Kawasaki Warehouse

Sorry for being MIA, I was in Tokyo for the past week and am slowly uploading my ventures both on Instagram and on here.

One of the most interesting places I went to was not a temple or one of the busy shopping streets or an owl cafe, but a warehouse in the outskirts of Tokyo.

So why was this warehouse so enticing?

Because it had a small replica of the Kowloon Walled City, a dystopian slum with no laws within Hong Kong.

Think of dense, dark underworld of Blade Runner, Dredd, Total Recall, and Neo Seoul from Cloud Atlas. Basically, all things cyberpunk would have found some form of inspiration to build that dystopian future setting we know and love.

The original Kowloon Walled City was demolished in the 90s and a park was built in its place. There were stories about life inside the city and photos, however, to really be in that atmosphere is an entirely different experience.

The Kawasaki Warehouse is actually a 4-storey arcade with the first 2 floors dedicated to a recreation of the Kowloon Walled City.

They even have a broadcast of Chinese aunties talking about visiting it to buy some necessities. If you play the video, you can hear it in the background.

Like the original KWC, there is hardly any light in the corridors.

img_6171

The entrance to KWC through the parking lot.

img_6172

The doors slide open and you enter this eerie walkway. You have to walk across the stones while an ominous music plays in the background and green liquid spills from both walls.

img_6176

The backdrop of the arcade in KWC.

img_6179

They say the buildings were so close to each other that no sunlight entered the city.

img_6181

Meat in the market.

img_6188

On the second floor, there are narrow walkways you walk along to peek into some of the building windows.

img_6191

One such window.

img_6193

True to culture, clothes dangling precariously outside windows.

img_6200

It reads 1 bedroom and 1 living room, 395 sq. ft. for rent at 3800HKD/mo.

img_6202

A prostitute’s home.

img_6203

In KWC, it was not uncommon to find such small rooms and people living in them. Crime was rampant inside.

img_6204img_6205

Upon exiting – photo from the video.

If you were in the Yokohama area, it is worth checking out. I wouldn’t make it a day trip as you only need to spend 1 hour there.

Here is the map:

 

-b.

Driven

After moving to Hong Kong, I quickly realized how different my viewpoints and opinions were, comparative to the local populace.

The most evident being family and upbringing.

My parents gave up everything in Shanghai to move to Hong Kong back in the day.
And then, they gave up everything they built in Hong Kong to move to Canada when I was born.

To start from zero twice; it’s not easy. They faced language barriers and discrimination, but they endured. For the goal of building a better life.

This meant, they had no time to raise us.

Growing up, my parents were very transparent on our situation and I am always thankful that they were. Rather than trying to shield us and raising us with a silver spoon, they made it a point to inform us we could not have what our peers had. When I was 4 years old, I already knew the world was unfair and we had to do something about it.

To that degree, my parents, my siblings and I have built our relationship on the foundation of improvement. We may see each other once or twice a year, but during those times, we truly value our time together.

When I look at family interactions here – they are highly emotional, the gatherings  frequent and routines micromanaged.

It confuses me.

I did not even tell my parents I was moving to Hong Kong. My mother only found out when she dropped me off at the airport. And when I told her my plan, she threw a box of Ferrero Rocher at my head.

When I first got to Hong Kong, I had very little money, I ate one meal a day and I slept on the floor without a mattress. But I was driven. I remember lining up 3-5 interviews a day for the two weeks I was here, determined to land a job in that timeframe.

Three years later and I can finally accommodate my family when they visit, in a proper bed and a proper home.

img_5224A home is where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. A place of relaxation, a safe zone. This is mine.
img_5676
Good night.

-b.