Tokyo Kills Me: Fall, 2017

Tokyo Kills Me: Fall, 2017. Snapshots from daily life in The Big Sushi.

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Japan Photo Drift: Niigata Snow Country

Niigata Dec. '14

Yukiguni “Snow Country”

Tokyo may be generally mild, dry, and sunny in winter, but it comes at a cost to its neighbours: much of the snow that crosses from continental Asia bumps up against the mountains of central Honshu and dump their burden on the Sea of Japan side of the island. Niigata, where R. is from, lies within this yuki guni,”snow country.” In fact, the novel Snow Country by KAWABATA Yasunari is set in the mountain resort area of Yuzawa. Each New Year, R. and I pass through on our way by Shinkansen to coastal Niigata. The change from the balmy Kanto plain to yukiguni is always dramatic as the shinkansen exits a tunnel from Kanto and enters mountainous Gunma prefecture. The photos taken from the train are of Gunma and Niigata, both coming from and returning to Tokyo.

This year, 2014, Niigata has had a particularly hard spell of snowfall. In fact, the day after we arrived blizzard conditions kept us holed up for most of the day at the home of R.’s parents. We did manage a walk later in the day, however, and these are the town and castle pictures in this set.

Continue reading “Japan Photo Drift: Niigata Snow Country”

Tokyo Photo: Takadanobaba Station, Morning Commute

Because of the cold, wintry weather, the morning commute has been even more medokusai, troublesome, than usual. Here are scenes of the transfer from Seibu Shinjuku Line to Yamanote Line on Monday, February 17, 2014. As you can see in the last picture, I sought refuge in the station’s Starbucks. I wasn’t the only one…

Takadanobaba Station Continue reading “Tokyo Photo: Takadanobaba Station, Morning Commute”

Shinjuku Drift: Shinjuku Station “A perfect storm of busy-ness”

Shinjuku Station-5713If Tokyo is a collection of Edo-era villages held together by a web of rail lines — which it is — then train stations are the village centers, the common, the place everyone goes sooner or later and around which daily live revolves.

And of all the stations in the city, Shinjuku Station is the one by which all others in Tokyo, in Japan, in the world, compare themselves – and come up wanting. Continue reading “Shinjuku Drift: Shinjuku Station “A perfect storm of busy-ness””

Shinjuku Drift: Trailer

 Here you go, in anticipation of the next instalment of Shinjuku Drift, I offer you Stainless – Shinjuku, a video by Adam Magyar recently uploaded to vimeo.

I’ve watched parts of this a few times now, and still haven’t figured out how he put it together. Stills superimposed over video footage? Is that even a thing?

Tokyo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan

Hidawasan, Oct 2013

One of the best things about living in Nishi Tokyo is just how easy it is to get OUT of Nishi Tokyo when the mood strikes. Sure, Monday to Friday R. and I have longish commutes by, say, Toronto standards: one and a half hours each way to our jobs in The Big Sushi core, if I take the more leisurely walking route from the station to school. Still, by Tokyo standards, that ain’t bad. Not good, maybe, but not the tsukin jigoku commuting hell some riders apparently face on a daily basis.

Still, on the weekends, we can choose between a trip to the cinemas and museums in the city centre or, for about the same amount of travel time, in under an hour in some cases, we can be in the hills outside of town, communing with deer, bear, monkeys, and — if you happen to believe in such things — tengu and kappa.

Last weekend, the first with decent, sub-30 temps we’ve been free since coming back to the Big Sushi, we turned our backs on the usual commute and went west instead of east and enjoyed a day in the hills of Chichibu, in neighbouring Saitama prefecture.

Let’s hope it’s the start of a great hiking season… Continue reading “Tokyo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan”