As the “Japan Is Weird” genre goes, this one is pretty tame. So let’s see if it works as a piece of straight reporting.
“With about 35 million people, greater Tokyo is by far the world's most populous metro area.”
I have a little trouble envisioning all of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, andIbaragi as Metropolitan Tokyo, but maybe it’s just me, so I’ll let this go. And Goth-Loli*, salarymen catching naps on massage chairs on display, and single urban commuters frequenting gourmet emporiums are all real.
But how does this “triptych of miniatures” “sharpen the focus”? Of what? And how do the “small stop-frames” “suggest the larger rhythms of life in the planet's preeminent urban space”? What do they serve to show, other than that Goth-Loli girls are polite, that salarymen take naps, and that it’s not fun to cook for one? Give us some perspective. How many Goth-Loli girls are there in Japan? How many electronic massage chairs are on display in metropolitan Tokyo? How many people actually shop at these gourmet emporiums? Out of “about 35 million people”?
This is not serious journalism; they’re impressionist sketches, means without an end, words without a song.
* “Goth-Lolita” doesn’t quite capture the flavor of the genre. “Goth” invokes a fashion style, but “Lolita” does not, does it? And the girl on the right does not quite look like a Goth-Loli, does she?