JAPAN 2016: Tokyo in Photos

I visited sunrise land with my family for the first time and all I can say is: Japan is awesome!!! We had a blast feasting on sushi, searching for late blooming sakura, and getting lost in translation. Well, working around the language barrier wasn’t much fun but it’s all part of the experience, plus the Japanese people are one of the most helpful citizens I’ve met in my travels.

What struck me the most about Tokyo was how it felt like a toy town and an urban jungle all at once. Everything—from the efficient train systems to the intelligent architecture, from the quirky fashion to the minimalist graphic design—revealed the modernity you would expect of a first world country. And yet, in nearly every corner there is something undeniably human to discover. Ordinary people visiting a park or shrine in the middle of the workday. Businessmen in suits, enjoying their ramen in a hole in the wall. People of all ages flocking to craft shops for stationery, watercolors, and knick knacks.

Speaking as an outsider coming from a culture that is wildly emotional and expressive, at first I felt that the Japanese way of life seemed  restraining, what with values of order,  and privacy deeply ingrained in their culture. In between the countless train rides and the throngs of fast-walking people who flood the streets, I understood how one can get lonely in a city like Tokyo. And yet, in the same culture which could isolate individuals, I glimpsed common threads which kept people connected. There is a quiet grace and sense of community in nearly everything the Japanese do, whether it’s lining up on one side of the escalator so others can pass, going out of their way to help lost tourists, and even making space for nature to breathe within their bustling city. Their attention to detail, serious yet playful nature, and respect for neighbor make the Japanese who they are. The humans I observed in Tokyo understood the concept of pure effort and pure effortlessness, and this made them unforgettably interesting.

This post is a compilation of moments I captured which hopefully convey this. It was my first time taking my Fujifilm XT-1o out to another country, and I was glad that Japan’s streets felt safe enough to use my camera out in public. Let it be known: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a photographer. And while I still have so much  to learn especially on the technical side, I think it’s still important to try every chance I get. Here are some of my best attempts during our 4 days in Tokyo:

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“Aesthetic Boys” according to my sister. Taken in Takeshita Dori, Harjuku.
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Rows and rows of sake barrels at Meiji Shinto Park, Shibuya.

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Monks taking portraits at Meiji Shinto Shrine, Shibuya.

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Sea of humanity at Shibuya Crossing.
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PERFECTION at Itamae Sushi Restaurant, Akasaka.
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View from our hotel room in Akasaka.
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Lucky beads found at Asakusa Market.
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Sisters
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Senso-ji Buddhist Temple, Asakusa.
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Grumpy old man
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A ramen god up on rooftops
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Schoolgirls
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Self-portrait at UNIQLO’s flagship in Ginza.
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Ginza at night
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Cherry blossoms at Shinjuku Garden!
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Happy kids
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Fallen flowers are just as beautiful in their own fragile way.
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Art in the park
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Catch me if you can
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Lost in translation
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Art heaven
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Hello, kitty
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Artgasm
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Tools of the trade
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No wonder everybody here is artsy (!!!)

 

Stay tuned for more of my Japan posts on Kyoto and Osaka!

Bea

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