John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Take a tour through savory alleys and delicious plazas from a gingerbread man's perspective.
December 5, 2012. The Tokyo neighborhood of Yurakucho awakes to find dozens of its residents viciously decapitated. Police have no leads except for a trail of crumbs leading to a giggling humanoid baby, who seems to be getting fatter by the hour.
So the cookie crumbles in the gritty 'burg of Muji Yurakucho, the Tokyo flagship of the consumer-goods behemoth that sells everything from skin creams to prefab houses. The enamel-rotting metropolis is built from 100 gingerbread houses and populated with 15,000 Muji-brand snacks, along with video screens showing tweets to #mujixmas. Good luck reading these missives if you don't speak Japanese, but judging from the number of exclamation points, locals seem quite excited about (or hungry for?) this most savory of cities.
Muji is keeping the edible settlement on display until December 25. If you're a gaijin with a decent Internet connection, you can tour the city's spice-smelling alleys and plazas from a gingerbread man's perspective thanks to this live stream from Tokyo. There are also a few good Instagram shots of its snowy rooftops, jellybean train cars and Bruges-like Old World charm. And here's footage showing the child labor that went into creating its toothsome infrastructure: