Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tokyo: Three images of a life unconfined

Copyright Aurora Simionescu
It's always an interesting question I'm asked by friends visiting the country, "What do you recommend we go and see?". And this is always followed by a brief, and somewhat awkward pause as you try to frame the answer in such a way as not to cause crushing disappointment. Because the truth is there actually isn't very much to see in Tokyo, at least in the conventional sense. Yes, there are the beautiful art galleries and a lot of cool architecture, but that's not really specific to Japan. However, if there is not that much to see, there is so much to do.

Harajuku Girl - Copyright Gajderowicz
The insane crossing in Shibuya is worth an experience along with the Blade Runner screens and the thousands of people, intertwining like a precision marching band, threading through each other every time the lights change. Getting lost from your friends at a hanami party under the cherry blossom and being gently led back to you group; visiting your local police station to recover your wallet after you dropped it in the street and some kind soul handed it in. And then there's the photograph with Hachiko, the Cosplay of Harajuku and the youth of Takeshita-Dori. Oh, and then of course, don't forget the food.

But if you really want to see something, a heads up: The Palace is simply a gate, the grassy expanse  beyond which no-one but the high flying drones will ever observe. The shrines can be interesting, Meiji, Zojoji and Asakusa being three of the best in the city (though avoid the afternoons) and each with its own history. Golden Gai and the Robot Cafe are perennial favourites but Drunkard's Alley has more character and Ebisu Yokocho has more laughter. And if you really still want to see something that will take your breath away, see the night. It's the greatest view a city can offer. And this one is world class.

All Rights for photograph to Masashi Wakui (love your work!)

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