Ghosts of Asakusabashi


What if our predecessors watched over us?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the most enjoyable Zelda game I’ve played since Link’s Awakening. But unlike the latter (and most other games I’ve enjoyed), what made the game special were the feelings that I had while playing it. There’s a certain loneliness and sorrow that can be felt while exploring the world.

One of the most influential for me, came when playing the game’s numerous puzzle shrines. Upon completing a shrine’s puzzle, you are granted a spirit orb from the corpse of a long-dead monk, who’s sole purpose seems to be to wait endlessly until a chosen hero arrives. It’s an interesting concept that made me think of my own mortality and how I fit into the universe.

Long-story-short, I imagined what it would be like if our own world had long-dead spirits who watched over the present day for some unknown purpose. Once my mind went in that direction, I immediately thought of Asakusabashi, a quiet corner in eastern Tokyo, that used to be a thriving port and red-light district. I wondered if somehow, shadows of that more vibrant time remained- perhaps spirits that watch over the area and its decedents.

What resulted was this piece. A composite made from an old image I took of Asakusabashi station, combined with an image of a monk from Unsplash user Artem.