Waiting for Yakitori and the Danchi 2005-12-20
People waiting in line for to buy yakitori seen through a plastic "entryway." Yakitori is a popular food to buy on the street. Restaurants often have a window where anyone walking by can "impulse shop" for a skewer of meat. This is a very popular hang out at the entrance to Inokashira Park (on the Kichijoji sie next to the Starbucks there).
Today we took the kids to get vaccinated at a nearby clinic. It's in the government housing area. A city clinic next to towering, old and quite unkept apartment buildings. My wife remembers them from when she briefly lived in this city over 20 years ago.
So what are you thinking...? Bad area? If so, you're wrong. The government housing is where many public employees live. Public employees have high status on the whole in Japan. Generally they are very well educated and doing well financially. By "public employeed" I mean the entire gamut from "governor" to "school teacher." Governor?? Actually, they say the governor of our neighboring city lives in (one of the newer) public housing buildings nearby.
"Danchi" apartment buildings may not look nice, and they're not big either. But the rent is cheap. Real cheap--like 300 dollars a month. We have many friends living in the "danchi." They are taking advantage of the low rent and saving money to buy houses. In fact, two or three families that we know will be moving into their new homes soon.
These are young families with two or three kids squeezing into one or two bedroom apartments. They would agree that the spaces are very small, but people in Japan learn to adjust to small living spaces and other inconveniences. It's just part of growing up here (like the period of time that my wife slept in the futon closet as a child -- but that's another story). There's a word for those times: "gamon" (endure).