Police. I am not sure if there is anyone sane out there who actually likes them. They are always around when you don't need them, yet can't be found or bothered to do anything when you do need them. I remember when someone pickpocketed my wife's wallet on a train station, and those lazy gits sitting on their skinny bums in the police HQ, which was located 50m from that station, could not even be arsed to go ahead and check the surveillance cameras. If that does not encourage one to commit crimes in Japan, I do not know what does. Still, I guess one should not expect much from whoever drives cars at 40km/h wearing crash helmets, and brings 120 fellow members of the same persuasion to an event where some drunk geezer lost his winter coat.
Takoyaki (たこ焼き) - a popular Japanese fried ball shaped snack. Takoyaki is made of wheat flour batter and minced octopus, ginger and some green onion, and served with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, laver and dried bonito (dried fish garnish). I am not a fan of octopus, in fact I can’t stand the taste nor the smell, but photographing traditional Japanese food stands like this is delicious. It is something that always amazed me. Japan seems so clean and organised, yet when it comes to certain types of food and restaurants, such as this mobile frying pen, or so popular ramen stores, the filthier they are, the better the food is (well, at least in most cases).
Japan stretches from north to south, from very cold areas to very warm areas. Every year we all wait for the sakura front to sweep by and decorate the world with its phenomenal show of nature. We tend to appreciate more things that last short, and the blooming cherry trees are definitely one of those things. Although there are many types of sakura flowers, each of them appears in Tokyo approximately for a week, and then it falls down like a flower blizzard. Sakura is very difficult to predict, and even a few days before the flowers open and we all can enjoy hanami (花見, lit. flower viewing), no one can exactly specify the date when it will be in full bloom. This year was no exception. By now, sakura should be in its peak, yet when we stormed the metropolis armed in our cameras we could see that it was not so. And today, it is raining.... This, however, does mean that we were not able to take some photos of sakura. Here is one of them with my calligraphy art added to the picture. Enjoy!
Calligraphy: 香漂; drifting fragrance
Today we went out to hunt down some sakura trees in full bloom, and when we were passing the Tokyo Imperial Palace in Chyoda ward, I could not resist when I saw this. It was screaming for a photo. Unfortunately, there were no sakura trees around, but the scenery is beautiful nonetheless, would you agree? We manage to take some sakura photographs later on, which I will post in my next article.
Tokyo for a photographer is like a candy store for a kid. It is a never ending WOW zone. There is always somethig to shoot. It does not matter where you are in Tokyo, there is no such thing as no subject to photograph. I often go out to shoot a particular area or a scene, building, or an event, but sometimes I miss it, or it is not there, or I see something on the way that makes me change my mind, and photograph it instead. Other times, you get lucky on your way to whatever you wanted to photograph. I shot this in Ueno park, on my way to the Ueno museum. It is a chime stand / rack of a street performer.
Tokyo is a concrete giant, and as in any metropolis, the wildest animals moving about are mostly people who dwell within. When I first arrived at Tokyo, I thought that the only wild creatures were huge evil looking crows that pray on garbage, rats and cockroaches. One day, I went to Odaiba, which is located in central Tokyo, to take photos of the cityscape. When I was going back home it was already pitch dark. The lights you see on this photograph are reflections of the restaurant illuminations stretching along the Odaiaba beach. And that bird is a wild white crane, just strolling in the water, waiting for me to take the shot.
Although Yokohama is technically a stand-alone city, it is a part of the Greater Tokyo Metropolis, which stretches over a length of 100km. When you travel on train from Tokyo to Yokohama, you have no idea where one city ends and the other begins. It is a sea of concrete, roads and people. Then again, Yokohama has a very different feel to it than Tokyo. It seems more relaxed, wide and airy. Yokohama's Minato Mirai is one of my favourite places to visit, especially at night, and the best time to photograph it is during the winter months, when the air isn’t very humid, and the visibility is great for shooting cityscapes.
Minato Mirai (lit. Future Port or Port of the Future) is hands down one of the coolest spots in Yokohama. You have everything there, the views, the shops, the restaurants, the attractions, the theme park, the sea, the harbour, the street performers on a daily basis, the outdoor 3D cinema, and so on. For me, however, the main focus each time I go there is the architecture and people. I love shooting in Yokohama, it is so much different than Tokyo. One of the things I enjoy photographing is the massive steel sculpture / structure in in the Queen's Square area. One place, thousands of angles - brilliant.
Rainbow bridge connects the Odaiba with Tokyo harbor area. It is one of the best spots for enjoying the day and night panorama of Tokyo. The bridge was completed in early '90s so it is fairly new. There are pathways on both sides of the bridge, but bear in mind that they are not open 24/7. It is best to consul Tokyo travel guides before taking the trip there. The day time panorama view is quite nice, but what you really want to see is the night city scene, just before the dusk. Dress up in warm clothes, that place is really windy.
I shot this last year on December from the Rainbow Bridge, that connects the Tokyo harbour with Odaiba. It is agreat spot for shooting panoramas of Tokyo during the day. The night shots get more tricky as the bridge is shaking a lot, so unless you shoot hand-held, you will not get sharp photos. The right side section of the land, which is outside the photo, will be one of the grounds used for development in preparation