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)
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
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
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.
See more snaps at Tokyo Kills Me: Photos
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”
Northwest of Shinjuku Station towers “Tokyo the International City.”
Here, starting in the 1970s and growing along with the infamous Bubble Economy of the 1980s, a former working class neighbourhood and student ghetto were razed to make way for a new generation of skyscrapers and international hotels.
Not everyone likes what’s happened to the old neighbourhood. Keizo Hino describes the area in his story, “Jacob’s Tokyo Ladder:” Continue reading “Tokyo Photo Gallery: Shinjuku’s Skyscraper District”
“Japan’s largest urban redevelopment project.”
A “vertical garden city” for the people, or gated community of 1%ers? Still not clear on this myself. Maybe a bit of both? Mori Tower stands as the centrepiece of the complex, 54 floors of mostly office space with top-shelf tenants including Apple, Barclays Bank, Google, Lenovo, Nokia, and The Pokemon Company. True, Mori Art Museum and Skyview is open to the public, but access is by way of a separate entrance. Also true there are a variety of facilities around the base of the tower, including shops and restaurants, a movie theatre, a stroll garden, and event space, again all open to the public – though separated from the surrounding neighbourhood by walls breached in a couple of places by staircases and the glass, guard-tower-like Metro Hat.
Continue reading “Tokyo Photo Gallery: Roppongi Hills”