If you go to Google Maps, find Tokyo, then zoom all the way down past all the cold concrete edifices to one particular apartment building in Shiba, you might see four lovely conifer trees lining the entrance. Or you might not. Four days ago they were viciously uprooted and trucked away. For me, these were the last trees in Tokyo.
These were the trees that I had long given as a landmark for friends searching for my place. These trees had hosted cawing crows that my cat had happily scampered after through their branches. Now suddenly they are gone.
Two days ago I discovered that a new concrete slab had been poured over the exposed soil. It was a gravestone, I assumed, to mark the passing of my arboreal friends.
Last night I returned home to find a monstrosity standing guard on the gravestone, brightly illuminating my quiet street. Gaudy lights and colors and fonts cover its rectangular frame. My four trees have been sacrificed for a beverage vending machine boasting the name BOSS.
“BOSS” is the name of a famous brand of Japanese canned coffee.