Mateusz Urbanowicz, a Polish artist who's been living in Tokyo for several years, has succeeded in capturing on paper a Japan made of old shops, family-owned stores and small stalls. From Roppongi to Shibuya, Tokyo can still reveal, to those who know how to look, its oldest and most traditional facets, the ones that many of its inhabitants no longer pay attention to, dazed by the grandeur of modern skyscrapers and flashing neon lights.
In Botteghe di Tokyo, the author presents a series of 40 new storefronts, which began with Notti di Tokyo (Tokyo at night), exploring their architectural features. Butcher shops, taverns, coffee houses: they're all still there, with their own particular details, peculiarities, colours and quirks. The work is subdivided into five neighbourhoods (Sendagi-Jinbocho, Akihabara-Nihonbashi, Asakusa-Kita Senju, Akabane-Shinagawa, Chuo-Line) and the author decided to provide names, construction years, types of shops, addresses and features for each one. Most of the shops chosen for the projects are rather old, built during the Showa era, between 1926 and 1989: very popular retro bars, unknown shops, symbols of everyday city life. Some have already been demolished, shut down or are about to disappear, while many others, on the other hand, are now private homes.
By drawing them, Urbanowicz hopes to bring them new life, new light, and spark some curiosity in passers-by who would otherwise never stop to appreciate their history and beauty, hoping that unobservant eyes might come to rest on places concealed by the Japanese city's frenetic pace.
Botteghe di Tokyo (Tokyo storefronts)
by Mateusz Urbanowicz,