The Passing of Combine

It was announced this week that the Combine cafe in Nakameguro will be closing for good later this month (on February 25). Although I didn’t really go that often, I did enjoy the times that I did, and it does feel like a revered (or much appreciated) part of Tokyo is dying off — I don’t know when it opened, but it feels like it’s been there for most of the decade I’ve been here.

Should we be surprised? It is after all one of the aspects of this city that we tend to like: the endless flux. Tokyo is constantly being reimagined, and new spaces go up, just as they go down. Combine already played a part in this growth/contraction: the Daikanyama spinoff closed down last year after a nearby studio complained about the noise.

And like I said, I didn’t really go to Combine much — to be fair, I don’t get to Nakameguro that often these days — yet I feel sad about its closing.

Maybe it’s because a lot of people I know liked to go there too.

Maybe I’m hit by a sudden regret for not going more often — it’s not like there are that many spots in Tokyo that offer a nice open view of the river during the spring/summer months.

Maybe I shouldn’t care, and just take this as an excuse to find the next great spot to hang out with friends in. I certainly find myself not exploring this city as much as I used to, and although there are many factors that contribute to this (busy with work, location where I live, being married, having a dog), I do often feel a bit guilty that I don’t take the time still properly take in this city of mine.

So goodbye Combine, thanks for the memories. And hello, Tokyo.

That photo at the top is taken from this blog — there are more here.

By Jean Snow

Production Services Manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.