There were a few people who traveled around bikes and walked their dogs. But still, that doesn’t hide the fact that there as still some very sensitive situations in San’ya. Such as when we first met the representative that took us on a tour of San’ya, we met up with him in front of the Sanyukai, an area that provides free clinical services from Monday to Saturday and provides food and tea to those who need it. As we were listening to one of the volunteers talk in a small alleyway tucked behind a building that was either being constructed or renovated, more than twenty men were sitting down, drinking tea and eating food that was provided by Sanyukai.
Can’t really judge a book by its cover huh? I mean, you can see an area that seems like a normal middle class area and deem it as fine, but what would you think if you saw a woman walk in the middle of the street with one sock on and the other foot sporting what seems like foot infections or injuries. Basically, as one of our professors stated, she shouldn’t be walking.
I will just end the blog with this statement; you can’t really tell what the situation is in an area you have never visited. But it does help knowing its history. Because if I hadn’t known how San’ya came to be from Fowler, I wouldn’t have made anything of this picture:
What do you think?