Tokyo Stories from Curious Outsiders

021 : James P. Wong On the street facing Sato Musen in Akihabara’s Denkigai (Electric Town), Chiyoda-ku
Born 1978 in the US, James P. Wong currently works as a associate producer. He came to Japan on a JET-sponsored visa. Why Japan? He found himself, in a place he could call home. He digs the following Tokyo bits: anonymity when he wants it, the constant flow of energy in the city, day and night, and having a great time with friends in randomly sought but ultimately wonderful izakayas. He, however, is a touch miffed by anonymity when he doesn't want it, the kaitenzushi shop where he had leather-sushi, and seeing tourists abuse their "rights" on the locals. For more info on James P. Wong you should send an email or visit his personal site.


“The district's energy had faded to rest on my last night there.”

Akihabara was the place for me. I took it on building by building. If there was a sign and a staircase in the Chuo-dori1 area, I explored it.

It was my last night there, and the district’s energy was fading as people walked towards the station. I remember warmth and neon. Fluorescence. A softbox for my soul.

My ear buds pulsed with “Pete Standing Alone” [1] as I walked south towards the corner that would take me to the station. All the blasting store announcements, solicitations, j-pop music and melodramatic voice acting were muted or simply missing from the atmosphere by this hour. I turned my music down just enough to hear the shuffle as passers-by speed-walked around me.

As I reached the end of the street, I turned the corner and stopped listening to my song. Feeling the need to absorb one more visual, I paused a few yards from the Sato Musen building and turned around. I pulled out my five-month-old digital camera, held her steady and snapped without the flash. It felt like I was saying farewell to a close friend. I sighed a “thank you” into thin air.

referenced works

  1. by Boards of Canada

location information

  • Name: the street facing Sato Musen in Akihabara's Denkigai (Electric Town)
  • Address: 1-11-11 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
  • Time of story: evening
  • Latitude: 35.698179
  • Longitude: 139.771902
  • Map: Google Maps


019She laughed at my effort and responded in English, ‘Long time, no seduction.’ — Qi Rari

018In my dreamy state, oblivious to signs and announcements I often boarded the wrong train.— Momus (aka Nick Currie)

017I was fifteen years old and it was one of those nights.— Yuko Enomoto

016That ear of corn just wanted to go home— Guttersnipe Das

015With his painstakingly coiffured mane blowing in the wind— Digits Wolfowitz

014Her voice, even across languages, betraying her worry.— Olly Denton

013I saw them drawing bamboo sticks from a silver rectangular box.— Daphné Haour

012A simulacrum of someone else's home, equal parts comfort and loss.— Adam Greenfield

011Jumbled Escheresque insanity where geo­graphy in any traditional sense ceases to exist.— Joseph Badtke-Berkow

010I could hardly make out anything apart from his glowing eyes...— Uleshka

009Shibuya was like a stroke.— Alice.d

008I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants.— David Cady

007Both my tie and my disposition hang limp as I calculate the remaining distance to the station.— Chris Tobber

006I once read about a Chinese maiden whose feet were unbound by a cruel man …— Claire Tanaka

005The Bad Girl strutted off and I was left with a ham egg pie.— Guttersnipe Das

004I arrived expecting an irritated Japanese person to step out of the crowd and identify himself as Hideki.— Ashley Rawlings

003The woman at the ticket window seemed surprised to see another human being. I was the only visitor.— Andrew Douglas

002Flanked on either side by adult manga shops and the like, the smell of yakitori in the air.— Jean Snow

001For two weeks the day began with this morning walk, our shared routine.— Joseph Squier


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