I have this somewhat sadomasochistic ritual when traveling to Asia: shooting a roll of expired Fuji Velvia 50. I can’t remember how it started. I think it was probably on my trip to visit relatives in the Philippines, and the Velvia 50 was the only roll I had left. Since then, I’ve decided to continue […]Read More 5 Frames in Japan with Fujifilm Velvia 50 (Expired 2002)
Ahhhhh! Behind his counter, the clerk continues to sort through papers as the high-pitched squeals and moans of Japanese women in the throws of forced ecstasy reverberate through the shelves.Urrrrgghhn! A salaryman in a surgical mask and glasses squeezes past me. I lean back into a bookshelf to give him space through the noodle-thin aisle. […]Read More One Floor of Anime, Four floors of Porn.
Three squat and unshaven men in khaki coats walked towards us, flanked by policemen. Mumbling to each other, they paid us little mind as they passed.“Yakuza”, one of my companions said. “Really?”They must have been low-level thugs, far below the slick, besuited rogues one imagines from cinema and video games. Kazuma Kiryuu, these guys were […]Read More Kabukichō 歌舞伎町
We walked under a cloudburst of the brightest autumn hues we had witnessed this far into the trip. We were at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji, and after a morning milling around thousands of other tourists at Tenryu-ji and Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove, we had ventured to the furthest periphery of Kyoto, where it meets the mountains and countryside […]Read More Adashino Nenbutsu-ji 化野念仏寺
I’d foolishly neglected Fushimi Inari on my previous visit to Kyoto, and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember why. Maybe it was logistical. Or perhaps I was shrine-fatigued – an easy affliction to catch in traditional Kyoto. Could it have been that I’d seen many picture postcard images of its arcade of vermillion […]Read More Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社
Through the trees, a giant stone face smiles serenely down on the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. The few people walking the rain-slicked cobbled streets pay it little mind. The statue doesn’t seem to care. Arms folded, eyes closed, face restful, it seemed to wish compassion to all who walked past. As I spotted her through […]Read More Ryozen Kannon 霊山観音
With so many tall buildings in Tokyo, one thing I wanted was to see was the city from high above street level. The two most popular options would be to visit either Tokyo Tower or Skytree. However, the viewing decks at both locations cost a pretty penny, and since we were in Shinjuku to catch […]Read More Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 東京都庁舎
When I mentioned to someone that we’d visited Kagurazaka, they merely asked me ‘why?’. True enough, it isn’t one of the most well-known areas of Tokyo to international tourists, and although located within Shinjuku City, there are more renowned areas to visit, explaining why most people overlook it. There aren’t any grand landmarks, fashion hubs, […]Read More Kagurazaka 神楽坂
Koishikawa Kōrakuen 小石川後楽園 We arrived at Koishikawa Kōrakuen fifteen minutes before opening. When we eventually entered, it seemed we were also too early for the bright autumn colours this garden is famous for. The maples, though beginning to turn, with smatterings of fiery colour, remained mostly verdant. Ah, well. Shouganai – can’t be helped. We […]Read More Koishikawa Kōrakuen and Rikugien Gardens.
6 p.m We arrived at twilight. Travelling the scenic route, we had strolled the river path alongside the Sumida, encountering only joggers and dog walkers, to the soundtrack of gentle waves sloshing against the banks. As we approached Senso-ji, the dull roar of traffic and tourist chatter began to swell. On either side of Kaminarimon […]Read More Senso-ji 金龍山浅草寺: 6 P.M vs 6 A.M