Tall Black Japan 6: Toda Koen

by Joseph Bonney

Toda Koen is a small suburb outside of Tokyo that I've stayed in for work. It's one of the quietest cities I've stayed in in my life.  The foreigner population is crazy low. I was probably the one of two black people in that city alone, but it wasn't a problem. Many stares of course, and I also had Japanese citizens cross the street when they saw me.  Something that absolutely blew my co-worker’s mind when it happened to us (my third time since being in the town lol).

There is one supermarket with 5 minutes of walking distance that sold just about everything.  Then the amazing Bento shop that gives you a whole tray of food for ¥500 (roughly $5).

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The local mall is pretty neat too (did you know Konami owns a gym?), 2 floors of Japanese and Western merchandise.  This was also the first time I saw a KFC in the country. It was healthier and came with an apple pie (U.S. #StepYoGameUp)!

I saw my first daiso or, as we call it in America,  a dollar store.  Easily the most fascinating thing in the mall. And speaking of America, there's a Western store that sells some American-style goods like Hershey's, and beans.  

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Overall the town is a quiet, little Japan secret.  They have all these cool things, but like Japanese culture Toda is humble about it all.  A pleasant little place, but not somewhere to be for a crazy night (I mean you can make it happen, but yeah… good luck lol)

Stay tuned for more updates from me in the near future!


Joseph Bonney is a contributing writer for Human Influence. Originally from Central Texas, he moved to Japan where he teaches English.