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I am living in Japan and want to share what I am seeing, doing and thinking about.

Jiyugaoka, Tokyo.  This restaurant is situated on the third floor, with access gained by first passing through a similarly curated furniture store. The food was excellent, but the open loft-style layout and brightly coloured furniture made this place shine.
When searching for a restaurant or izakaya (Japanese-style bar) in Japan, the best advice I can give is to look up. Ubiquitous in big cities, you’ll often see eating/drinking establishments stacked on top of each other, with their respective signs jutting out from the building facade. So remember, look up.

Jiyugaoka, Tokyo.  This restaurant is situated on the third floor, with access gained by first passing through a similarly curated furniture store. The food was excellent, but the open loft-style layout and brightly coloured furniture made this place shine.

When searching for a restaurant or izakaya (Japanese-style bar) in Japan, the best advice I can give is to look up. Ubiquitous in big cities, you’ll often see eating/drinking establishments stacked on top of each other, with their respective signs jutting out from the building facade. So remember, look up.

These are a yummy snack that is common in Japanese convenience stores. There are so many different fillings, and it’s always a gamble for me as to which one I get.

おにぎり  onigiri  rice ball

Posted 4 years ago

Osaka, Japan.  Who wouldn’t want to do laundry in a place like this and they also offer fold & deliver services. Japan is all about the details, and a place like this exemplifies that.

Osaka, Japan.  Who wouldn’t want to do laundry in a place like this and they also offer fold & deliver services. Japan is all about the details, and a place like this exemplifies that.

Nara, Japan. This is a famous park where deers are somehow tame, so much so that they’ll literally eat from the palm of your hand. It was pretty incredible to have a deer willingly approach you for food, and some were more hungry than others.

Nara, Japan. This is a famous park where deers are somehow tame, so much so that they’ll literally eat from the palm of your hand. It was pretty incredible to have a deer willingly approach you for food, and some were more hungry than others.

The train unloads in Odawara and begins it’s journey, taking 95  minutes and making 15 stops along the way before reaching its terminus  station, Shinjuku. Inside the train, at Odawara station, the durable  maroon fabric seats gradually fill up as the conductors await its  departure, literally counting down the seconds.Along the route the landscape gradually transforms before my eyes. Just  beyond Odawara, rice plants submerged in water shimmer in the sunlight,  blanketing the furtile ground from the steel tracks to the mountains’  base. The mountains aren’t paricularly tall, but stretch  across the entire window of the train, and looking out the opposing  window confirms this: we’re surrounded by them. Their silhouette is  defined yet they appear hazy when compared to the foreground.Inside the falsely cooled train car, which is one of 15, the view  also changes as we quickly and quietly cover 82.5 kilometers. At stations  close to Odawara passengers alight, but at around the middle of the  journey, the graph flips to a positive influx. The train slowly fills,  and as the seats are occupied once again, passengers stand, gently  swaying with the motion of the carriage. The cars fill up more, until  my only view is the well-tailored pin-stripes pants crotch of the  salaryman in front of me; to his right is a group of high school  boys, with starched white shirts worn under blue blazers with gold buttons marked with their high school insignia and neckties open in haphazard fashion; and on his other side is a young lady wearing a summer floral-print dress, brown gladiator sandals and a droopy straw hat. The one commonality between these seemingly different characters is that their gaze is all focused on their flip cell phones’ screens, typing texts to friends who-knows-where or exploring the Internet for who-knows-what.
Turning to view through the window at my back, I’m treated to yet  another different view. The ricefields have been replaced by two-story  narrow pitched roof houses that are so close together you could share  your bath towel with your neighbour. And these houses are not in the  distance but, just as the green pastures of before did, they abut to the  edge of the train’s right-of-way. However, the density breaks briefly  every few hundred meters for more harvesting. These patches of  farmland host a variety of foods, from leafy vegetables to colourful  fruit trees to the all-familar rice crops. 
As we enter the growing metropolis of Tokyo this landscape densifies again (hard to believe, I know), with buildings of any shape and size that an architect could imagine. The variety is akin to a haphazard line-up of groceries in a cupboard, with no consideration for how these seemingly indifferent objects will aesthetically interact. And despite theoretical failure of this idea, in reality it creates interest in the micro and macro skyline.
Finally, as we cautiously pull into Track 5 at Shinjuku Station, I think of my appreciation for trains. They are fast enough to cover great distances and offer changing landscapes at a rate that defies boredom, yet still slow enough for a gradual adaptation to the culture of the destination. And with that thought, I step out of the train door, being ushered along by the current of commuters, who will now disperse like water flowing from a river to an ocean, throughout the massive megacity.

The train unloads in Odawara and begins it’s journey, taking 95  
minutes and making 15 stops along the way before reaching its terminus  
station, Shinjuku. Inside the train, at Odawara station, the durable  
maroon fabric seats gradually fill up as the conductors await its  
departure, literally counting down the seconds.

Along the route the landscape gradually transforms before my eyes. Just  
beyond Odawara, rice plants submerged in water shimmer in the sunlight,  
blanketing the furtile ground from the steel tracks to the mountains’  
base. The mountains aren’t paricularly tall, but stretch  
across the entire window of the train, and looking out the opposing  
window confirms this: we’re surrounded by them. Their silhouette is  
defined yet they appear hazy when compared to the foreground.

Inside the falsely cooled train car, which is one of 15, the view  
also changes as we quickly and quietly cover 82.5 kilometers. At stations  
close to Odawara passengers alight, but at around the middle of the  
journey, the graph flips to a positive influx. The train slowly fills,  
and as the seats are occupied once again, passengers stand, gently  
swaying with the motion of the carriage. The cars fill up more, until  
my only view is the well-tailored pin-stripes pants crotch of the  
salaryman in front of me; to his right is a group of high school  
boys, with starched white shirts worn under blue blazers with gold buttons marked with their high school insignia and neckties open in haphazard fashion; and on his other side is a young lady wearing a summer floral-print dress, brown gladiator sandals and a droopy straw hat. The one commonality between these seemingly different characters is that their gaze is all focused on their flip cell phones’ screens, typing texts to friends who-knows-where or exploring the Internet for who-knows-what.

Turning to view through the window at my back, I’m treated to yet  
another different view. The ricefields have been replaced by two-story  
narrow pitched roof houses that are so close together you could share  
your bath towel with your neighbour. And these houses are not in the  
distance but, just as the green pastures of before did, they abut to the  
edge of the train’s right-of-way. However, the density breaks briefly  
every few hundred meters for more harvesting. These patches of  
farmland host a variety of foods, from leafy vegetables to colourful  
fruit trees to the all-familar rice crops. 

As we enter the growing metropolis of Tokyo this landscape densifies again (hard to believe, I know), with buildings of any shape and size that an architect could imagine. The variety is akin to a haphazard line-up of groceries in a cupboard, with no consideration for how these seemingly indifferent objects will aesthetically interact. And despite theoretical failure of this idea, in reality it creates interest in the micro and macro skyline.

Finally, as we cautiously pull into Track 5 at Shinjuku Station, I think of my appreciation for trains. They are fast enough to cover great distances and offer changing landscapes at a rate that defies boredom, yet still slow enough for a gradual adaptation to the culture of the destination. And with that thought, I step out of the train door, being ushered along by the current of commuters, who will now disperse like water flowing from a river to an ocean, throughout the massive megacity.

Kyoto, Japan.  Many cities in Japan have rivers flowing through them, including Odawara, and are often a sanctuary for beautiful multi-coloured fish that can be seen swimming through the crystal-clear waters, and beautiful birds like this one.

Kyoto, Japan.  Many cities in Japan have rivers flowing through them, including Odawara, and are often a sanctuary for beautiful multi-coloured fish that can be seen swimming through the crystal-clear waters, and beautiful birds like this one.

Tokyo, Japan. Flea market

Tokyo, Japan. Flea market

Kyoto, Japan. This is not an art gallery. Nor is it a home. It is a clothing store, one which has taken the time, energy and money to curate an art piece to capture the attention of their clientele, who may not have spend 3 minutes in the store. Japan and it’s attention to detail is astounding.

Kyoto, Japan. This is not an art gallery. Nor is it a home. It is a clothing store, one which has taken the time, energy and money to curate an art piece to capture the attention of their clientele, who may not have spend 3 minutes in the store. Japan and it’s attention to detail is astounding.

Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto, Japan. There are so many temples and shrines in Japan, and most are actually quite similar. But its the unique details in each that I find interesting.
In most ancient building construction such as this one, no nails where used as fasteners; the combination of complex carpentry and clever geometry was all that was needed to support the structure. This is a minimal construction method that I find intriguing, and a craft that sadly isn’t around anymore.

Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto, Japan. There are so many temples and shrines in Japan, and most are actually quite similar. But its the unique details in each that I find interesting.

In most ancient building construction such as this one, no nails where used as fasteners; the combination of complex carpentry and clever geometry was all that was needed to support the structure. This is a minimal construction method that I find intriguing, and a craft that sadly isn’t around anymore.