We investigate this creepy looking candy store only to find that it might just be the sweetest place in all of Tokyo.
Our reporter Ryo was out in the Katsushika Ward of Tokyo covering fan reactions to the ending of the incredibly long-running manga series Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen Mae Hashutsujo. However, while in the downtown area he stumbled across a curious looking candy shop with its shutter only partially open.
According to residents of the area, it has been like that every single day for as long as they can remember. However, no one knows why, because… Well, would you go in there?
Luckily, Ryo has no such self-preservation instinct and ventured towards the dark and rusty storefront which read, “Chocolate, Chewing Gum: Uchiyama Candy Store.”
“Maybe the owner is just lazy, or perhaps its broken,” Ryo speculated as he approached the shady entrance on the dead-quiet mid-morning residential street.
He paused for a moment recalling that this is usually either the part in Silent Hill where sirens go off and reality melts away into a horrific nightmare or the part in a David Lynch movie there the innocent writer stumbles into the life of a maniac gangster huffing gas from a tank.
Then, pushing those fears aside, Ryo entered.
An ethusiastic Japanese greeting of “Irasshaaaaiii!” came from a man’s voice in the back. And in walked the warm smiling face of Yoshio Uchiyama, the 90-year-old proprietor of this candy shop which Ryo suddenly realized had no candy at all.
Mr. Uchiyama explained to Ryo that the place used to be a candy store when he opened around 50 years ago, but his energy has faded in old age so now he just sells cigarettes out of a window on the other side of the store.
Ryo just smiled and nodded approvingly of Mr. Uchiyama’s long service in the area. The shopkeeper had an unmistakable positivity about him that made you feel good just talking to him.
Having forgotten for a moment about the creepy partially open shutters outside, Ryo finally got around to asking Mr. Uchiyama why he kept his storefront in such a state. Without missing a beat Mr. Uchiyama gave a reply that rocked Ryo to his core.
“I keep a bag by the door that a customer left on the counter two years ago. Honestly I want to just close the whole thing up, but because the bag’s owner might come by looking for it, I keep the door open just a little bit.”
Ryo had to stifle an impulsive laugh at Mr. Uchiyama’s shockingly sweet reason for leaving the shutters partly open every day for two years. He then looked down, and sure enough there was a small bag on display at the bottom front of the counter with a paper that read, “forgotten item.”
Of course, neither Ryo nor Mr. Uchiyama would look into someone else’s bag, but it seemed to have some sort of machine in it.
Ryo left the shop feeling a little better about humanity and was glad that there are people like Mr. Uchiyama living the good life, chatting up the occasional customer and keeping hope eternal.
So if you happen to be in the Kameari Station area, why not stop by and say hi. And if you happen to be or know the owner of that bag, for the love of God, please pick it up so he can close that door already!
Original article by Ryo
[ Read in Japanese ]