Japan

Subway, Sushi and Sumo

Japan – March 2012

Tokyo by night – 45 floors up.

Used my bag as a tripod – this was the best I could do.

I could fill a book with subway shots

Yodobashi Camera (http://www.yodobashi.com/) – the most extensively stocked camera store I have ever seen.  It sold the kind of things you’d find in specialist shops, except this is a chain store.

Around 100 different camera straps:

Seriously, this place is heaven for anyone with an interest in photography, and technology in general.

It also stocked a wide range of film – I don’t think any single shop in London has this kind of availability.  It’s not the cheapest place in the world, but then this is Japan.  This particular store was just next to Akihabara Station.

Tokyo Subway has phone reception yet you won’t find people talking on the phone.  That’s considered rude.

Meiji Jungu Shrine

Harajuku – the Tokyo equivalent of Camden

There’s one particular Japanese phrase I learned to say – ana tano shashimo totemo ideska, kudasai?

It means ‘Can I take a photo of you please?’ – it got giggles of surprise from everyone I asked including these girls.

If you think Oxford Street is busy, visit Harajuku.

A genius concept – capsule hotels:

This was Tokyo Kiba – one of the few capsule hotels that allows women in (I took this clumsily at around 3am hence the rubbish shot – gutted I didn’t capture anything better!)

The idea is that you can check in if you’re left stranded, for example if you miss the last train home.  You get given pyjamas, slippers and a locker, and Kiba had showers, a jacuzzi and other facilities like vending machines selling underwear and shirts.

Clearly catering for office workers or ‘salarymen’ as they’re known.  The inside of the capsule had a tiny TV, internet connection and was surprisingly large – http://www.tanya-n.com/Japan2012/capsule.jpg

Definitely a unique Japanese experience that I’d recommend to anyone!

At 4am we walked to the  Tsukiji Fish Market – the largest in the world.

Another unique experience – the tuna auction

6am – sushi for breakfast

I’m not normally a sushi fan but this stuff was absolutely amazing.

I wish I had the name of this place so I could mention it – it was across the road from the fish market.

CoCo Curryhouse – loved this place (http://www.ichibanya.co.jp/index.html)

Engrish:

Radiohead’s King of Limbs.. or King of Rimbs! http://www.tanya-n.com/Japan2012/IMG_5118.jpg

Probably the most absurd thing I have come across – Japan’s Cat Cafes.  Stumbled past this one called Neko Cafe – www.nekojalala.com

The idea is that you pay by the half hour to spend time with cats – playing with them, feeding them, generally chilling with them, while having a coffee.

A  surreal concept, and I actually found the experience quite annoying for some reason.  The cats were so pampered they would barely respond to you stroking them.

Definitely something to try in Japan though – just for the experience if nothing else

D=

Took the shinkansen (bullet train – one of the fastest in the world) from Tokyo to Osaka

Osaka

I have to mention this restaurant called Ichiran Ramen – you won’t find better ramen anywhere else.

Another very Japanese thing – plastic food displays in the windows of pretty much every restaurant.

Taito Station – best games arcade ever, with branches all over Japan.

The famous Glico Man in Osaka:

Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka

These were all juniors

The place began to fill up as more of the famous wrestlers came on

It was an amazing experience watching these guys

Asashoryu Akinori – one of the most famous sumo wrestlers – was in the crowd

He signed my ticket : )

The atmosphere was great, and it’s the kind of event you just have to be at to really appreciate.

Tokyo On Film

Tokyo – Japan – March 2012

Tokyo is an amazing place.  How can I describe it?

Clean, stylish, amazing food, respect for others (London is a rude hell-hole in comparison), efficiency on a level unseen to me, vending machines, manga, vending machines, geekiness, vending machines, games arcades, amazing toilets (if you’ve been there you’ll know exactly what I mean), extremely safe, cute stuff everywhere.. just some of the things I associate with Japan.

I took my Nikon F3 with me with the intention of solely shooting film, but after just one day and one roll, it decided to die on me and no-one could fix it immediately.  Major fail.

These are from the first and last roll : (

Camera – Nikon F3 | Lens – 50mm f/1.8 | Film – Ilford XP2 Super 400

Public transport – the most efficient you could possibly experience.

Men reading manga.  Manga is everywhere and there are all kinds of categories – some pretty freaky.

A Tokyo maid in Akihabara (geek heaven).  These girls work in maid cafes where girls dressed as maids serve you.  It’s a Japanese thing.

Another very Japanese thing – Pachinko.  This is a type of game involving lots of small silver balls. These images were taken when it was surprisingly quiet but every other time I walked past these places it was packed full of men in suits and overwhelmingly noisy.

I don’t know what the thing on the right invading my shot is.

I love the tones of XP2 film (C41 black and white).

Tokyo Metro.  I grew to love the subway even though it seems to be the most complicated system possible.  I thought London Bridge was a big station but you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve been to Tokyo.  The smallest stations there can have around 20 exits.  If you take the wrong exit you could end up in a completely different area.

I go halfway around the world and one station had around 50 pillars with adverts for Great Britain.

Games arcades are everywhere, and they’re awesome.

You will rarely win anything from these machines.  In this one you could win some pasta.  There were all kinds of odd prizes – even sacks of potatoes.  The other ‘normal’ prizes were manga-related.

This image doesn’t do it justice but that’s Shibuya Crossing/Intersection – the busiest in the world. Mental is an understatement.

I was absolutely gutted when the F3 packed up and had no choice but to switch to digital.  I took 1600 pictures.  That’s the thing about shooting digital – you’re more likely to shoot mindlessly without really giving your images much thought.

In a Taito Station in Akihabara – http://www.taito.com/gc/ – I really grew to love these arcades.

Pachinko madness.

A Japanese breakfast at Yoshinoya (http://www.yoshinoya.com/)- salmon, rice, pickled ginger and miso soup. Yum.

Kimchi, which is actually Korean.

I’m not usually a coffee fan but this was one of the nicest hot coffees I had from a vending machine.

Salarymen, as they’re called in Japan (workers – typically in suits).

In London, the Underground doesn’t have toilets and let’s be honest -  public toilets are disgusting.  In Tokyo every Metro station has numerous toilets, and they even have a map of it before you go in. Every one I went to was also spotless.

A typical toilet panel.  This one shows the time, has  a heated seat, has 3 types of showers (with heated water), an arse drier and buttons to bring the toilet seat up and down.  You can even change the pressure of the water.  The Japanese must have the cleanest butts in the world.  I could fall asleep on one of these things.

She won a towel or blanket with that guy’s face on it.  I assume he’s a famous actor or popstar as she went nuts.

Shibuya crossing again.

Just some of the countless vending machines.  There’s no shortage of these in Japan, and you’ll find a huge range of drinks both hot and cold.  Some sell cigarettes and alcohol and even non-food items such as underwear. I really miss being able to buy quality hot drinks from those.

Shibuya at night

Kawaii >_<

More Tokyo to come.. : )

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