About The Tokyo Files

About me:

“Clark Parker クラーク·パーカー is a writer living in Tokyo. In his spare time he is a full-time salaryman. The Tokyo Files paints a portrait of Japan’s capital city through the lens of Clark’s obsessions, which include art & architecture, history & urban planning, and, most importantly, craft beer. Since moving to Japan in 2011 Clark has become increasingly convinced that Tokyo is the best city in the world, and is intent on proving it.” (adapted from a bio I wrote for another publication)

About the blog

The Tokyo Files 東京ファイル was created to share information about Tokyo’s museums, but has evolved into an examination of the changing urban fabric of Tokyo, with a focus on the impact of public transportation and danchi apartment complexes. The changing landscape of Tokyo is best appreciated by viewing classic Japanese cinema; for instance, Oshima’s Cruel Story of Youth (1960) provides stunning pictures of logs floating in Tokyo Bay, the current-day Odaiba:

Odaiba then and now:

Tokyo’s geography and Japan’s history are vastly interesting, and I hope to make this an entertaining and informative Tokyo history blog 東京の歴史ブログ. I like to consider myself a “biographer of cities”, with Tokyo as my beloved subject.

Points of interest mentioned in The Tokyo Files:

My other Japan blogs:

More about The Tokyo Files:

I probably should have called this blog “Tokyo Wanderer” or “Tokyo Drifter”, since I enjoy nothing more then setting off into (or out of) the city with only a vague itinerary in mind. I don’t know what I’ll find, but it’s almost always good. The following photograph is an example: towards the end of a long walk, I stopped at one of Tokyo’s ubiquitous vending machines to buy a drink. My hands were cold / I’m clumsy, and a 10-yen coin fell from my fingers onto the ground. The copper coin rolled for a few feet, began to spiral, and came to rest along its edge, wedged delicately between two pieces of asphalt. With haste, and a touch of nervousness, I photographed the coin, capturing a moment that may never pass in front of my eyes again.

A coin on its side is not important, and perhaps little in my blog is important, but the beauty of living in a foreign country is that the mundane details of life become richer. Perhaps this fades with time (I’ll let you know), but until that happens, I plan on taking notes (and pictures) of whatever magical or mundane moments cross my path.

If you have any topic suggestions or general comments, I’d be happy to hear from you. Follow me on twitter @thetokyofiles or email me: thetokyofiles [at] gmail [dot] com. You can also find me on Quora from time to time.

News and events:

(I) CEO Lunch – The Future of Transport (November, 2016): I spoke at The Future of Transport lunch held by the Delphi Network at the International House of Japan, in Roppongi.

(II) Stanford University curriculum: The Road to Tokyo: my post about underground rivers was included as a reference material for a curriculum in development by Stanford University: The Road to Tokyo.

(III) Tokyo Cheapo interview: the fun and helpful website, Tokyo Cheapo, interviewed me, which you can read here. Tokyo Cheapo also was kind enough to include me on a list of Tokyo’s Top Tweeters. I advise you to follow the others on the list. They are much better.

Clark Parker Tokyo Cheapo Interview

(IV) An interview with Katie Adler (“English with Katie”): The audio from the following video is an interview I gave on the show “English with Katie“. The photos are taken from my blog.

Sample of The Tokyo Files referenced on the internet:

Other blogs:

  • The Hong Kong Files: like The Tokyo Files, but for Hong Kong. A younger blog.
  • I See American People: My “American” blog, this is the start of my lifetime attempt to make sense of the United States and beyond.
  • Some Prefer Nettles: The blog’s name is inspired by the English title of Tanizaki’s book of the same name and is a project with the motto: provoking the unruly mind. Less polished than my other blogs, this gives me permission to take more artistic chances.
  • The Asia Files: notes from travels across Asia
  • The Estonia Files: about Estonia

Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text in this blog are copyrighted by the author (or whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo is). Please contact me with any questions or comments.

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24 comments

  1. Wow. Most excellent site. I lived in (and fell deeply for) Tokyo for 11 years in the 80’s and 90’s. I completely agree that it is one of the great cities of the world, and I look forward to rediscovering it through your blog.

  2. Dear The Tokyo files 東京ファイル

    Nice to talk to you.
    My name is Yuta Sugawara.

    How are you doing?
    I hope you are doing well.

    Currently, I live and work in Tokyo.
    First, sorry to message you all of a sudden.

    I saw your blog posts about Japan, which are so organized and easy to read, with your fantastic description of each location.

    So I thought the concept of your blog matches right up with the concept for this website we have in the works.

    We plan to invest in some serious search engine optimization, so we plan to see lots of traffic on the site, and the more content we can put on it, the more hits we can expect to get.

    Here’s a Facebook page we have up as a teaser while the site is under construction:
    https://www.facebook.com/TokyoLocalGuide/?ref=ts&fref=ts

    We’re looking to assimilate the content of some of your blog posts (in full) as topical content for pages on our site.
    We would include a link to the original post, as well as a profile blurb at the end which would also link to your blog. It’d be a great way to give some old posts more exposure, as well as the new ones.

    Plus, further down the line we could put out Japanese language versions of the same posts to bring you traffic from a larger clientele.

    Or even better, if you could write posts for your blog on our web service.
    It’d be great if you could collaborate with us on making content for the site as a volunteer writer.

    In the process, we’d be totally open to hearing input from you, like how the design on a blog page should look. You’d be an honorary member of the company.

    If you’re up for it, I’d really like to have you on our team.
    Let’s make a wonderful blog platform together.
    When it comes to attracting customers,I’m willing to go the extra mile.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you.

    Yuta Sugawara

  3. Hello! I love your blog. I am in Tokyo for a short time and have found your thoughts very useful! I am a design student from Sydney and am really interested in seeing house NA, is there any chance you can help by giving me some clues?? Thank you!!

  4. Although my father was in Japan during the Occupation, he respected the country and their people. I will be following this blog to add on to my education about the war and the culture. My research started with my father’s observations and has continued to this day.

  5. Love your blog but one question, how do you have ‘time on your hands’ when you are working in Tokyo? I was only an intern for 2 months and already working 12 hour days..and know friends who also regularly work weekends. You must have an awesome job.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Where do I find the time? First, all the time I should be using to learn Japanese better…that quickly disappeared. And sleep…that sometimes disappears too. As for my job…maybe 11 hour days, but not too many weekends…for now!

  6. I have never lived in Tokyo but I am really crazy about the city and also the country. I do wish I could visit it someday. Thank you for the blog.

  7. dear pleasetry-person, thank you for your blog! as i’m staying in tokyo for a few months it is quite perfect for me to read it as we have the same interests. nice! and i will soon go and see st. marys cathedral, wow* best wishes, nadja

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