Tokyo essentialized.

Street Scene, Shinjuku, Tokyo

This shot sums up Tokyo for me: Pachislot and vending machines. Sure, Tokyo is busy and crowded, but actually I wasn't too impressed by that. Maybe because I live Hong Kong, a place that has a smaller but more concentrated population. I was expecting to be wowed by the crowd there, and even awed by it. But even the fabled light-change at Shibuya Station wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be. I loved looking at it, like I outlined in this post, but that was more for what I could see in the crowd than how big it was. Drive down Nathan Road in Mongkok on a Sunday night, and watch the pedestrians cross the road when the traffic lights change: now that's an awesome crowd scene. No, crowds of people aren't what I think of when I think of Tokyo.

Tokyo for me means wandering around at night, down small lanes, grabbing beers and ramen in basement eateries, looking at interesting, happy people going by. Tokyo means street music like I've never heard before, performed by really talented artists who are listened to by the people around, not just dismissed with a glib " Not my style of music". Tokyo defininely has a lot going in the daytime, but like many great cities, Tokyo only properly wakes up at night.

A street scene in Shibuya, Tokyo


Michael Ignatov said...

That's a great point, David. I've never actually been to Tokyo, but I spent some time in Osaka, and this seems to be the general impression of a Japanese metropolis. Neon lights, booze, and tiny eateries.