Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tokyo

Wow, time certainly does fly. Here we are in Tokyo, with only a little more than 24 hours left before the end of this little cross Japan voyage of ours. And it looks like our last day in Tokyo will be a pretty mellow one judging by the rain falling outside. I had planned to take the crew out to Akihabara and the Imperial Palace, but we will have to wait and see what the weather does. Regardless, we should be departing the hotel for breakfast and our first stop of the day (a 100 yen shop for umbrellas) around 10:30.

In the meantime, here is a quick run through the last 2 days in Tokyo. After arriving and dropping our bags off at the hotel, we headed right into nearby Ueno park to see how the cherry trees were doing. Of course, Ueno Park is one of the hubs of the homeless community here in Tokyo and there are always some colourful characters about.


As far as the cherry trees go, they were right on the verge of popping. With any luck, they'll be bloomed on Monday when we will take our final walk through the park.


In fact, a few trees did have blossoms out, but nothing as spectacular as what is still to come.


After grabbing a bite to eat at the fantastic kebab stands in Ameyayokocho, we checked in to our hotel and hopped back on the trains, bound for Shibuya. As I expected, everyone was quite impressed with Shibuya crossing and the number of people flowing through the intersection every few minutes.


As usual, there are people hanging around outside of Starbucks right in front of the crossing. This following picture is a shout out to the Japan Window photo blog I have linked on the right. He has taken quite a few pictures of people here.


After bumming around for a bit, we moved on to Shinjuku where we arrived at the Observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in time to see a nice sunset.


And of course, after the sun went down, we were treated to a good night view.


Having brought my tripod along and doing my best to cover reflections with my coat, I managed to get a couple of good shots from up here. Here is a shot of Shinjuku station from the top.


After circling the station a bit and finding things either busy or expensive, we opted to head back to Ueno for dinner where Yoshiko headed back to Utsunomiya for a bit of a break and to write the TOEIC test today. After a tonkatsu dinner, we turned in for the night.

Saturday morning, we had a quick breakfast at a nearby bakery\cafe and took the Ginza line to Asakusa to visit Senso-ji and its shopping street.


At one of the shops, this master was putting together some red bean delicacies by hand.


Many pigeons flutter around on the grounds of the temple, and there are of course the requisite signs warning against feeding them. This one was cute with the pigeon having his own message for would-be feeders.


Outside of the temple is of course the large incense urn where people congregate to rub some of the health-inducing smoke into their bodies.


Along the yatai stands to the left of the temple, I caught this little artisan doing his thing.


As the morning progressed, the crowds grew thicker and our walk back towards the station was significantly more difficult. Here is my uncle fighting the crowds.


We then moved on to Harajuku where I was dismayed to find that the cos-play folks were not putting in an appearance. We did see this guy, rocking out on the side of the street next to his girlfriend.


Unfortunately, the reason for the sparse crowds here became obvious when a police car stopped in front with lights flashing and an officer came by and had the dancing guy and a small band who was playing move along.


He even ticketed the band.


I also managed to get a look at the Free Hug people I'd read about a while back. They just stand there with a sign and hug away, trying to bring a little warmth, in contrast with the police officer who took it away.


And here is an aerial shot of the now nearly deserted area where one of Tokyo's sub-cultures once had a place to hang out. Too bad.


We walked from there down to Omotesando, where I wanted to show the folks the crowds again. It being a Saturday and with nice weather, the people certainly turned out for the occasion.


Still lots of construction going on in the area too.


Since the cos play thing turned into a bit of a bust, we decided to see how Shibuya Crossing was on the weekend... and the answer? BUSY Here is the crew crossing for themselves in the sea of people.


And that was that, after heading back to Ueno and grabbing some grub, we were done for the night.

I got a couple of good night shots of the crossing, a place I had never visited at night.


Got a got shot of our three photographers here...


As I sit here, the rain actually seems to be getting harder, so not sure what's in store for today yet. We shall see.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Daiva said...

I am a friend of Luc's and he gave me the link to your blog so that I could follow his journey in Japan. Your pictures are FANTASTIC. You are a very good photographer and I have had fun checking in on your blog everyday to see what Luc has been up to. GREAT JOB!

Thanks!
Daiva Greenidge

10:40 AM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Thanks Daiva! I've really gotten the hang of the whole photo thing recently and I'm glad others can enjoy the pics as much as I enjoy taking them!

Cheers,
Michel

8:18 PM  

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