100 Photos of Japan
2 August 2008
So there hasn't been much activity on here recently. That's because I've been in Japan, fulfilling dreams and getting as thoroughly lost as possible. Somehow I found my way back to the airport in time, with a whole lot of photos in store. It was closer to a thousand, but not all of those were very good, so here's Japan (although mostly Tokyo) in 100 photos. Everybody likes photos of Japan, right?!
Akihabara is very colourful. This building has people tubes.
Giant anime billboards! Code Geass, as well as Lucky Star parodying The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Melon bread is indeed as delicious as it looks.
SKILL TESTER PARADISE! There were all sorts of groovy games on the upper levels. Indeed, in Japan arcades span MULTIPLE STORIES.
More Anime and game billboards. This mostly interested me as I was somehow affronted by another Galaxy Angel that had an entirely new cast.
I do adore how everything in Japan either lights up, animates, or plays music.
Hello Kitty's presence is not so much subversive as it is comfortable in its total domination.
This bridge obviously figured the only way to stand out from all the other bridges was to be bright yellow.
Sleeping in public seems to be a Japanese pasttime.
I still don't know what the deal with this building is. I would have liked to be at that design meeting.
Asakusa is a tourist trap. It is filled with kitschy Japanese souvenirs and overpriced restaurants. It is awesome.
The temple at Asakusa. The scale must be experienced to truly be believed.
The pagoda inside the temple.
Rows and rows of pinwheels. All glory to the Hypnotoad.
The view from Tokyo Tower. Later I got lost and found that shoe-like building in the center. It was impressively large, to the point where it was actually impossible to get a good photo of it.
The creepy abandoned rooftop carnival underneath Tokyo Tower. What if you threw a fair and nobody showed?
A Hello Kitty store. It had a good couple of hundred of Hello Kitty's 22,000 unique products.
Exterior shot of Tokyo Tower, just before being ravaged by Godzilla and blown up AT THE SAME TIME.
Does this not look like it would be more fun with giant beads on the ends?
Very cool building on Odaiba, a giant artificial island filled with awesome.
An epic and colourful ferris wheel. It's there permanently. I think it says something about a culture when they have enormous ferris wheels as a permanent feature of the landscape.
In Japanese public toilets, the women's toilets contain a speaker where you can press a button that creates a flushing sound to cover the sound of going to the toilet. Apparently this was to save water, because women were previously just flushing continuously before.
My head pretty much exploded when I came across a SHONEN JUMP STORE. It was a limited-time affair to celebrate Shonen Jump's 40th Anniversary.
Shonen Jump covers. If you consider that it comes out weekly, this is only about FOUR YEARS worth of covers. That's a lot of art.
Zepp Tokyo! This is only awesome to Prince of Tennis fans, as this is where Tenimyu Dream Live 3rd was held. No such excitement that day, unfortunately.
Tokyo Big Sight Convention Centre. I think this picture speaks for itself.
Accidentally wound up in Ofuna, went for a walk, found a shrine and a graveyard. These were some of the many statues on the way.
Equipment for cleaning the graves. I think the fact that they leave these just lying around tells you a lot about how trusting the Japanese are as a whole with such things.
Shinjuku. This building is awesome.
I take it back. Check out this magnificent bastard.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Building, looking especially epic. Anime fans may recognise this being destroyed in X/1999 and Tsubasa Chronicles.
That's a last episode shot right there, that is.
Most of the night pictures didn't come out very well, but Tokyo only really comes alive in the afternoons and evenings. Most places don't open until 10 or 11, and close well into night. My kinda place!
I just liked this picture.
Street in Hatsudai. This is pretty reflective of many smaller commercial streets - lots of lamps, narrow road lacking in footpaths and enough powerlines to completely wrap a skyscraper.
Dogenzaka in Shibuya. Shibuya is so awesome that if it were personfied, I would marry it. Except that I would not be trendy enough.
The 109 building. The ENTIRE BUILDING is women's clothing and accessories. ALL OF IT.
'Lunch' from a parfait shop secreted away on a second floor. Everything of interest in Japan is hidden second floor or above.
SQUARE WATERMELONS DO EXIST.
Oicity. Thanks to the World Ends With You, I know this more as Cadoi City.
This building is just cool.
Tower Records is a sort of paradise. There is an entire floor dedicated to soundtracks. An entire floor dedicated to indies and club music. The entire building is music. If you cannot find a CD here, it probably can't be found.
Cigarette Vending machines were rather prevalent.
Parco. Parco is actually split up into multiple buildings, so you have Parco 2 and Parco 3.
The famous Shibuya crosswalk. Every time the light changes, it becomes a sea of people.
Some of the escalators would turn on automatically when you stepped on to them.
SQUARE ENIX SHOWCASE. Cue head exploding.
Giant tonberry and cactuar greeting you at the door pretty much summarises the experience.
Yes, that is a life-sized Sephiroth in the floor.
It almost seems a shame that no one will wear it.
Delicious bounty from the convenience store. All of this cost less than $8! And people say that Tokyo is expensive.
Went to the Aquarium. Imagine stepping on one of these.
Movie poster of GeGeGe no Kitaro: Thousand Year Curse. Based on a purportedly popular anime about a guy who fights with flying shoes and a magical jacket, whose father is an eyeball. I love Japanese film.
Harajuku! This picture is mostly noteworthy for the vending machine guy doing his magic. Oh, and also the delicious crepe store Angel Heart in the background which sold the most delicious crepes ever.
I don't care about fashion at all, but Harajuku made me WANT to care.
In Harajuku there were a bunch of stores dedicated entirely to selling photos and posters of pop idols. I don't understand why you'd pay $5 for a picture you've already probably seen in magazines, but don't underestimate the 14-year-old girl demographic.
Display window food! It's something to appreciate in Japan. You always know exactly what you are getting.
A turtle! YES, THE TURTLE DESERVED A PHOTO. For all you know that turtle talks and has super powers.
The gates to the shrine. Now that is planning in design.
Clearly, people have become far too good at skill testers in Japan, so they had to level them up.
Ikubukuro. This building makes me think of water tanks.
This is nerd paradise. Animate headquarters.
The Sunshine 60 building. Yet another popularly-destroyed landmark.
Delicious delicious Obento.
Hakone. Hakone is known for its hotsprings. I was more interested in awesome dilapidated abandoned buildings.
From a children's playground. It looks more like some sort of torture device.
Pay close attention to the poles. I can't decide if they're happy or horrified.
This picture surpasses postcard status and moves into springwater ad territory.
This picture speaks for itself.
Squid. In Summer, it's traditional to barbeque it.
This vending machine had kitkats in a jar, as well as ramen and oden in a can.
A secluded little hillside shrine in Hakone.
An incredibly awesome gutted and abandoned house near the hillside shrine. Seemed like the sort of place where monsters ought to have been lurking.
Owakudani. 1000m above sea level.
Owakudani is quite picturesque.
Owakudani is famous for its volcanic hot springs. It smelt of eggs, possibly because of the sulphur, but also possibly because they cooked eggs in the hotsprings which are at about 80 degrees Celsius.
The famous black eggs cooked in the springs. Apparently eating one is supposed to give you seven years of longevity.
That's one way to keep Ramune cool.
Inokashira Park. After living in a dustbowl with water restrictions for so long, fountains have come to fascinate me.
Indeed, these are romantic lake boat rides. Once again, art imitates life.
Service station. The gasoline comes from the roof.
Ueno Park. It is a park, alright, but mostly made of concrete. Still very interesting and beautiful, though.
The polar bears in Ueno Zoo.
If you're going to have a lake of lilies, it better damn well be a big one.
This is a LOLcat waiting to happen.
Rhino, or as the adorable little kid next to me kept yelling out 'Sai'!
A shrine to the god of glasses.
Japanese baseball pratice. Baseball is popular enough over there to get its own word: 'yakyuu'. These guys, um, weren't very good. The pitches looked more like cricket pitches. But they were very positive! Lots of 'try hards' and 'nice catch's going around. Their playing might have been lacklustre, but their spirits were indominatable. They will surely go to the Nationals.
Another delicious crepe. Yes, there is chocolate cake in there.
Replica Speed Racer car! It continues to amaze me how the Wachoski Brothers took such a terrible show and made such an awesome movie.
Unexpectedly, at the top of the Sunshine-60 building there was a Naruto exhibit. Apologies for the blurriness of the picture, I think the combination of sugar and excitement got to me.
The exhibit came with lots of eye-popping original artwork. You can't go wrong with ninjas.
Oh yeah, besides the Naruto exhibit there was a pretty amazing view from the top of the Sunshine 60 as well. Night pictures are hard to take, so here's the best one. It utterly fails at conveying the sheer size of Tokyo's sea of lights.
Surprise goodbye visit to Akihabara! THE OFFICIAL KAIYODO STORE. The all caps is warranted. Kaiyodo is well known for making high-quality figurines.
Could not have 100 Japan Photos without including Evangelion somewhere. Yes, it's still huge over there, albeit mostly in Pachinko Parlours.
So that's 100 Photos of Japan. Overall conclusion: Japan is AWESOME.