Neighborhood Photo Project

Matt Schley | Tokyo, Japan

Neighborhood Photo Project Mar 30, 2012

This restaurant in Takadanobaba, Tokyo, is the site of what was, until last year, Ben’s Cafe, a coffee shop, restaurant and former hang-out for Tokyo’s expat community. Ben’s, reportedly one the first “gaijin” (foreigner)-owned cafes in Tokyo, shut down last year after almost 15 years in business. The cafe, like many businesses here catering to expats, was hit hard by the mass exodus of foreigners after last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear scare. Though it’s been a year since the triple disaster, tourism and other foreigner-centric industries are still down compared to past years. For me, the closing of Ben’s Cafe is one of the most visible examples of 3/11’s effect on the “gaijin economy.”

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