Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tokyo - Some Random Photos

Some pics, for you, loyal reader...

Commuting to work - these guys looked super cool as they cruised around, and seemed confused as to why I would find it strange or funny - is this the future of electric transport?

Meiji Shrine - wetter than last time!

Cool trains

I love the Tokyo Taxis - Toyota Crown Victoria, lifted straight from a retro kung-fu movie, and sporting automatic doors in the rear!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tokyo - 72 Hours

Well, here I am on the design roller coaster, sipping Kirin and staring out of my immaculately clean 30th floor window at the improbably Parisian Tokyo tower, and thinking things are rather nice. Kan pai!

View out to the rather camp Tokyo Tower

Some station, squeezed between the buildings

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Tokyo Plastic

Back in Tokyo, and ready to leave after a few days staying with Kaoru. This time, returning has been fantastic, but very different to last time. Whereas with the previous visit everything was new and shiny, this time I more or less knew my way around the major locations. As a result, I focussed my efforts on Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku ... I decided I wanted to know less areas better, rather than seeing more of Tokyo.

Anyway - gagging for breakfast, so I am hardly in the best mood to write!

Next stop - Yokohama and Osaka. I'll be bullet training in front of Fuji and claiming the cities for the Tokyo Shogunate!

View at night from Kaoru's apartment - thanks so much for letting me stay!

Old shack in Shibuya

Close up

Super glamour in Shibuya

View by day


Harajuku girls - a tourist attraction in their own right

A traditional Japanese wedding in progress at Meiji-Jingu, near Harajuku

And another! Don't ask me what is going on, but it looks like a scene from Star Wars

Omotesando hills, with live orchestral accompanyment

The Prada store - designed by Herzog & Meuron

Inside, looking out at all the poor people

Stairs - I am convinced photography was not allowed, but I had a nice looking camera, so who cares?!

Human traffic again, viewed from Starbucks

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Tokyo Drift

Some bikes ... just for you.

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I Think I`m Turning Japanese

I managed to hold out an enormous amount of time before finally making it to Japan, and still Ele beats me to it by a few hours. But now I have broken my duck and I can be positive that I will be back here again very soon.

Impressions are intense and very varied, both confirming and dismantling previously held stereotypes about these islands. All in all, it was everything I expected it to be, but also more accessible better value than I expected.

Yesterday - my last full day in Japan was a well organised jolly to the beach, some temples and then dinner and (more) drinks in Shinjuku. A tiring, but amazing day, once again.

Temples in... I'll have to ask the place's name!

Ele (and Kauru just behind) pose with the flars

Surf's up - and against my expectations, the Japanese really could surf, and seemed to love the water - not like Taiwan

As a final jaunt together, Ele and I managed to break through our collective hangover and squeeze in a quick visit to Akihabara to check out the Electric Town. Right now I am just about to fall over due to lack of food, so I should go and look after myself. I`ll be looking for my final mouthfull of sushi before I leave, I can be sure.

Sayonara, Japan... I`ll be back.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Harajuku Girls

We got in late last night. Roppongi. Mark as dangerous. The area I was told not to go was of course the first destination for the CSR crew boys here. A late night and a lack of sleep did not help getting up this morning, despite Tokyo being on our door step. Indeed, it took shaved ice with pure glucose sauce to kick me out of my stinker of a hangover. Roppongi.

Ele, Kauru, Junko and I live it up

Never have I seen so many energy drinks in one place - 'functional' drinks are huge in Japan, including Yakult and many other nutrition-packed liquids

Kauru ties the fortune knot to the bar in Asakusa (not to be confused with Akasaka - our hotel)

A local takes some time out to breathe on his Mild Seven

Kimonos were a surprisingly common sight - wonderful

After my shaved ice salvation and cruising around the Senso-Ji temple in Asakusa (confusing, since our hotel is in Asakasa) and emerging out of the metro to be faced with Philip Starke's Asahi Museum work, we headed off to * to check out some of the shopping and then to Harujuku to meet Junko and Ian. Harajuku, for those not in the know, is the place in Tokyo to see the bleeding edge, drop-dead fashions -the goths, the rockers, the girls wearing makeup to enhance ugliness, the school girls, the Elvises and the zombies. I bought some sunglasses.

Zombie woolly hats in Harajuku

Utterly insane Pachinko - I played twice in games lasting all of 20 seconds and I have come to the conclusion you need a hole in your skull to play, and another to keep slotting money in.

Dinner was Shibuya. A human hub, its road crossing is apparently the busiest in the world. It was here where I learnt that Ximending in Taipei gets its inspiration from. I swear, even down to the street lighting it was copied from this place. This was my vision for Tokyo and it happily matched it. Shabu Shabu was booked for dinner, which is a communal cooking pot with meat an vegetables comprehensively blew the doors off my local favourite Taipei version; I did not know it could be better. And I also did not know how much Japanese girls can eat in one sitting.

Shibuya - waiting to charge!

Ele, Ian and Kauru enjoy THE BEST SHABU SHABU I have ever had - and that is saying something. I am fairly sure my stomach became a solid ball of meat.

Back to Akasaka, and after meeting up with Ele's boss Gordon we headed straight for Karaoke to round off a great day in Tokyo - albeit a day with a rough, rocky and stormy start. Ending with Whiskies in the rooftop bar was perfect, and i have this feeling that I will be back in Japan sooner rather than later.

Singing our hearts out guaranteed sexy voices the next day

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Lost in Translation

A predictable title perhaps, but completely apt since the view from the hotel is completely fantastic. I am pretending that the park stretching out in front of us is the Forbidden City, and I am also pretending that the sun setting over the mountains is instead a rising sun. But who needs such imaginary worlds when my sister and I meet up, duck downstairs to grab some sushi and are watching sumo on the television with the boss of the joint?

Imagination and reality seem closer here...

Ele looks out across to the Presidential Palace

Traffic - the life blood of Tokyo

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