The Hues of Tokyo22 May 2015
After I got home, however, I was a little overwhelmed by all of my pictures. I was challenged to find a cohesive way to write about everything I saw and experienced without leaving out the small but touching moments. How could I capture all the nuances of this massive city?
That's when I decided to let color lead my narrative.
Black & White
In the Asakusa district you can find Sensō-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo. At this ancient Buddhist temple you can come and get your fortune told by simple means; for just 100 yen (about 1 USD) you shake a small canister which then distributes a stick with a number on it. Open the drawer with the corresponding number and receive your fortune. Don't worry, there's English on the back!
If you receive a good fortune (which I did!) hold on to the paper. If not, take it to the temple and tie it in a knot with the other bad fortunes.
Tokyo at night is even more spectacular than the day. The upscale shopping area of Ginza especially sparkled with lights.
While everyone back home was excited about finally being able to get their pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, I was in Harajuku enjoying a pumpkin spiced crepe. Other than crepes, this district of Tokyo is famous for street style among Japanese youth. From gothic lolita to cosplay to rockabilly, you can see it all on Takeshita Street.
Next to the iconic Tokyo Tower is Zojo-ji. This temple is famous for being the burial ground of many members of the Tokugawa clan, one of the most powerful families in Japanese history. Most striking I found were these little shrines to children who had passed away which were eerily adorable.
"How do you call these fish in English?" My host asked.
"No, that's Japanese!"
Every now and then some Japanese slips into English!
These days it's not strange to be familiar with the tastes of exotic fruits from around the world. Our global economy strives to satisfy our ever growing pallets. Persimmons, however, are one Asian fruit that simply haven't made it to America.
That's why when I saw a tree full of rotund, ripe fruits, I had to try one! The texture was a bit similar to a tomato but the taste is sweet and slightly tart.
Internationally, Tokyo is famous for being one of the most densely populated urban spaces in the world and yet you can still find green spaces through out. I love finding little details like this. Kanji and bamboo pair so perfectly.
Summer in the foreground and autumn in the background; I really timed my trip to Japan perfectly to watch the changing of the trees colors. If you're traveling to Japan in Autumn, I would suggest searching online to follow when the maple trees will be turning red.
When my couch surfing host said he wanted to go to an aquarium I wasn't too thrilled. It's not my typical thing but Sunshine Aquarium turned out to be really fun.
The beautiful swarms of tropical fish reminded me of Hawaii. My host was mostly preoccupied with how delicious everything looked!
Another place my host took me to was Akihabara. This district is known for otaku culture, anime, and electronics. He took me to a old school arcade that I never would have found otherwise where we played classic games for cheap. He was impressed by how good I was at Street Fighter!
Coming from Ohio, I never had seafood too often. Once I moved to Hawaii, however, I learned that I loved tuna so when I visited Tokyo I had to go to the famous Tsukiji fish markets. If you go early in the morning ( like 5 am) you can see them auction off the massive tuna fish. I decided to wait until mid-morning for the tourist crowds to thin out a bit since I was only going there to eat.
Sit down at a food stall for sashimi over rice, tea, and miso soup for a cheap and delicious meal.
I'm horrible at timing my travels with holidays or festivals. I mean, that is the most expensive time to travel. I was lucky, however, to time up my travels through Japan with shichi-go-san, the yearly tradition of bringing children seven, five, and three years old to Shinto shrines to pray for their well-being.
While wandering Meiji shrine I saw these two adorable girls dressed in traditional kimonos for shichi-go-san. After asking their mother for permission, I snapped this shot.
Which color do you tend to point your camera at?