The Minatogawa

The Minatogawa, no longer a river, was the site of the tragic battle between Masashige's Imperial forces and those of the Ashikaga usurpers. Today it is a kind of theater street of hectic night life. An exotic touch is imparted by the frequent presence of foreign sailors strolling up and down. A passing visit to Minatogawa on a summer evening is unforgetable. The wide, clean macadamized roadway is flanked on either side with theaters, cinemas, "penny gaffs" and eating and drinking houses of all sorts ranged in piquant and intriguing rows. It resounds with the staccato of male servitors and the singsong of female caterers making a most hilarious noise, but by no means offensive. Through it, all the two rows of pedestrians of all sorts and conditions are coming and going continually. Some parts are occupied by night-booth men. Among them are the loud-lunged, impudent fortune-tellers, who, surrounded by curious audiences, may look you straight in the face and unblushingly offer to tell you everything about your past and future. There is an unmistakable tang of ozone in the air, though thick with the din and smoke of Babylonic crowds, which, with a certain nameless thing, possibly the presence of strangers in transit, distinguishes Minatogawa from similar districts of other cities.

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