Tokyo High City and Low: Shinjuku Photo Gallery

“There’s an anything goes feeling to the place.”

West Shinjuku
West Shinjuku

Shinjuku is a micro-cosm of the city as a whole. A circumnavigation of Shinjuku Station reveals to the visitor Tokyo high city and low, from Asia’s largest blue-light district to the international architecture of the Skyscraper District, the unique six-block warren of hipster dive bars that is Golden Gai, Shinto shrines and shopping areas, and more. This photo gallery, made up of images taken over 13+ years of my time in Shinjuku, complements the visitor’s guide I recently posted, Tokyo High City and Low.

Shinjuku Station and Area   “A perfect storm of busy-ness”

 

Continue reading “Tokyo High City and Low: Shinjuku Photo Gallery”

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”

Tokyo Photo Walk: Golden Gai

Friday Night, Golden Gai

Friday night photo walk, Golden Gai

Another Friday, another trip to Golden Gai. Not that I’m complaining. It’s actually great to have such an interesting part of Tokyo on my commute line. No doubt the area is changing, and not wholly for the good: last night, for the first time, a tout hit me up within Golden Gai itself – albeit near one of the entrances:

“Good evening sir! We have a new international bar. ‘Happy Endings.'”

Hopefully this won’t become the new norm, as it has in Kabukicho and Roppongi. Continue reading “Tokyo Photo Walk: Golden Gai”

Extreme Weather Update: Snow and Rain in Tokyo February 14 – 15

Outside Tokyo Midtown
Outside Tokyo Midtown

Another weekend spent at home. Apparently, about 10cm of snow fell yesterday, though the wind blowing it into banks and drifts made it seem like more. This weekend’s wet, heavy flakes also had more… substance than last weekend’s big, fluffy white stuff.

So, not as much as last weekend, but still more than enough to have an impact on life in The City: our commuter line is running at reduced service; others such as the Chuo line were shut down entirely for at least part of the day.

Word is, today is warmer (we have yet to set foot out of doors), but it stayed cloudy and even the rain that fell through the morning failed to melt last night’s accumulation. Now, as evening comes on, it’s still a mess outside – slow turned to slush. looks like tomorrow will be another stay-at-home day…

By the way, I took the photo above last night, around eight o’clock or so, outside Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi. For more, better pictures of storm scenes around town, check out Tokyobling’s blog post ‘Second Storm Over Tokyo’.