Blast City Surprise

This out-of-town, out-of-everything game centre has a surprise in the corner.

In the city, you need space and there isn’t any. Ramen counters squeeze 1cm narrower, chair sizes shrink towards doll-house and arcade rows suit slim, tightshoulder players.

Out in rivermouth Kawaguchi – where the skyscrapers are distant enough to share the sky with the moon, where crickets cricket, where a deep bell tolls into the dark, where a wolf howls nearby and where none of that happens, just nothing – fewer people want the space.

The Sega here is a rolling, one-storey hall with cabinet rows spread out at long hikes from one another, shivering alone in the wilderness. They’re high-tech units of modern racers and lightgunners, green with the cleanliness of the underused.

Surprising, then, to encounter two old-timers – generic candy cabs, wise with years of interchangeable shoot-em-ups and mah-jong. They’re packed tight into a corner of scout-hutty woodgrain laminate, having the room they need and no more. Take a seat and admire the stinking ashtrays.

We’ll listen to those fancy rhythm games when they’ve earned some dirt.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people