Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tokyo Forum, Ginza

It was nearing the end of my trip and after the rainny sumo day i was a little deprest that i was going to be leaving Japan soon. It has to end sometime as money runs out... unfortunatly. I just decided to go out into Tokyo and have a wonder around, not really have a specific place in mind to visit, although i had afew ideas about places i could go.

I ended up at Tokyo Forum a place i had heard about for being great for architecture. The day was gloomy which just added to this overwhelming sence that it was all over... but i still had afew days left! and i was going to make the most of it.

Here are afew shots from that day




the place is mostly used for business meetings, so you see a lot of suited men and women walking around. I actualy tried to get to the upper floors but was told to leave because it was strictly hall rooms only.


i love this huge organic bright wooded wall which spanned the whole side of the building

the cold steel roof structure contrasted with the the wooden side.



business man reads, maybe before he gives a speach in one of the halls, or just reviewing note, or knowing Japan now its probabily just manga ^_-

this was the view from one of the upper floors, which looked towards the imperial palace gardens

going back down, after being asked to leave, in the kindest possiable way!

on the way to the gardens need the fish market, it was getting late and i missed the closing so i just decided to wonder around, and ended up at tokyo tower. I also bumped into a pokemon store

Luca send me a funny Japanese youtube clip of pudding so when i was in the 7eleven i had a quick look around and found something very similar so this shot was just for him LOL, oh and it tasted so good! ;)


one of my only creative shots on here, using the reflection and rotating the imagine to make it seam like the correct view, cliche but hey, its nice to do once in awhile!

wow check out the contrast between the gardens and the city!

i passed this sign every day, named after Tsuchiya an imformous drifter in Japan, the lighting was just amazing and i never once considered to shoot it, till tonight

So once i got back from my mini adventure the house had decided the night before to go for a meal together as it was one of my last nights. We met in Kinshicho and made plans to go eat Okonomiaki a pancake style food which you cook yourself on a grill on the table. After some trouble we found a place, Yuko asked inside a resturant and the people were so kind that they even printed us out a map to find another resturant which was recomended for its Okonomiaki. We joked about the Japanese being too kind and that they even printed the map in colour - at least pront it black and white... too kind! Great way to end the day and forgot that i was soon to be leaving!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sumo event

After telling Yuko my housemate that i was really intrested in going to watching sumo, she so kindly found me a list of events she found from a English magazine. The list had only 3 events, one had already passed, the other was in 3 days and the final one was the retirment cerimony of champion sumo Asashoryu. This was big news in Japan and was all over the media, i watch his retirment speach which resulted in afew tears from him and the crowd.

The magazine said to call and book tickets but i decided just to go to Ryogoku on the day and hope i would be able to get in. The ticket cost only afew thousand yen, and i had a decent view. I actualy really enjoyed the event and if i lived in Japan i would try to make it to afew events a year! I would recomend paying a little more for tickets to get an even better view.

The whole event as just pure entertainment in the nicest form. As i arrived late i caught the end of the intoduction and the first group of fights. Its really nice to see the respect the give each other, but as soon as the fight begins they really do change into a differant animal, focused and ready. Like most sports i think a lot of the techniques are mental. When i used to skateboard, if you believed in yourself you would be able to land the best tricks. Much like sumo i think they really beleive in themselfs and you can see this in the way they fight.

After about an hour a comedy act started between a really small sumo and a larger. It was so funny, i regreat not shooting some video. The were running around the ring, diving over each other and performing silly stunts. One of my favorite was when the smaller guy slide underneath the larger, and stood up to find himself facing the wrong way then turns around to face a huge angry sumo. He had a trick suprise thought slapping his head with a slipper sending the larger crashing to the dusty ring.

After they had a sumo school come to the ring, for again some more comedy. 10year olds VS sumo champions. Staff at the event walked around the ring with a sign asking not to shoot photos so i repected that sign... a little. I had to make one or two frames when it was the whole school VS 3 sumo. After this i decided to leave when the arm wresting event started, as i wanted to make it to the national photography museum. I traveled 20mins to find out that the galleries were closed, i was really pissed off because i wasted 20mins the day before going there to be told it was close. I thought that it was closed for just the day but she meant it was closed for afew weeks while they set up an exhibition. I really should check these things online before i go out!

Anyway here are a few photos from the day, mostly taken with the leica as it was the longest focal length i owned 100mm.



sumo ready to clash! booom then lots of flashes and shouting from the crowd



down and out!


cropped zoom

going downnnnn

readying for the fight

the sumo on the right wont he event! look how strong his stance is! under the fat these guys have some serious muscle and strength!!!



this was about the view i had from my seat

20vs3 who will win!

the battle

After finding out that photography gallery was closed, i used my guide to find the watari museum of contemporary. This took me some time and it was raining really heavy and i had no umberalla, i was getting angry as if it was the guide books fault. The book bascily tells you which station exit to take but not where to go from there, and my map reading is OK but sometimes i do have trouble. Eventualy i found the place and was even more raged that it was such a shit exhibtion, the art looked as thought it was painted my small childrens and some of the pieces just seamed to stupid and childish. As an example one peice had a man with a bears arm and the caption below said "america has the right to bear arms". I found it really crude and obvious. The fact i paid 1000YEN to see the work just raged me even more and i was really tempted to ask for my money back.

on the way to the museum i passed a lexus auto salon and was able to see the £300,000 Lexus supercar LF-A

Here are last few from the day taken in Shibuya in the heavy rain!


here is the leica shot in colour, not sure what to make of the colours from the lens.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Back to Ueno :D

So i went back to Ueno today, this time not for the Zoo but to check out some art and the science museum. I stuck the Leica on, mostly because i knew that in the galleries and museums photography is frownd upon, so i would just shoot when i was walking around. The first place i went to was the gallery of western art just because it was the first you see when as you enter the park. It had some really great work by the masters, my favourite pieces in the gallery were by Monet, a painting which i cannot find now, and regret not taking a photo. There was also work by other famous popular artists Van Goth and Picasso. I spent about an hour inside and quickly rushed to the next which was the nation museum of nature and science.

Here i spend the rest of my day a good 2-3hours, having lunch inside and learning about some of the animals in Japan and around the world. Most i have seen before when i visted places in London. A few things that i liked was to seeing the stomach of a cow, not the pleastest of things to see but still very interesting. I always wondered if 'cows have seven stomachs' was true or just some myth but now i know. Another cool thing inside the museum was a 360cinema. As you entered inside you stood on a transparent bridge inside a globe and projectors somehow manages to produce full 360degree video. The effect was just insane. Although the video's a little boring in places, especially as a lot was Japanese speech. One nice bit was showing the earth forming volcano's which then erupted the lava then poured out from the right side, down underneath us and you can see through the transparent floor, and then splashes up the left side of the globe, really an amazing experience.

Here are the shots of the day, mostly street.


when you shoot into the sun with the Leica you really just understand how well the lens handles light.


as i was walking around i spotted an elderly mans hand in front of me, on closer inspection he had missing finger's something i seen was linked to Japanese mafia 'Yakuza'. This is just speculation, the man did look very old and for all we know it was probably an old war injury but...

People relaxing in the park, the thing i like most about this little scene is the solitude of the people on the benches accept the couple snuggling.


couple view fountain

this miserable old git just sat and watch me taking photos of people passing the fountain, so i stuck my lens in his face, i guess as a way of showing protest - if you have a problem say something

As i neared the middle of the park where the 4 paths create a X-roads there were the same Yo-Yo kids performing their show, so i thought what a perfect opportunity to capture people. This capture is great, just as he throw the yo-yo out i fired the same and you can see just how close these guys were throwing them out into the crowd, i love the look on the girls faces.


I caught sight of an old man who had made his way to the front, he squatted down as not to spoil the view for people behind but as he seamed to watch on i noticed a look in his eye which was just a blank stare. Something must have effected him as to blank out when so much movement and action was happening around him. He seamed like he was homeless so many his worries were effecting him

dog pulls owner to pizza :) this reminded me of home


child sleeps as night draws in on the park

as i was leaving the park crowds gathered and police were controlling the flow of people, i was really interested in what was going and as i was in no rush i decided to hang around to find out. I tired to ask a police man but he spoke little English and my Japanese was too bad to understand him which was a shame. Later i asked a friend i met online who it was and she told me it was Empress Michiko, which is something akin to the Queen of England. I was so lucky to see her and to thing i haven't even seen my own countries queen.

here is a video i tried to shoot, remembering i was using the leica i had to manual focus the whole time which was a pain in the arse but i was able to create a nice ending effect.

portrait artist at work outside Ueno park exit

homeless man eats noodles on the step, look at his finger! eww i only noticed it while editing, but he has a finger growing out of his finger, crazy mutant shit. kinda cool tho i guess its just like having a 6th toe.

i am addicted to shooting crossings with high lighting behind :)

i shot this in black and white but lightroom always converts it back into colour, i really liked this as colour so i kept it.