20+ years ago when I worked for LSI (Logic) our Tokyo office was in the heart of central Tokyo in an area called Akasaka. It was and is a very high-end area catering to business and politics. We were in the west wing of the Kokusai Shin Akasaka Building which is right on top of the Akasaka Subway Station on the Chiyoda Subway Line and directly across from the TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) complex.
It was during this time that I noticed an old, dark, traditional Japanese house directly across the street from the office building where I was working. I would ask my Japanese colleagues about this and they mostly shrugged their shoulders saying something about real estate investment during The Bubble.
For some reason, this house stuck with me. Think about the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave. in Chicago or Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. Then, think about what an old house sitting right in the midst of those areas would look like. I was in the area on a Saturday afternoon in January 2010 enjoying lunch at an old favorite restaurant and decided to walk over and take a look at this house again, this time I had my camera with me so I figured I’d make this blog entry someday to share with people.
This is a wider shot where you can see part of the TBS complex behind the house and one of the driveways leading into the main TBS lobby.
The only thing that I can think of that comes close to this is the former strawberry farm near Disneyland which was purchased for US$99.9 million in 2004.
Here are more shots of the house:
One thing that struck me about this house is that it is not in disuse or disrepair. It is definitely occupied and it is well-maintained and all of the landscaping is tended to. While I was snooping around the left side I actually saw an elderly person in the backyard tending to the garden. Even though the vegetation looks thick and slightly overgrown I believe this is done intentionally for privacy, considering the 10’s of thousands of people who pass by on a normal weekday.