Tokyo Kills Me

Tokyo Kills Me, circa 2010

Tokyo is the greatest megacity in the world.

This frenetic, superlative Ur-City is the place I have made my home for the last 16 years – a three-year overseas adventure which has become a way of life (sorry, Ma!).

As a writer and especially as a photographer, I find the constant (over-) stimulation a daily source of inspiration. Even after all these years, I start my commute each morning with the thrilling sense of a new adventure about to begin.

Whenever I get a little burned out on daily life here in this overcrowded, hyperactive, workaholic city,  all I need do is turn some random corner, preferably with camera in hand, to discover some fresh new angle or view, or to uncover another ugly or delicious *omoshiroi mono* “interesting object” among the everyday, the overlooked, the quotidian.

Interested? You can check out ongoing photographs of daily life and adventures at [Tokyo Kills Me](https://medium.com/tokyo-kills-me)

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Tokyo Kills Me 2.0: Photos

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

I have always felt that the world is an erotic place… For me cities are enormous bodies of people’s desires. And as I search for my own desires within them, I slice into time, seeing the moment. That’s the kind of camera work I like. — Daido Moriyama

See more photos from Tokyo Kills Me 2.0, circa 2009-2010

 

 

 

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

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

Niigata 雪国 Yukiguni “Snow Country”

Sea of Japan Xoast; Niigata, Japan

Every year, winter storms out of Siberia and mainland Asia, picks up steam as it howls across the Sea of Japan, and crashes onto main-island Honshu, making Japan – literally – the snowiest country on earth. Fortunately for us, Tokyo is in the lee of the “roof of Japan,” mountain ranges which trap the worst of the cold and snow to the windward side. Areas such as Niigata prefecture, on the coastal plain between the Sea of Japan and mountains, are transformed into the 雪国 yukiguni “snow country” made famous in Kawabata’s sparse, bleak-as-winter-snow love story. Just as a point of reference, Niigata City averages 217 cm a year (Tokyo, on the other hand, is a paltry 11cm; my hometown of Toronto comes in at 115cm; my first host city in Japan, Nayoro in central Hokkaido, records a massive 890 cm). Traditionally, houses in snow country have a special door built on the second storey for winter. When I lived on Hokkaido, I had to shovel off the roof to avoid having our cabin crushed under the weight of snow; every winter a few homeowners disappear while shoveling roofs, only to re-appear in spring as the snowdrifts melt away.

“The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country.” – Kawabata, Snow Country (Seidensticker trans.)

Not surprisingly, until recently this part of Japan was quite isolated. In the 60s and 70s, a major highway and a shinkansen bullet train rail line connected Niigata City, and outlying mountain towns, to Tokyo and the rest of Japan. Niigata is also an important port: until the ship was linked to abductions and drugs and weapons smuggling in the early 2000s, a ferry connected Niigata with North Korea. Another ferry plies the Sea of Japan between Niigata and the once-closed Soviet-era city of Vladivostok – home to the Russian Pacific fleet, if you wanna know. 

Today, R. and I make the trip at least once a year to visit her family in the suburbs, near enough the sea to avoid the worst of the snowfall in the mountainous interior.

“I might as well be going to the ends of the earth” – Matsuo Basho, writing about the neighbouring prefecture of Tohoku

See more pictures on my Niigata gallery at 500px

Buddhist Temple, Kichijoji

Buddhist Temple; Kichijoji, Tokyo Japan

Anyoji Buddhist Temple; Kichijoji, Tokyo Japan

More pictures uploaded to the galleries at 500px: these from photo walks around Kichijoji in the autumn of 2007. The picture above is from a small Buddhist temple tucked away near the top of Sunshine Dori shopping street. Check out this and other pics full-sized at https://500px.com/tokyoaaron/galleries