Everywhere, cranes pierce the skyline, shroud-covered buildings appear or disappear as if in a time-lapse, new utilitarian concrete and glass cubes replace old timber and tile back-street dwellings, blank fenced-off voids disrupt the visual rhythm of city blocks. In Shibuya, entire neighborhoods have been razed and are being rebuilt. Wherever I look it seems the city is being pulled apart and put back together anew. Tokyo has never been a sentimental city — redevelopment is nothing new to a city defined by its dynamism — but this current chapter of construction leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics feels like the adrenalin-fueled, last gasp of a gambler throwing in all his chips on his lucky number.

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