Tokyo photos

18Aug08

iThis is like a milestone, or something. I’m actually posting about a trip! Wahaaa.

Men in Suits

Tokyo: Men in Suits

Yes, isn’t it a lovely thing, to see how Japanese people compromise on sanity BUT NOT STYLE? I love Japanese men in suits, even if I think they’re crazy to be wearing them on days with 34-degree weather and 170% humidity (at least that’s what it felt like). And maybe I wasn’t looking too hard, but I didn’t see any armpit sweat stains either. What’s up, Japanese people? How do you stay so wonderfully chic in such awful weather?

Bad Luck (for 100 Yen)

Bad Luck (for 100 Yen)

Yes, I enjoy being a cheesy tourist. And I -really- enjoy things like horoscopes, fortunes, etc. So it was inevitable that I actually bothered to make my way to the Sensoji temple in Asakusa, if only to delight in dropping in a 100Yen coin into a little slot so I could pull out my fortune from a little wooden box … the first paper I got predicted very bad luck for me … which I don’t think means I have a lot of bad luck in general, but I’m sure these intelligent Japanese people (religious or not) print more bad luck fortunes than good luck ones so that cheesy tourists like me can indulge in another sort of delightful thing: tying the bad luck on one of the wooden stands like the one above. Now that I’ve written this, I wonder: where do they take all these bad fortunes when the day is done? Aren’t they supposed to be left there until the bad fortune disappears or what? Anyway, I feel like this is all a sham. I should have saved the two 100Yen coins I dropped in there for WATER.

Next to the temple ...

Next to the temple ...

What is that? That’s a bunch of people on one of those amusement park thriller type things that shoot you up in a flash and then dangle you however many hundred meters from the ground and then drop you back, because, you know, humans love that almost-terkencet feeling. Anyway, where is this amusement park? Right next to the Sensoji temple! Jeezzzz. So after you’re done trying to fend off bad luck by bathing yourself in incense, you can go and see whether it works! By risking the frailty of your heart on some crazy amusement park ride. Mmmmm hmmm.

Tokyo's National Museum of Western Art

National Museum of Western Art

It looks really small and simple eh, but I wonder what other fantabulous exhibitions have gone on here. When I got off at the Ueno train station, I saw a huge billboard for a Vermeer exhibition, and though I did eventually make my way to that later in the afternoon, this museum was the first one I saw when I crossed the road to Ueno park. The exhibition here was on Corot, a French impressionist I’d honest-to-God never heard before in my life. Although I found his work a little dull, the exhibition included a few pieces by Derain, Matisse, et al and the familiarity made my feet ache a little less. This was also where I first saw people using some sort of microscopey looking thing to, I’m guessing, see the brushstrokes and other minute details of the paintings better. Also, yes, Japanese people are awesome at queueing! But there’s enough flexibility that you don’t actually have to follow their queue all the time, as long as you aren’t an asshole about barging in front of other people to see things. I have never been so damn self aware about blocking people’s views and of how bad I smell as I was in Tokyo.

Orange-haired old guy

Orange-haired old guy

You know, there are some people who will always speak the absolute, 100% truth and describe things so well, even if they can be a bit dick-ish about things in general? I’m talking about men, of course, and I know one such male, and he told me a bunch of things before I left:

a) Japanese people will dress like it’s winter, no matter what the season

b) Japanese people love queueing

c) McDonald’s is the cheapest thing to eat in Tokyo

d) Japanese people rarely wear their natural hair colour

As you may have already read here, or heard from me, all of the above turned out to be true. I spent a big part of my trip going ‘My, he was right about everything!’. The above picture is a perfect, I think, representation of d.

Big Bird

Big Bird

Maybe I didn’t take the photo so well, but this bird was huge! Like, it could seriously gouge my eyes out. This was taken at Ueno Park. Very dramatic-looking.

Japanese endorsement!

Japanese endorsement!

Rather disgustingly, the bits of Tokyo that got me excited was going around and seeing things I’d heard/read about right in front of my eyes. I told you I was cheesy. Ok, so we all know that Hollywood celebs go overseas and get paid insane amounts of money to plug something that will never see the light of day in their home country right? See picture above.

Big Big Tuna

Big Big Tuna

At least, I think that’s Tuna. The pinkish skin makes it look like salmon, but got salmon fish so big meh? Taken at Tsukiji Fish Market. By the way, waking up to go to the fish market at a very very crazily, weirdly, bright 5 am, and finding out from my sister that in Frankfurt, the sun sets at 10pm, I am tempted to think that only Singapore and Malaysia have “normal” sunrise and sunset times. “Normal” as in “boring”. Like how our MRT system, with its super uncomplicated transfers is “boring”, but as Yasmine sez, “boring” is good! “Boring” doesn’t give you heart palpitations when you look at a train map. WRITTEN IN JAPANESE.

Best Ice Cream Ever

Best Ice Cream Ever

Pretty much the only thing I “treated” myself to during the trip – a 590Yen basket of the best damn ice cream I’ve ever had. Two types of berries, one scoop of dark chocolate. FUCKING AWESOME.

All that Neon

All that Neon

Actually, I was gonna say how Tokyo energetically recycles if only to make up for all the energy they waste with their neon signs, but then I realise that if they had any logic, they’d be using some environmentally-friendly, ‘forthefutureofourkids’ type thing to run their electricity right? I’m too lazy to google it. But lots of neon signboards does make for nice pictures, without too much effort.

The only good pic I got of Vampire Weekend

The only good pic I got of Vampire Weekend

The rest were kind of overexposed. Sorry. Cheap camera plus lazy girl who went to less than 1/3 of her photojourn classes = bad photos.

ANYWAY, so seeing Vampire Weekend live in da flesh was kind of special but also kind of majorly depressing. You know I always have intense music obsessions every few years, and this is the first time I’ve ever actually been able to see said obsessed-over band at the very zenith of my obsession (I saw the Backstreet Boys only about 10 years after I first went gaga over them; Weezer and John Mayer have become too weird for my liking). But I knew before I flew to Tokyo that this was a case of (almost) instant gratification, and just like masturbation, kids, life returns to normal after you uh, climax. I’m sorry. This is my blog and I will be filthy when I feel like it.

Well, at least I discovered a couple of things about pogo dancing: you can do it a) in incredibly small spaces b) even if you’re terribly unfit. Mind over matter, mind over matter.

Summer Sonic, and Tokyo, wasn’t like, transcendent, or anything, but it was quite a lot of fun, despite the stressing out at train stations, and walking until my feet wanted to D I E. But if there was any place to be alone while turning my own discontent over and over in my head until I felt like I couldn’t breathe for the enormity of it all … I couldn’t have picked a more perfect place.

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3 Responses to “Tokyo photos”

  1. 1 ad

    god. you write so well you made me feel like going to tokyo just to hate it and love it. japanese men can afford to wear those suits because they are thin. no lining but beautifully constructed with their superfine 160s wool cashmere such that it wont wrinkle and it absorbs perspiration pretty well. BUT IF I WERE TO GO TO TOKYO I WOULD NOT DARE WALK IN MY “PAUL SMITH- DOLCE” SUIT. my lining might be pretty, but it would cling to me like saran wrap (this is colonial inferiority to the max, we dont use saran wrap in sg, but i read books by american authors who would describe so!)

    in short, rindu ah.

  2. saran wrap – also known as cling wrap, or just plain ol’ ‘plastic wrap’ to my mother.

    we should give japan a proper look-through in a nicer season, maybe spring or winter

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