&: Mito, Ibaraki

The next day, I had given up on writing again. I got up early and I walked up to Keisei Department Store again, and then down toward the south end of Tennocho and Senba Lake, where there is a red light district.

The red light district in Tennocho is depressingly large for a town the size of Mito, made up of mostly fashion healths and soaplands on the south side, snack bars and pink salons on the north side, around the massive koban and blocks of abandoned danchi.

At the west end of the south side of the district stand the ruins of Trump Castle. It was not yet eight a.m. and nobody was around. I found a doorway blocked with cardboard and scrap wood. The smashed windows above the lobby let the early morning sun shine on graffiti and smashed sofas and Bacchanal wall reliefs painted in primary reds and greens. I went out into the lanes of the red light district to find a good angle to take a picture.

There is always that contrast in those red light districts, in a city like Mito, or in Yoshiwara, near my home in Tokyo, the contrast between the women, or the idealized companion with soft, perfumed skin, the half hour or hour or ninety minutes of love, and the places that these women work which are usually roughly built, sometimes crumbling buildings.