I didn’t get a chance to get a blog out last week. Turned out that my trusty MacBook Pro was feeling quite old and tired and one morning it just wouldn’t start up. And when it finally did it was malfunctioning and doing all sorts of crazy things. I knew this was was coming as there were all sort of little signs of its demise. I have been fairly strict in making regular back ups so nothing was lost in the end. I, like all of you, must have a computer. So I made my way to the local Apple store and ordered a customised 21 inch iMac. The customisation was all about ensuring that the iMac had enough grunt to process my photos effectively in Lightroom and to future-proof it a little. And the customisation meant that I had to wait a week for it to be delivered. It has arrived and let’s just say that we are very happy together. On with the blog.
In my last blog about my 2017 trip to Tokyo, I wrote about the Ghibli Museum and my second visit to that little slice of fun Japanese cinematic culture. You can read about that by clicking here. That little adventure took up my whole morning and part of the afternoon so once I was done I made my way back to my hotel. I dropped off all of the goodies I had purchased at the museum gift store and took myself to one of the hotel bars for a cold beer and to relax for a little spell. I enjoyed and needed these little intermissions to recoup and rest before the next venture. It was still raining quite persistently and of course the humidity rarely let up.
At around 5pm I left my hotel and walked through the rain to the West side of Shinjuku station. It was dusk so the night was just getting started in Shinjuku. Given how hot it was and especially how humid, I had made the decision to travel very light on this night. I only had a very lightweight Crumpler bag on my back. Nothing more than a sack with thin rope that acts both as the carry straps and to draw the top of the bag closed. It is relatively water resistant but I still had my passport and large bank notes in a plastic zip-lock bag inside. I don’t like to have too much cash in my wallet when I pull it out. A couple of spare batteries and a light hand towel for brushing water off my camera or me. And that was it. No camera bag, no spare lenses and no accessories. I carried my camera in my hand the whole night – Fujifilm X-T2 camera with the XF23mmF2 lens. Both of which are a waterproof unit. Perfect given the rain did not let up.
Yesterday I made my way to the suburb of Mitaka – about 30 minute drive from my hotel. I know this because I got a taxi home – more on that later.
I went to the Ghibli Museum. I first came here in 2015 and was amazed by the experience. Well my second time didn’t disappoint at all either. I made my way straight to the Straw Hat Cafe (last time the queue and wait were to big). This whimsical cafe serves meals themed on the animations or match the meals consumed in the animation. I had the Eggs and Bacon In The Castle. As enjoyed in a scene from Howl’s Moving Castle.
I wandered the inside galleries, reading room and of course the gift shop Mamma Aiuto! It was pouring with rain outside but I still made the pilgrimage to the rooftop garden to visit the lone robot from Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
I took a taxi back to my hotel as the rain had set in and I didn’t want to make the 30 minute walk back to the train station. This in itself was great as I got a tour of suburban Tokyo. Marveling at the rows of apartment towers, schools and suburban life in general.
At 5pm I made my way to Shinjuku in the pouring rain and spent a couple of hours shooting street scenes and stopping to eat more amazing Sushi.
Today is my last day in Tokyo. Mixed feeling as I want to see and explore so much more. But I miss home and my little family.
Stay safe and many hugs.
And that’s how I rolled on that last night in Shinjuku. Despite the rain I strolled for hours through the streets around Shinjuku station and in particular the laneways around the Yodobashi Camera stores. I say stores as there are like 11 buildings. I did pay a visit to the Yodobashi Camera actual camera store. Six floors of camera geek heaven. I cannot remember but I am sure I bought some bits and pieces on that night. Nothing big. With the night getting darker lighting was not an issue. The stores and buildings around Shinjuku are all so well lit up to entice shoppers and diners inside. And hundreds of lit up signs hang all over the sides of buildings. Makes for very interesting images to be captured with so much intensity in the background.
From time to time I would stop to step under an awning and wipe the excess water from my camera and to clean the front glass of my lens. Generally I will keep a lens hood on the lens when shooting in the rain to keep drops of water from the front glass. But it was raining so much that is was unavoidable. That night I continued my focus on street photography and photographing interesting people interacting with such a stimulating environment. I felt quite spoilt for choice in this scenario as everyone was finishing work for the day and heading to all the restaurants, small bars, shops or the station itself. I would be in the street, camera ready, no umbrella and people would just walk into my field of view. Everyone else had an umbrella of course and the rain made everything glisten and created reflections on the streets and surfaces of the buildings.
I stopped for a meal at some point and to get out of the rain and rest my tired feet. I went back to the sushi place I had stopped at on my first full day in Tokyo. Kizuna Sushi. I sat at the sushi bar again so I could watch the chefs making the fresh sushi. I had a plate with Salmon and Tuna Nigri and also some Tempura vegetables. So amazingly yummy. A couple of tall cold beers helped to wash it all down. Stay tuned for a future blog about my food experiences in Tokyo. I am licking my lips just thinking about it now. Oh I miss Tokyo all the time lately. Back out onto the streets for further exploration of this incredible place. I think that night I took some of my favourite photos from that trip. I was in the zone and unhindered as a result of my decision not to carry much at all. It was just me and my camera standing in the rain drawing looks from the locals. Big guy. Ginger beard. I reached a point where I was ready to retire for the night. There is nothing quite like Shinjuku at night. G