Photograph: © Akio Kawasumi In Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Marco Polo tells an aging Kublai Khan about the many fantastic places he claims to have visited. One is the metropolis of Thekla, a massive collection of “cranes pulling up other cranes, scaffoldings that embrace other scaffoldings, beams that prop up other beams.” When asked why Thekla’s construction is taking so long, the inhabitants respond, “So that its destruction cannot begin.” Polo might well have been describing the capital of Japan, which Calvino visited in 1976, instead of an imaginary city. Tokyo is a city of a thousand building sites, a vast patchwork of plots on which structures are built, used for a few decades, and then razed. It’s an endless cycle of construction and destruction fueled by social mores, regulations and taxes, although a small but growing segment of Japanese architects are trying to challenge the existing framework. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Two Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Design Issue 19 A Day in the Life: Frida Escobedo With her own firm and scores of global projects in her inventive portfolio, this architect is transforming Mexico City, one artful building at a time. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots.