Photo Blog

Skyscrapers of Shinjuku with the HAL Building, a new Tokyo icon

Written by on August 6, 2009 in City and Places, Favorites, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Skyscrapers of Shinjuku with the HAL Building, a new Tokyo icon

The skyscrapers on the western side of Shinjuku Station are like a world within a world. They are a side of Japan that few ever see, because it really doesn’t exist except in a few carefully planned places.

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Sumo wrestlers walking outside Ueno Station

Written by on June 8, 2009 in People, People, People, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Sumo wrestlers walking outside Ueno Station

Sometimes you run into sumo wrestlers in Tokyo. I’m terribly bad at recognizing celebrities, but when you run into a sumo you know it. Not that you’re likely to run into a famous sumo dude just walking around — at least, I haven’t.

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Young Japanese Women in a Traditional Costume for a Festival Parade

Young Japanese Women in a Traditional Costume for a Festival Parade

I took this a Hojo Godai Matsuri in Odawara earlier this month.

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Spring in Japan

Kamakura Daibutsu (Big Buddha)

Written by on January 8, 2009 in Life, Culture, Events, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Kamakura Daibutsu (Big Buddha)

The *daibutsu* (big Buddha) is a “must see” in Kamakura. You can take a bus or walk (about 20 minutes from Kamakura Station). The entry fee is 200 yen (about $2).

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New Year’s Crowd at Kamakura

Written by on January 5, 2009 in Life, Culture, Events, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

New Year's Crowd at Kamakura

A crowd of people surge up the steps of the main shrine at Kamakura (Kamakura Hachimangu). An immense line of people were waiting. They were allowed forward in groups of several hundred at a time. Video displays explained that preparations had begun at 5am. Japanese people visit shrines at the beginning of the year hoping for luck (basically wanting to get get “right” in a (ambiguous but desired) practical-spiritual sense. I’ve heard that 80 percent of all Japanese will visit a shrine during this period of the year. Most will claim a religion (usually Buddhism), but they do not consider themmselves “believers.”

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Japanese Girl Dancing with Drum (and Spirit)

Written by on December 25, 2008 in Life, Culture, Events, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Japanese Girl Dancing with Drum (and Spirit)

This is from a local festival in Hachioji. Festivals are often a great place to see another side of Japanese culture. At the momment, this girl doesn’t fit the usual reserved, shy mold so often associated with Japan.

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Ramen Shop in Shibuya at 6am

Written by on October 21, 2008 in Life, Culture, Events, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Ramen Shop in Shibuya at 6am

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.

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Tokyo Ramen – Ippudo and Jangara Kakuni Ramen with Extra Garlic, Yum

Written by on August 17, 2008 in People, People, People, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Tokyo Ramen - Ippudo and Jangara Kakuni Ramen with Extra Garlic, Yum

I love ramen. My favorite is Tonkotsu ramen loaded with garlic. The best shops put a bowl of raw garlic cloves on the counter, and I add 2 or 3 to the broth which is usually thick with garlic already. If you’re looking for great, strong tasting ramen, I recommend Ippudo Ramen (in Ebisu, Yokohama, or Takadanobaba). I like the thin, hard noodles (and, of course, the powerful taste). I also love Jangara Ramen in Harajuku. I always order the Kakuni Ramen. Kakuni is extra fatty, stewed pork. After eating Kakuni Ramen at Jangara with extra garlic I always feel a bit queezy, but I think it’s worth it. Anyway, I always go back.

The ramen shop in the picture is forgettable as far as I know. Ramen is fast food in Japan. Tokyo must have thousands of little ramen shops serving up average fare, but when you find a good one you’ll know.

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Bass in the Woods

Written by on June 2, 2008 in Favorites, People, People, People, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Bass in the Woods

The bass player from Napolitan Cafe Orchestra practicing in Inokashira Park near Kichijouji Station in Tokyo.

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