Farewell Japan, Hello Florida!

March 30, 2009

The view you see above is the one I saw every day for the past 4 years.  It was the view from my 11th floor Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan apartment.  It was a view I paid a lot to have.  To me, it was totally worth it.  It was the last of many places I called home while spending the past 9 years abroad in Asia.  I first lived in Pusan, South Korea.  After 3 years in various cities in that country, and several trips to southeast Asia, I took a 2 month pilgrimage in New Zealand before settling on my final Asian destination:  Japan.  That country was my home for the last 6 years, a period of time so long I came to believe I never actually had any other home and it was perfectly normal for me to be living in a place where I could not read any sign nor talk to any person.  Though I thought it was forever, like all things, it was impermanent and lo, I have returned to Florida and my mind is still processing everything from my decade abroad.

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Daily Photo: Creepy Shibuya Dude

February 10, 2009

I now have ample time with nothing to do on Tuesday afternoons in the Shibuya area.  Naturally I carry my trusty Nikon D80 (edit:  Nikon D300 from now on!) with me on these occasions.  As I walked around a corner and onto the main street leading toward the Hachiko area of Shibuya Station, from afar I noticed someone gesturing peculiarly to someone else.  I got a bit closer and saw that it was a rather creepy looking punter, but with an innocent air about him, trying to convince a woman of Buddha knows what.

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Daily Photo: Winter Picnic in Shinjuku Gyoen

January 28, 2009

I cannot say how many times I have visited Shinjuku Gyoen in 6 years of living in Shinjuku, t least 20.  I’ve visited it in all seasons.  Obviously the busiest time is hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season and the autumn foliage season.  However, my personal favorite time may be in January, when even on a Saturday the park is largely empty and I can wonder about its trees and fields of dead grass unhindered by distractions.  I have fond memories of other January visits.  One was the last time I saw a friend and co-worker.  And now, this final January visit, will also be my last visit ever to the park.  It’s my favorite park in all of Tokyo by far and one of the best things about living in Shinjuku (though I wish Shinjuku Ward residents could get in for free).  

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Candle Night at Kandagawa

January 19, 2009

Aya and I happened to be in the Nihonbashi area for a festival, so only by chance did we come across Candle Night at Kandagawa.  This was 700 candles floating in cut off 2-liter plastic bottles all put on display by university students to promote environmental awareness (the irony of using so much plastic is not lost on me).  We passed by while it was still a bit light out and they were setting up.  We were given a flyer and told to be sure and come back after dark.

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Faces of Tokyo Series: Coming of Age Day at Meiji Jingu

January 15, 2009

A flickr friend gave me the heads up about the good photography opportunities at Meiji Jingu Shrine on Coming of Age Day, or Seijin in Japanese.  It was also a chance for me to finally meet that flickr friend, Vladimir Zakharov, whose photography I have been a fan of for some time.  I of course assumed there would be a good number of other photographers there, as Meiji Jingu is perhaps the most popular shrine for such events in Tokyo.  I had heard that the girls did not mind posing for the cameras as well.  I had no idea how much they did not mind and how much the photographers were willing to give them orders!

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Daily Photo: The Man of Nihonbashi

January 11, 2009

I met this man at the Toshi no Ichi festival in Nihonbashi.  His hat obviously made him stand out.  He seemed to be the Man of the area, down with everyone, chatting to the festival organizers, and providing the biggest smile of any on-looker.  He could speak a bit of English so we chatted for awhile as well and he gladly accepted my portrait request.

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Daily Photo: Amazing Parasol Ladies

December 29, 2008

The performance by these two ladies was just amazing and unbelievable to the eyes.  If I saw it on TV I would not believe it was real.  Even in person what they did seemed to defy physics.  In this photo you can see them “simply” tossing a ball between their spinning parasols at a festival near Nihombashi.  They also spun a tea cup and a large wooden, square bowl.  I will post a full photo gallery of their amazing feats in the near future.   [Read more]

Daily Photo: Aya in Ginza on Christmas Day 2008

December 25, 2008

Aya and I spent Christmas afternoon leisurely walking around Ginza, Tokyo because, for some reason, I feel that area of Tokyo has the most Christmas spirit kind of feeling.  Maybe it’s just all the shopping done in the city, or how clean and open it is compared to other wards of Tokyo.  Regardless, it was a nice place to spend this Christmas afternoon.  The glass building on the immediate left houses Hermes.  

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