Life, Culture, Events
I took this at 6am on a Saturday morning. Young people who stayed out all night at clubs in Shibuya dancing to hip-hop, techno, and whatever else is cool. People were gradually emerging in 2’s and 3’s to go home, and some congregated in shops like this one to grab a bite before heading to the train station. Ramen — it’s good 24 hours a day.
As the weather warms up people are walking outside again — and Chinatown is a great place for it. Walk from Sakuragicho Station to Chinatown for lunch. Pass through to the port and catch the Sea Bass (double entendre: sea bus) over to the Minato Mirai area. Walk through the [Red Brick Warehouse](http://japanwindow.com/index.php?showimage=686), and have a cup of coffee, Then head for the ferris wheel (or the roller coaster). If you have any money left, then go out for dinner in Landmark Plaza or Queen’s Square. Just an idea — not something I’ve done all in one day (but bit by bit over the years). If you’re in the Tokyo area for a day, though, there are more authentic ways to sample Japan. This is a break from routine life here, not the place to go find it. 🙂
PS – How many pandas can you count in this picture?
Just another look at the Dondoyaki in the farming community near our place. The community gathered to burn all their New Year’s decorations, plus all the good luck charms they bought the previous year. Then they roasted mochi on sticks over the coals. Despite the spiritual-superstitious, it had a lot in common with a block party or campfire (where I come from).
I ran into this woman in Kamakura. She was walking up the narrow shopping street on her way to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. On Seijin No Hi, Coming of Age Day, Japanese women who turned 20 in the past year attend civic ceremonies. If their families have the money, they dress up in a beautiful *kimono*. Then they hit the town and, if they’re traditional, stop by a Shinto shrine. It’s a good day for photographers. On normal days, it’s difficult to point a camera at anyone without getting a stone faced response. But you can stop anyone in a *kimono* on this day and simply ask to take a picture. (To tell the truth, asking works better than you might expect almost any time.)
On January 2nd I happened to be at Tokyo Station with my camera. I don’t know the area well, so I decided to “follow the crowd.” It turned out that there WAS a crowd all headed in the same direction, so I joined them. We walked several blocks and arrived at the emperor’s palace. Once or twice a year the public is allowed to enter the grounds, and this was one of those days. After passing through multiple levels of security, and I stood with several thousand people waiting for the emperor to appear and give a New Year’s greeting. The light was tricky (very bright on the crowd but the emperor and his party were in shadow), and I only had a 50mm lens, so this was the best shot I could manage. I’ll post a couple more photos tomorrow.
This blog is open again!
I’ll be posting what I consider my best shots (plus shots taken outside of Japan) over at [photosensibility.com/photoblog](http://www.photosensibility.com/photoblog), but I’ll start posting photos here that focus on Japanese people, life, and culture — and generally fit the theme I started with long ago of “trying to figure out what’s going on here.”
Today we spent hours and hours at the kids’ preschool for the “Nakayoshi Party.” The preschool only has 6 kids, but there’s an extended community (an attached Outdoors School). The preschool kids performed a short musical (based on The Three Billy Goats Gruff), and they honored Reai and one other girl who is graduating to the first grade. Three members of the Outdoors School are also graduating (the program ends after the sixth grade). They all read speeches and received certificates. They all cried but in a good way. Then we all ate tons of food. The kids mostly went outside to play, and the adults mostly stayed inside talking for the next few hours.
So…no time to write more than that. Hitomi and I are watching a brain dead movie (Sleepless in Seattle), and I’ll try to avoid the computer the rest of the night.