By Kazuki Wakasugi / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerThe brown, light blue and gray tin roofs of Ekimae Shokuhin Ichiba, a shopping street whose name literally means a food market in front of a station, form a patchwork in front of Shimokitazawa Station in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. This small strip has been popular for many years but is destined to disappear as early as this autumn.
"It used to be crowded with so many customers it was hard to walk along the street," said Yu Hirota, who operates the clothing shop Americaya, recalling the old days. The 81-year-old has been selling U.S.-made jeans and other clothing he procured from sources such as U.S. troops stationed in Japan, as well as food and other items, for more than 60 years. He has decided to shut up shop for good because of the street's scheduled demolition.