Cannot believe it has already been close to two months since my last trip to Tokyo. Life is back to normal but I have my photos and these travel journals to remind me of my experiences. I had an incredible time and made the most of being immersed in what I consider such a beauttraveliful country and culture. In this new blog series, I will share with you my travel journal. Several times a day, I would take the time to update my travel journal with notes and thoughts and experiences as they occurred throughout my day. The images I share in these blogs will relate directly to those experiences. When it came to taking photos, I just went with the flow and didn’t put too much pressure on myself. On to the travel journal.
Tuesday 28 May 2019 – Afternoon
Reflecting on the day and I don’t think I mentioned the horrible situation in Tokyo this morning. Some crazed man went on a rampage with two kitchen knives and approached a typical bus stop, only to attack anyone in site! Men, women and children. Apparently and adult and two children died with 16 others injured with knife wounds. It makes me so sad to think of those poor people but especially the children. Ironic that Japan is considered so safe that really, really young primary school children get to school unattended. Their fear must have been extraordinary. The attacker sliced his own throat before police could capture him. There is no known motive at the moment.
My good friend Athol messaged me checking if I was ok. He is always checking up on me and I am so lucky to have such a caring friend. I was blissfully unaware of the incident as I was in Nikko – 2 hours North of Tokyo by train – and had not seen the news. But he is used to my ignorance and I love him for that. So please take a moment to tell your kids or partner or parents or your goofy mate that you love them as there is crazy shit happening everywhere. I used to remind people of that for a long time after Isobel died. I had lost that for a while and am glad to be reminded.
Arrived at my hotel for the last two nights in Tokyo. I walked to it from Asakusa Station – only a couple of hundred meters. I walked right past Senso-Ji too which got me a bit excited to get out and shoot. I checked in and my room is tiny but modern and the television is almost as big as the bed. I dropped my bags in my room and went straight back out again with the Fujifilm X70. It was around 5pm by this stage and I was a little hungry. I walked the outer streets around the temple. I found Orange Street and then onto Hoppy Street – that is their actual names. Orange Street is painted orange and all the stores and street signs have orange themes. Hoppy Street is full of tiny little bars and eateries that spill out onto the street day and night. Hoppy for the beer hops apparently. Along the way there was a lady advertising an owl cafe. And she had an owl just sitting there on a stand in the middle of the street. I got a couple of shots of that. Pretty cool.
I took a couple of turns off Hoppy Street and came across this small but busy restaurant. This was not your average tourist spot. This was back alley stuff. I would not have even foudn it had not someone opened the door as I passed by. From the outside it looked like nothing to do with food. But the yellow glow drew me inside. As I opened the door the whole restaurant stopped, went silent and looked up at me. I am a big guy, huge by Japanese standards and I have a big ginger beard. I kind of stand out. They quickly ignored me. The restaurant probably sat 20 people tops. And some were smoking and all were drinking and eating too. I sat at a shared table and the waitress was kind enough to mention no English menu. I pointed at three pictures for her on the Japanese menu – thank God for pictures. I ordered a side of potato salad and a pork cutlet with a draft beer. Beer is universal. Such an amazing meal. It also came with a bowl of miso soup with clams. Clams! Mind blown! And the atmosphere was so perfect too. People coming in from work for a quick meal and a beer. Couples sharing a long slow meal. Friends meeting after work. So imersive.
I returned to my hotel for a bath and to chill out for a bit. The bathing is a nice part of travel. Soaking the bones. I decided I wanted to go back out again to get some night shots around the temple when there was hardly any people around. Fortunately, it was only one hundred meters from my hotel. So convenient. I captured some great shots around Senso-Ji. The contrast of the dark night sky and the dark red lit up temple buildings was just perfect. And at this time of night there were hardly any people around – unlike the madeness that Senso Ji attracts during the day. On this occassion I took out the Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mmF2 lens. The Fujifilm X-T3 has far better low-light performance compared to the X70.
The streets around Senso-Ji were so interesting with a blend of rich traditional architecture, historical temple buildings and beautiful gardens. Plus, it had drizzled just a little and the streets had that perfect reflective shene. I was out and about for another hour or two so before tiredness led me back to my room for a much needed sleep.