On June 5, 2020, eleven days after the murder of George Floyd, “Black Lives Matter” was painted in yellow capital letters along with the flag of Washington, D.C. on two blocks on 16th Street and was renamed by Mayor Muriel Bowser as Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Akihabara, known for its electronic shops, has gained recognition as the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture with many shops devoted to anime and manga. The crowds reminded me of Times Square and the selection of anime was equally overwhelming to Lucas as were the number of young men crowded around every console, figure, cashier stand.
Legend says in the year 628 two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, from the Sumida River. And although they tried to return the statue back to the river the statue always returned to them. So they built a temple, Sensoji, for the goddess of Kannon. Completed in 645 it is Tokyo’s oldest temple.
Ihwa-dong, one of Seoul’s oldest neighborhoods, was once a place of renown. Aristocrats would come visit to take in the splendid scenery. After the Korean War the village became home to squatting refugees, building homes wherever they could and in the late 1950s a National Housing Complex was built. Many of the residents worked in the nearby garment and textile industries but as other neighborhoods prospered in the 80’s and 90’s with high-rise apartment towers, residents started moving away draining the neighborhood’s vitality. Ihwa-dong became a decaying suburb designated for demolition, home to mostly poor families and the elderly.