Brick Lane and the East End versus the City
02.10.2010 - 02.10.2010 12 °C
I headed over to Tower Hamlets today to go to the HYPER JAPAN festival. Unlike the Matsuri festival that I went to last year, which is focused on traditionally Japan, HYPER JAPAN seems focused on current, modern Japan. Especially, it seems, Cos Play, the special Japanese desire to dress up like Manga, Anime or Video Game characters.
I was just really going for the chance to eat some of the great Japanese food on offer. Unfortunately, I arrived and found a very long, long line up for those without tickets. I felt bad that I hadn't booked tickets, until seeing the line up for those that bought ticket ahead of time, which was as long as the line up for those without tickets. After 30 minutes of hanging out, and moving 10 feet in a 150 foot long line, I finally decided to give up on waiting, and headed over to Brick Lane to get some food.
Brick Lane has some great food options. From high end restaurants to delis to food stalls, Brick Lane is able to feed all budgets and hungers.
Brick Lane is in the east end of London. If this was back in the 1600s, the East End would exist just outside the walled city of London. Nowadays, it is the border between zone 1, 2 and 3 of the Transport for London Oyster zones.
The East End, in the borough of Tower Hamlets, sits beside the City of London. The borough of Tower Hamlets and the City (of London) have long lived beside each other, but have often faced off against each other. The East End of London is one of the most dense areas of London, and one of the most poverty stricken areas of the capital. The City of London, on the other hand, is where all the investment bankers and corporate raiders work. The two areas exist beside of each other, both visible from each other area.
That one of the poorest and densest areas of London can look up and see the glass and steel towers of the City - the work place of some of the richest people in London and one of the richest areas of London - is part of the experience of living here in this city. (And - of course - any city. All cities bring together those on all ends of the income scale).
After eating a cheap but tasty burger, and getting offer a blow job in exchange for a "cup of tea" (which made me wonder how much cups of tea cost out in the east end...), I headed home.
I didn't get to see Japan today, but did get to see a bit of the the city of London and how we all fit together here.