Sunday, July 29, 2007

Views from Tokyo Part III

Yet another set of photos from places 'round Tokyo...

A shot from Shibuya. In a city seemingly designed with grey-lovers in mind, the most colour you can expect to find is in the leaves of a few trees, here and there, and in the flurry of advertisements and corporate banners/logos/digiscreens/etc... I like the contrast, here, between the naked white/grey building on the right, and the multi-coloured fa├žades everywhere else.

Just your average glass-pane fronted building. I thought the idea of taking a picture of the reflected building, while using the windows as an alignment grid, sounded interesting enough to justify a snapshot. Artsy-fartsy, eh?

Now, don't ask me what this is. According to this:
it's a "fossil of the time". What time? Perhaps that oft'-talked-about "that time", or perhaps it's "the time" as in "THE time". You know, the one... you don't know? I don't know...

Another shot of it, for good measure.

Who said Tokyo wasn't green? I thought it looked good, how the buildings in the back seem to peek out from the trees.

A familiar view when coming from Shibuya station. Yes, the whole surface (including the side) is a big-ass screen. You've seen "Lost In Translation", right? Right?

More Shibs. Interesting visual mix of a broad, square building next to a thin, curvy one. But then again, a lot of Tokyoite architecture is interesting in a contrastive way.

Parliamentary elections tomorrow (Sunday 29th). Last-ditch effort on the part of this candidate to garner some attention. I guess he's running for a greener Tokyo (or was high when suggesting the van design). Errr... Aloha?

People meeting in front of Hachiko. Let's get a better shot of him...

Aaah, Hachiko. The meeting place in front of Shibuya station. I think the story goes something along these lines: Hachiko was some dude's dog. Dude leaves, tells dog to wait, dude never comes back, dog waits, dog dies, people build statue in honour of this allegoric instantiation of the virtues of persistence and faithfulness, much valued in Japanese society. Now serves as an easily spotted meeting place for locals and gaijin alike. Somewhere along the line, the message got lost, I suppose.

The (in)famous big 'X' crosswalk in Shibs, quite busy on this fine Saturday.

Yup. Very busy... Anyway, after taking these fine shots, and grabbing some lunch, I headed down to Akihabara for some nice snapshots of Akihabara Electric Town.

Only in Japan, ladies and gentlemen...
Well, actually I heard they had 'air guitar aerobics' in Germany. I'm not sure which is more disturbing.

You can buy just about anything electronics-related, in Akihabara. This stall specialises in surveillance equipment. If you look closely, you'll spot me taking the picture on one of the screens.

Initially, I took this picture to illustrate how the Japanese will build just about anywhere (earthquakes == instant death, in this shop, no?), but I now also realise how freaky that sign is. Would you go in?

This looks like Shibuya, but the EXIF data for this photo assures me I took this Akihabara (a computer wouldn't lie, would it now. Eh, Hal?). I guess everything really does look the same, around here. Anyway, just more of me being artsy by taking reflected buildings.

The pedestrian area around Akihabara Electric Town.

Man, that's a lot of a geeks. Although I guess I can't really say that in good faith...

Haha, I thought this was lovely. In Europe/US/etc, celebrities will plug products. Here, cartoon characters do the job just as well.

I know it looks like I took this picture because there was a Peugeot in it, but I honestly just wanted a broad shot of the road. Seriously!

In contrast with the above, more pedestrian roads in Akihabara. Load to buy here, if you want to build a computer, or indulge in weird adult fetishes...

A vertical view of the above.

"The Computer", eh? Now we know who really runs the country.

Perhaps because I've been reading one of Stewart Shapiro's books on mathematics recently, but the geometrical relations between the building's lines and the electric wires struck me as worthy of some attention.

That's one hell of a view from the first floor.

Back in Setagaya, more general geometrical artsy-ness....

What can I say? That's a really sweet design.

A house for those who really want to escape the fact that there are multi-storey buildings about 10 meters down the road, to the left and right.

They sure know how to handle gardens here. Or certainly, a lot better than I can handle taking pictures with longer exposures. The blurring makes the picture look a bit strange, so I kept it.

Ditto here. Between day and nightfall, this path seems a bit surreal.

I took this while frustratingly (and unsuccessfully) trying to set the exposure settings to capture the foreground as well. Despite not achieving this goal, I liked the outcome enough to keep the photo.

That's all for now...


Enigma said...

I think the fossil of time is a time capsule - that makes the most sense to me.

Hehe! Thanks for posting your adventures in Japan. I still wish to try living there for a summer or a year sometime...


Oh, and about the dog... I know the Japanese seem to really like Anne of Green Gables, for some reason. Well, in the final book, Rilla of Ingleside, there is a dog who waits at the train station for his master to come back from World War I. Similar idea.

(Followed you here from your post in the Onigiri thread over at

Anonymous said...

Yes, animecanuck, but aren't we all fossils of time?

And Ed, the photos and your descriptions are great. I especially love the "first floor view" of mathematical curves. Nice to know what's flowing through your mind when you take a picture like that.

Now, some other photo requests for those of us who can't be there in person:

Portraits w/ sound recordings of students asking, "Can you roll your tongue?" and then demonstrating.

Also, any cosplay going on these days? If so, can you ask some of the players to pose for you? Always a favourite with us outsiders.


Kokochi said...

Hi Ed,

This is Mie from Kokochi where you left a comment. Thanks!

Nice site and great pictures. I see quite a few neighborhood ones you have mixed in with the Shibuya city ones. That's exactly what I miss...having the city but an oasis to come home to.

I'm sure the summer is insanely hot! Eat unagi to keep they say. : )

Tahira said...

Brings back good memories