Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Tokyo Kills me, 2008

Ongoing Updates (5.26.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

Check out the most recent pictures posted, circa 2007-2008, at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

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Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

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Ongoing Updates (5.23.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

See more at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Tokyo Kills Me: Photos

Ongoing Updates (5.20.18). Snapshots from daily life in and around Tokyo, a.k.a. “The Big Sushi,” at the end of the second millennium and the start of the third.

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See more snaps at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos 

Shinjuku North Side Drift: Red Lights to Skyscrapers

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Shinjuku North Side: Kabukicho; Golden Gai; Hanazono Shrine; Skyscraper District

Almost two decades ago, I landed in Japan on what was to be a three-year overseas adventure from my home in Canada. I’m still here, but that’s another story…. Those first days in-country, while my then-partner — I’ll call her Achan — attended orientation training at the Keio Park Plaza hotel before being posted to rural Hokkaido to help “internationalize” the countryside (but that’s still another story…) I spun out a jet-lagged fugue through the neon canyonlands and narrow sidestreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighbourhood. You know: the setting for Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Bill Murray? That was me. Minus the hair. And Scarlett Johansson.

After three years Achan returned to her family in suburban Calgary. After another year, in central Hokkaido this time, I relocated to Tokyo for some big-city adventure.

Now, thirteen years later, I live in a comfortable if un-cinematic neighbourhood in west Tokyo. Every day, on the commute, I pass through labyrinthian Shinjuku Station.

“There are eight million stories in the naked city,” to paraphrase The Naked City. And more than three million of them pass through Shinjuku each day. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Shinjuku Station as the“world’s busiest station”. Channel5’s recent documentary “World’s Busiest: Station” gets it right: “a perfect storm of busy-ness.”

Continue reading “Shinjuku North Side Drift: Red Lights to Skyscrapers”

Japan Photo Drift: Ishigaki jima Island

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Ishigaki jima, Yaeyama Islands Japan

My first winter break in Japan seventeen(!) years ago, while all my friends went off to Thailand, I spent a couple of weeks sleeping wild on Okinawa and Iriomote jima in the off season. Trip of a lifetime! One of I’ve written about elsewhere, and may soon also tell here on Big Sushi…

Meantime, in the spring of 2013, I finally made it back to the Yaeyama islands, this time to Ishigaki jima – with a day trip to Taketomi jima. While it was spring this time and not winter, we still hit it in the off season – which is how I like it anyway. Fewer crowds. More unstable = more interesting weather.

I shot most of these pictures with the Olympus E-P1 and – for reasons that escape me now, since I already owned a couple of fine prime lenses – the 14 – 42 kit zoom lens.

Continue reading “Japan Photo Drift: Ishigaki jima Island”

Japan Photo Drift: Hokkaido (Gallery 3 of 3)

Hokkaido

Pictures of Countryside around Biei and Furano, Hokkaido Japan, Summer 2012

… and here it is, the last of three galleries of photos from a trip R. and I took to Hokkaido, including my old JET Programme host town of Biei, in the summer of 2012.

BTW, I’m at work on a personal essay about my time in Hokkaido when I first moved to Japan 16+ (!) years ago for the Transitions Abroad narrative travel writing contest. Look for the story, working title Extreme Japan: slow travel epiphanies from the far ends of Japan, in the TA winners’ circle. Or in the highly unlikely event that I don’t win, here on the pages of Big Sushi, Little Fishes…

Photography Notes: As mentioned previously, I usually set my cameras to shoot RAW + JEPG. It’s easy to messy up settings in the menu of an Olympus PEN camera, however, especially early models, and at some point early on I ended up getting only JPEGS shot through the Grainy Film Art Filter on these shoots (the colour shots were taken with a Canon G9). All the B&W shots in this gallery were taken with the m/Zuiko 45mm 1.8 prime lens.