Image above: On an Evening Walk (King of Cats)
CHINATOWN (Nagasaki), Shinchi Chinatown, Cats’ Kingdom
Nagasaki’s chinatown is Japan’s oldest chinatown having been established in the early 17th century during the time of isolation when Nagasaki’s port was the only port that remained open to Chinese trade. I went for a stroll there may be expecting to find vague traces of trade and exchange. But well, nowadays this chinatown’s size is confined to only two streets. So it is more like an idea that has already passed when you arrive at the next corner and you are not even sure what that idea was. There was a merchandise shop or something like a general store, a couple of restaurants, more red architectural elements than on other streets, streetlights resembling motives from traditional chinese paintings . But I assume that it was that particular hour of inbetweenness, which gave rise to this slight feeling of desertedness or that sense that may be that place did not actually exist. The hour of inbetweenness is one that is neither day nor night, when the stream of visitors dwindles, daytime shops close up and the first messengers of the cat empire come out to test the grounds for the party at night.