ontokyo


Tempting by htkay
April 11, 2009, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Night, People, Photography, Tokyo, Tourism

There are always so many oppurtunities for photos around Tokyo, especially when night falls and the lights come on… its the classic shot of Tokyo; the vertical advertisements underlined by the streaks of white and red traffic.

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Yet we were unable to catch the shot, this photo was taken in the few seconds it takes a security guard to spot you taking a photo, walk over and stop you from taking the photo. It began to get frustrating, we had been here three days and only managed a handful of decent night shots.

We know there are thousands of photos of Tokyo at night, but its nice to have one that you took, so planning a night shoot when we had the time was in order, rather than taking them as we rushed for the last train…

 

Harry



What is Wabi Sabi? by nim
April 8, 2009, 11:53 am
Filed under: Architecture, Education, Group, People, Temple, Tokyo

wabi-sabi

We decided to ask these youthful suits what they thought Wabi Sabi meant. They told us that it was too difficult to explain in English what it was (although their English was pretty good)- so naturally we asked them if they could show us a pose that represents Wabi Sabi. Personally, I have  refrained from telling you what I believe Wabi Sabi to mean, because it can have so many defintions- for me it resided in an experience (in Japan) which will be shared later on in this blog series. But for all you Marcel Theroux wannabes, for now, this pose will have to do.

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…I should mention, the Japanese local in the middle is infact Bandai reject “Job hunter Ken”. These guys were amazingly animated, and incredible fun and I wish them the best of luck with their job hunting, especially Ken.

Nim and Chandni

senjo



Senso-ji by htkay
April 7, 2009, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Architecture, People, Photography, Temple, Tokyo, Tourism

Although Senso-ji temple is the oldest in Tokyo most of the buildings were built after the second world war, due to the originals having been destroyed by bombing.

tourists-templeThe above photo shows the Nakamise-dori, a 250 meter long street; once lined with market stalls that provided locals with necessities in the 18th century, but is now lined with stalls selling artifacts that any good tourist needs; folding chopsticks, green tea ice cream, Geta (wood sandals) and bright kimonos.

dsc05841The first structure you arrive at down Nakamise-dori is the Kaminarimon, the Thunder Gate, from which a huge lantern hangs. As you draw close up to this structure the age becomes apparent. The huge columns are cool steel, rather than timber and there aren’t the wonderful details in the eaves.

eaves1Despite Senso-ji being built in the 1960s and it feeling like a tourist attraction it is still very much a functioning temple. Along Nakamise-dori we ran into a group of third year college students, one of whom was ‘Job Hunter Ken’. They were on the way to pray for good fortune in Job Hunter’s search for employment.

 

Harry



The Roku Bar Intimate Dinning Experience by nim
April 7, 2009, 8:43 am
Filed under: City Studies, Group, People

Local pick number two saw us eat in this cosy little restaurant in the City. Once again the layout was quite tight and compact, and the group were nearly sitting on top of one another. But, once again, the whole experience worked for us. Chalk it down to the mellow lighting or maybe it was some numbing solution mixed within our green tea- the layout never felt uncomfortable. The restaurant was small; similar to the first one it would only sit around 25- 30 people max, infact the kitchen was only a few paces away from where we were sitting. But I guess the place was made bigger by the very nature of the way we sat on the floor close to one another- this enabled the interior aesthetic to take charge of our periphery; rather than it being cluttered by waves of people, more commonly associated with the mass dining experience. The food was good too (try the miso soup).

Nim

harry, chris, tom and mindy

rachel

chefs



Traffic by htkay
April 5, 2009, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Night, People, Photography, Tokyo

Even at 11:00pm Tokyo was still going as we made our way to the Ginza metro stop.

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Harry



Spaces by htkay
April 5, 2009, 1:54 am
Filed under: Architecture, City Studies, People, Tokyo, Travel

We have only been through tokyo by coach and metro and have yet to delve  into the extreme density that we have only been able to see from the edge; catching the occasional glimpse past the surface of tightly packed apartment blocks, that continue into the distance, the concrete occasionally punctured by a rising skyscraper, a rebel in its material and shape.

These spaces between are intriguing as they look barely wide enough for a car to squeeze down, and grow dark compared to the glaring white of the facades on either side, and yet it seems these are the spaces that the floods of people in the main streets heading for the metro or train seem to appear from; like tributaries, but fixed to their grid and unable to erode away the square corners of Tokyo.

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The edge is only penetrated by the smallest of cracks, click to enlarge

The reason for so much conformity is due to the rebuilding of Tokyo on a huge scale twice in the last century. First in 1923 after the Great Kanto Earthquake and second after the bombings in the second world war. Both times the prefab, concrete slab construction led to the styles as a necessity from the need for high density living spaces quickly.

 

Harry