February 3rd, 2010

GKS - bigin

Tokyo suburbs, present day

I'm looking for a part of Tokyo where one of my characters can have grown up. His family is not well-off and they're occasionally struggling; I need him to have lived in an area that's generally on the poor side, both predominantly blue collar and not particularly 'nice'. (Not trying to find the criminal hotspot of Tokyo, just something that's not very pretty and a bit depressing.)

It doesn't need to (and probably even shouldn't) be within easy commuting distance of places like Tokyo Station, Ginza, Shibuya and all that; what I ideally have in mind is a little satellite town of its own where people don't even go into Tokyo all that much, if that's feasible, or something close to that in concept. But I find that very hard to tell by research, so any ideas by more knowledgable folk would be much appreciated!

On the flip side, I need someone else to have grown up in a rather nice and quiet neighbourhood. His family isn't rich, but very solidly middle class and comfortable. Research has suggested Setagaya might be a contender -- if you know your way around Tokyo, does that sound credible?

Timeframe: 1985-2005.

Places I've looked: wikipedia entries on Tokyo (and the suburban wards), Chiba, Yokohama; wikitravel entries on same where available; various travel websites; Google-earth to get a better impression, but that ended up just being confusing. Travel websites tended to be okay for general info on nice places, but wouldn't say much about where to find run-down blue-collar neighbourhoods.

Any help much appreciated!

Russian culture in the thirties

 Setting: a medium-sized city in the north of Russia

Searched for: various combinations of "Russia" and "1930s"

Basically, what I'm wondering is did 1930s Russia have the whole dirty thirties/bright-young-thing thing that Western countries did, and if it didn't, what would young people (keeping in mind that their backgrounds are somewhat seedy) do to socialize/entertain themselves?