We’ve been in Japan now for about 5 days. Mostly in Tokyo, though the last couple days were spent in Osaka and Kyoto, utilizing our JR Rail Passes. I almost blitzed to Kobe for the afternoon but got caught up on the world’s largest ferris wheel in Osaka. I didn’t know I was afraid of heights until this trip, where I have managed to induce vertigo about 5 times. We’ll be in Tokyo for the rest of the week, staying in a pretty crazy part of Shinjuku.
The trip thus far has been amazing. The weather — especially compared to two years ago — has been really cooperative. We’ve gotten lost many times; usually the result of me half-remembering where something is from last time. I can speak enough Japanese to ask for directions, but not quite enough to fully understand the answer. This usually results in us basically bouncing between locals until we happen upon our destination. I refer to this process as Lost Alex’s Local Japanese Pinball. Travel companions generally do not find this amusing.
I’ve taken about 1000 pictures so far. We’re halfway through the trip right now and I feel like I’ve been getting the best results with my prime lens. It’s mostly been touristy stuff so far, though I’m starting to feel more comfortable experimenting. It’s been hard for me to transition out of “I am a tourist and must prove I have been here” photograph mode, and get into “I happen to be a tourist and should try to take bad ass pictures” mode. (And yes I did try HDR on the one below. I know…I know, but I had to try it! Don’t worry, Navis already called me out.)
The rest of the trip will focus on inspiration mining. We’ve hit the requisite tourist stops — now it’s time to gather up the cool that is just everywhere here. We were walking around Naka Meguro today (which is my favorite part of the city) and I couldn’t get over how effortlessly cool (using the most comprehensive interpretation of the word) the shops were. Off the top of my head, some awesome spots were: Cow Books, RipVanWinkle, Be My Self, Vendor, and ….Research. From here on out it’s collection time. I just have to decide if I want to fill my suitcase with books or clothes.
If you are interested, I am keeping a daily journal of pictures and descriptions on my other blog. It’s really hard to force myself to write every night but I’m keeping on it. Ends up being more than worthwhile in a couple years.