Postcard: Tokyo

Yuriko Nakao /Reuters

Senior's Secret: A pair of typical Sugamo shoppers sample the merchandise

Sometimes a town moves only as fast as its escalators. From the subway station at Sugamo, a neighborhood in northwestern Tokyo's Toshima ward, riders ascend single file to street level at the speed of treacle on a winter day — a pace that allows for feeble eyes to adjust to the rising step and for a firm grip on both red rubber handrails. Here in "Grannies' Harajuku" (an ironic reference to a nearby district famous for its nubile trendsetters and fashion pranksters), slow is the operative word. Heads in the crowd are gray and silver, not black,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!