This is part 1 about Tokyo. Click here to see part 2 about Kyoto!
Welcome to Japan. (Fuji X100s)
This is my photo story of my first trip to Japan. I went all by myself, to do some kind of walk-about, or soul-searching if you will.
Prior to my trip I had been studying Japanese for about a year. Turns out this was well time spent. I was able to talk to a lot of people in Japanese. The conversations weren't that elaborate of course. I ordered tickets, food and made short conversations with unknown people. I was mostly understood which was very satisfying. The only trouble I had was when the Japanese started talking alot, and fast. Then I didn't understand much. But in the end, a bit of pointing and waving together with some Engrish solved most cases.
I love Tokyo. Everyone seems very busy in this city. Yet, everybody is friendly and polite. Everything is organized. I felt safer here and more at ease than in my hometown.
During my stay in Tokyo I stayed in a hotel in Nishi-Shinjuku (west Shinjuku). Shinjuku is a big ward that has a bit of everything. I found the area around the station to be particularly interesting. It is also a very convenient area to stay in because from Shinjuku station it is pretty easy to go anywhere in Tokyo.
Lot of skyscrapers in Nishi-Shinjuku. Evening and early morning view from my room. (Fuji X100s)
Nishi Shinjuku. (M6 Portra 400)
Rainy morning in Nishi-Shinjuku. Office workers on their way to work, me on my way to breakfast at Dennys. (Fuji X100s)
Pretty much my everyday breakfast at Denny's in Nishi-Shinjuku. A great way to start the day! (Fuji X100s)
There are quite a lot of vending machines in Japan. I bought a lot of water. (M6 Portra 400)
I feel safe knowing that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is watching over me. (Fuji X100s)
Don Quijote store and a Panda. (Fuji X100s)
There is a lot of stuff going on in the area directly to the west of Shinjuku station. One afternoon, these girls showed up.(Fuji X100s)
Not sure what they were promoting. Maybe suitcases? (Fuji X100s)
I was trying to be sneaky and take photos of a group being photographed by an employer of the restaurant they had been visiting. (M6 Portra 400)
But I wasn't very successful. They were in a good mood. We had a brief discussion about Swedish alcohol. (M6 Portra 400)
In Japan it seems important messages are always wrapped in cute pictures. (M6 Portra 400)
Without cute pictures, it seems the messages don't get through (M6 Portra 400)
Shinjuku Chuo Koen, a very nice little park in Nishi-Shinjuku, near my hotel. (M6 Portra 400)
Shinjuku Chuo Koen. On weekends there seems to be flea markets going on. (M6 Portra 400)
Shinjuku Chuo Koen, met a fellow film shooter at the flea market. Brief gear conversation was mandatory. (M6 Portra 400)
Outside Shinjuku Station (Keio line) - This guy had some fans.(Fuji X100s)
Lots of suits going heading for dinner and beer. (Fuji X100s)
These guys deciding on what to eat. Kingdom of Steak. Has to be amazing right? (Fuji X100s)
Yodobashi camera Shinjuku, North Building. One of three (I think) stores. (Fuji X100s)
Film fridge at Yodobashi Camera. A film shooters heaven! Still, I just went for Portra and Ektar. (Fuji X100s)
Sakura right outside my hotel. Woop woop! (Fuji X100s)
Even the grafitti is polite. (Fuji X100s)
I visited Shibuya on a Saturday afternoon, the day after my arrival in Tokyo. This was probably not very clever because I was severely jetlagged and this place was PACKED with people. My god, I think the entire population of Tokyo was here. I got a bit stressed out and didn't stay too long. I think Shibuya is probably best visited slightly drunk and with company, or possibly on a Monday afternoon :-). Anyway I managed to meet some fun people and take a few photographs.
Shibuya on a Saturday, it's not empty. (M6 Portra 400)
A bunch of happy fellas on their way to (from?) a party (Fuji X100s)
A random guy came up and talked to me. He was from Osaka. (Fuji X100s)
Saturday night in Shibuya. Even more people than in the day. I wonder what the electrical bill is. (Fuji X100s)
I visited Harajuku twice during my trip. Harajuku Station is two stations south of Shinjuku on the Yamanote line.
My favorite part was Takeshita Dori which is a long and very narrow street with loads of stores selling trendy youth street fashion. On Sundays especially the place is PACKED with people. An awesome place if you are into street and/or people photography like me.
Takeshita Dori, filled with people.(Fuji X100s)
Everything is cute and pink in Harajuku, the store promoters included. Also, I think afro day should be mandatory in the calendar. (M6 Portra 400)
Left: Store promoter at Candy A-gogo. Right: Even mobile phone stores are cute in Harajuku. (Fuji X100s)
Inside the store Candy A-Gogo. They sell candy. Cute store, cute clerks, very willing to pose. (M6 Portra 400)
There were quite a few cosplayers in Harajuku. Quite a few gaijins too. (Fuji X100s)
The crepes competition was fierce in Harajuku! Food fail: I didnt try any of them. (M6 Portra 400)
Takeshita Dori is about fashion. Some of it really over the top. Too bad it's five sizes too small, I could go for a pink panda look. (L: M6 Portra 400, R: X100s)
I stopped random people so I could take their photo. The girls on the left were supershy but willing to pose. The camera girl let me shoot her but seemed preoccupied with people spotting. (M6 Portra 400)
Some kind of play going at the bridge next to Harajuku Station (Fuji X100s)
These guys were collecting money for a cat and a dog that was sad. Or possibly sick. I was a bit confused but helped them out. Really friendly and fun to talk to. (M6 Portra 400)
I think this guy was popular. Or famous. Or just good looking. (M6 Portra 400)
During both visits I had lunch at Waffle Bins. On a sidestreet from Takeshita Dori and away from the crowds. Loved this place! (Fuji X100s)
Icecream waffle at Waffle bins. After all this cuteness you need to eat a lot of sugar. This one had enough of it to last a few months. Oishii! (Fuji X100s)
I went to Akihabara twice. The Electric town part of Akihabara, to be precise. It is a district with a lot of Otaku stores. Anime, electronic goods, and maid cafes. For some reason, an entire roll from Akihabara came out blank so my selection of footage is limited.
Sales going on in the middle of Akihabara station (Fuji X100s)
Outside Akihbara Station, Electric Town exit (M6 Portra 400)
Electric town. The anime theme was everywhere. (M6 Portra 400)
Not sure which is more boss, Tommy Lee Jones or Gundam. (M6 Portra 400)
Kotobukiya store. They had a lot of cool anime related stuff. (M6 Portra 400)
Discount amusement, not really sure what kind. Also @Home Cafe, a maid cafe with almost-English speaking stuff. I had lunch there. It was so weird and absolutely amazing. (M6 Portra 400)
Parts of Asakusa has a more traditional feel to it. I spent most of my time there at Nakamise Dori, a lovely shopping street with a large amount of stores selling goods and freshly made food and snacks.
A rainy night in Asakusa (Fuji X100s)
A store selling local snacks. (Fuji X100s)
Store making and selling cookies. Or crackers. Not sure. (Fuji X100s)
Just a few meters from the market there were quiet alleys with almost no people. (Fuji X100s)
Very colorful side streets. (Fuji X100s)
And colorful window displays. (Fuji X100s)
Window displays that make you hungry. (Fuji X100s)
After returning from Kyoto and a yummy bowl of Ramen I took an evening walk in the Marunouchi area which is adjacent to Tokyo station. Compared to the other parts of Tokyo I visited, this area felt very peaceful. Could be the time of the day of course. There were some joggers doing their best to stay fit.
About as close as I got to the Imperial Palace this trip. (Fuji X100s)
There was a highly recommended Kaiten Sushi-restaurant in Meguro Station, 5 stops south of Shinjuku on the Yamanote line. Since the place was highly popular, there was a long line. Luckily, because it's Japan and they take care their of customers, there were chairs arranged so people could sit while waiting in line.
The conveyour belt surrounds the chef making the sushi. So basically if you see a plate you like you take it. Plates were color coded according to price. (Fuji X100s)
It was so damn good... I cannot describe it....... onaka suita!! (Fuji X100s)
Pretty sure we won the race of eating most plates that night (Fuji X100s)
Meguro Station (Fuji X100s)
This is part 1 about Tokyo. Click here to see part 2 about Kyoto!