In Japanese years, I was born in Showa 62, two years before the start of the Heisei era.
Perhaps this explains my fascination with early Showa buildings, remnants of a nostalgic history I have no claim to. While a great deal of Japan's large cities are concrete and glass, here and there a building survives, sometimes in the most unlikely of places, like Ginza or Azabu Juban. Unsurprisingly Osaka, a city which holds onto its past and culture with great pride, is a treasure trove of these wonderful, slightly derelict structures.
However, my interest also extends to the Meiji era, a period of huge change and transition in the country. The mixing of traditional culture and western influences, which come across clearly in Tanizaki and Natsume Souseki novels, a cultural maelstrom I got to learn more about when I was doing research in Kobe, courtesy of a Fulbright fellowship. I devour books, movies and dorama that give a glimpse of the past.Watching 'Norwegian Wood', I was not so much taken by the story (which, as usual for Murakami, is routinely tragic) as by the background, the clothes, the way of speaking, all the carefully recreated details of Japan in the 70s.
Perhaps I am just curious about a Japan without cellphones (hypocritical, as I write this from my smartphone, on the looong train home from a livehouse in Kokubunji), with more traditional ideas of beauty and a growing economy (post-Bubble era being exempted). The call of the past, even when it is not your own past, is strong.