The Appeal of Tokyo for Masayuki Kusumi
A good thing about Tokyo is that, since it is a city built by people not originally from there, it has many elements of the various other regions of Japan. Although there are definitely many chain stores, there are also many stores run by individual proprietors. In other regions, since cities are small, the arrival of a chain store can usually drive away individually operated stores. But this is not often the case in Tokyo. I think there is abundant variation here.
One strength of individually operated stores is that they differ from large-scale stores such as chain stores and can specialize in a specific genre. For example, although the number of book stores is dwindling across the country, in Tokyo, the number of used-book stores centered around Jimbocho that specialize in specific genres is increasing even now. In Kichijoji there are stores full of items geared toward subcultures. As the reputation of these stores spreads via word-of-mouth, their selection of goods grows even more, as does the quality of the stores. I feel that Tokyo is unique in this way.
Having said that, the number of old-fashioned public baths, which I am very particular about, as well as other aged and dilapidated stores is rapidly decreasing, even in Tokyo. It would make me happy for the younger generation to lease those kinds of places that still have that kind of charm and revive them with a new and improved sense.