Japan Travel Update
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.
33 Comments Leave A Comment
Kjell-Roger says:June 2, 2010 at 7:31 am
Looks like a sweet trip Alex. I’m hopefully going in March next year!
Agustin Sanchez says:June 2, 2010 at 7:53 am
Thanks for the update man. Pictures look great. The ferris wheel looks like my worst nightmare. I’ve always wanted to go to Osaka. Ahhh, to dream.
Molly says:June 2, 2010 at 8:56 am
Great photos. I leave on the 24th for a 17 day trip to Japan, so I’m really appreciating the updates/tips. Enjoy the rest of your time!
Kyle says:June 2, 2010 at 8:58 am
The one labled Sky City looks like an incredible building. It was photographs of buildings in Hong Kong that really got me into photography. This is bringing back the same emotion and inspiration as then.
The rest of the photos are excellent man, it sounds like you’re enjoying your trip and staying extra busy.
Tim says:June 2, 2010 at 10:24 am
Inspiring stuff, so jealous of the trip. Great photography too!
NEOkeitaro says:June 2, 2010 at 10:42 am
Excellent pictures, you should open a flickr account or something for them, they’re kind of small for the quality… Kind of what Thomas Birke did with his pictures from Hong Kong, Paris, etc… http://www.flickr.com/photos/move_lachine/
Anyway, you seem to be having great fun, keep the updates coming!
NAVIS says:June 2, 2010 at 11:13 am
The Sky City and Bridge shots are epic. Love em. The Bridge kinda looks like a giant, floating Hurley logo. I’m jelly. And Sky City… if I stare at it I feel like it’s moving.
I remember when I was driving in Azerbaijan and we couldn’t find Baku, we’d just roll down the windows to our car and start shouting at locals, “Baku! Baku!” and we’d get the pinball effect too. Eventually we found it. While inconvenient, pinballing does work!
And hey, you have one of the better examples of HDR. At least you didn’t sharpen the shit out of your picture. ;)
Have you seen any good examples of Engrish?
ecoguardian says:June 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm
If I don’t get copies of Sumida River and the Attempted HDR of Kinkaku, grumpiness will ensue. I wouldn’t chance that happening if I were you.
Trog says:June 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm
Ah, the life of a 外人! If you have any Japanese language issues/questions, hit me up, I’d me more than happy to lend my knowledge of all things “nihon”. I personally have always enjoyed the snow and beauty of Hokkaido but then again all of Japan is pretty nice.
David Airey says:June 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm
Wonderful photos, Alex. Thanks for sharing them. I’ve yet to visit Japan, but it’s shots like these that make me want to join you on your trip.
All the best for the remainder.
Chris says:June 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Nice guys. I’m leaving the 9th for Tokyo. But luckily I have many friends there that also speak good english.
Doug says:June 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm
That shot of the Hermes Flahship simply blew my mind to bits. Amazing architecture captured by an amazing photographer. Simply awesome.
Ryan says:June 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm
I burn with jealousy.
Brent says:June 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm
“We’re halfway through the trip right now and I feel like I’ve been getting the best results with my prime lens.”
ALWAYS!!! :) – Great shots!
Maqui says:June 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Great photos. I always interesting What people see and feel our country.
I’m glad that you seemed to has good time. I may show some interesting place if you come to Tokyo next time!
bemag says:June 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm
We really enjoy Ryan’s work, check out the recent profile we did featuring him:
Aleshier says:June 3, 2010 at 12:22 am
From picture, I feel Japan is a good country, maybe my honeymoon travel can be there.
JConda says:June 3, 2010 at 7:14 am
Awesome photos. Tokyo is one of the most inspirational cities in the world. Thanks for sharing.
Dan says:June 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm
Beautiful shots Alex… You’ve definitely raised the bar (photographically speaking) from your last trip there! (IMHO)
johnrabin says:June 4, 2010 at 2:33 am
Beautiful japan pictures.
Tiemen says:June 6, 2010 at 8:34 am
“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.”
Had me grinning. Nice pictures.
joshua talbot says:June 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Between your jacket and the Tokyo landscape it looks like you could be in Blade Runner! Great pics.
Aman Fahimullah says:June 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm
Gotta love them primez!
OSSONE says:June 28, 2010 at 7:57 am
Gardner says:June 29, 2010 at 11:35 am
I’ve been to Japan a few times and struggled with directions and weather in exactly the way you describe . In Tokyo we stayed in an area called Yanaka – near Ueno park Nezu metro. It was beautifull and haunting… I recommend it – the Sawanoya Ryokan is affordable and perfect [ no curfew ]. Also , Shimo Kitazawa is another cool area outside the main vibe – young , antique shops ,bookshops , vintage clothing, bars, coffee, low rise… Really enjoy your stuff .
Shamu says:July 11, 2010 at 12:15 am
Yanks out. Japan no longer wants you.
Peter says:August 11, 2010 at 3:14 am
But please, it’s “I couldn’t care less”. If you “could care less” about the ferrari, it means you care about it to some degree. Which maybe you do, but it wasn’t what you meant. Unless there’s multiple levels of double-grammar-bluffing going on with that caption.
aika says:August 28, 2010 at 7:32 am
I live near Naka-Meguro!
I’m glad you found the area interesting :)
love your photos!! very different view points from japanese ppl like me.
Zino says:October 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm
daniel says:October 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm
beautiful shots alex! sorry if i’m missing it somewhere but what camera and lens/s are you using?
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