urban thoughts


Juxtaposition of small and large in central Tokyo

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Winter excursion to Japan

My family are all looking forward to the annual trip to Japan - this year we are going for Christmas and New Year.
Many people are surprised to discover that Christmas Day is not a holiday - and that to most people in Japan it is just another day.  A business day, a work day, a school day.

New Year is the big event - with family get-togethers, symbolic and festive food, drinking parties, exchanging greeting cards and present-giving.
The last few days of the year are spent cleaning the house so you start the New Year fresh and preparing elaborate dishes so you don't have to do any cooking for the first three days of the year.

The dishes are the Japanese equivalent of mince pies, Christmas pudding and stuffing - warming winter food made from traditional preserved ingredients.  Not raisins and candied peel in Japan though, herring roe, konbu seawed and black beans ... an acquired taste for many (foreigners).

  • Soba noodles on News Year Eve symbolise long life.
  • Preserved chestnut or sweet potato is yellow like gold
  • Herring eggs are for fertility and lots of children
  • Small dried fishes are for a good harvest
  • Anything red is lucky
  • The grilled snapper fish is a play on words 'Omedetai' - congratulations!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas sparkle

It's the time of year for making Christmas cards and this year I wanted to use sparkly Christmas photos.  I did not have enough photos from Tokyo - not Christmassy ones - so I went to Liberty of London and some shops on Upper Street.

  They turned out ok I think.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tokyo is a crazyfun bladerunner city

There are so many amazing sights to photograph in Tokyo - just thought I would share a few.
 LED sceens animate the facade of Bic Camera in Yurakucho.
The crystal forms on Herzog and de Meuron's Prada building juxtaposed with tranformers and cables.

 Marounouchi construction site - heavy steel structure and massive cranes.
 Crazy machine-like elevation in Shibuya with fantasy Disney store.
 Blade-runner TV screens at Roppongi crossing.
 Iconic metabolic landmark overshadwoed by bubble-era towers in Shimbashi.
 Shinjuku towers viewed from Takashimaya Times Square restaurants.
 Trains whizzing at high-level through offices and hotels in Shimbashi.
 Nigel Coates 80's landmark almost forgotten in Nishi Azabu.
 Ando's futuristic Amani Casa store in Cat Street.
 Side street in Shibuya with fashion photo shoot.
 Moulded concrrete picture frame window facade between Shibuya and Omotesando.
 Vast empty boat space of Vinoli's International Forum.
 Adam and Eve Korean sauna near the Chinese Embassy in Roppongi (ref Tyler Brule)
Famous Shubuya crossing.

 Roof top ramps for skootering and cycling at the Children's Castle.
 Big signs at Tsukiji.
 Odaiba big wheel amid reclaimed land glitzy development.
 Quirky appartment building with diving board on my walking tour to Ometesando.
 Odaiba Tange TV building behind seaside shopping mall.
Multi-level city experience with vertignous escalators.