Nearly every place I visited had castaways, be they people or establishments, hidden cleverly beneath colorful shadows. Even as a glowing example of modernization, much of Japan’s mindset is still rooted in old ways, where sweeping things under the rug is acceptable.

Yet, where so much of one’s world is held as a standard for beauty and perfection, it is easy to ignore and forget what is unsightly. Nevertheless, it only takes a few people to open their eyes and start talking.