Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Lost Wandering Tokyo Drifter?

How is everyone doing? For the past few months or so, I've been stuck working from home, and apart from the occasional errands, I'm just mostly staying at home. I realized I've been away here for too long, so I thought, why not go back into writing? Yes, sorry I took so long. So here it is. Remembering the time last year when I had that week in Japan... In pictures.

Shibuya Crossing. My idea of organized chaos. It begins when the lights turn green.

Last July 2019, I was fortunate to have been given a week long assignment to Tokyo. I got introduced to a new project and it entailed some travel, albeit just a short one. We were expecting to be doing a lot of overtime, but luckily, we had the luxury of being able to have some decent time after work. And that's when the sightseeing happens. A different city every night, anyone?

First Stop? Akihabara. Yodabashi here is a massive department store that has all the cool electronic stuff geeks can ever dream of. Their selection is among the most impressive I've ever seen.

After dropping the bags at the hotel, my companion/coworker/Japan guide and I went to geek paradise- the streets of Akihabara to enjoy the sights and the food.

The week went by like this- we work on the day, then leave by five or six in the evening to drop our bags at the hotel. After which we head out to have dinner- at a different city. Travel time? Twenty minutes? Half an hour tops. total distance? 10 kilometers at least. The wonders of a proper modern subway system.

A scene in Roppongi. I like how organized the streets are. Given, the area is one of those adult themed entertainment places, but during the day the whole place is organized. Even if there's an ongoing construction there's no major inconvenience.

Shibuya to me was somewhat surreal. I've seen it in pictures, movies, and anime, but I've never imagined I'd ever find myself there among the crowd. Shibuya crossing was especially captivating to me. I've seen it on TV but it's even more amazing when you're in the middle of it all.

Hachiko. No visit to Shibuya is ever complete without visiting this iconic location. This what a lot of people use as a meeting place too. There are actually people lining up to take pictures of it. Yes, I was not above that.

Organized Chaos. Despite the crowd going to different directions, I haven't seen people bumping into others here.

I like how people here are considerate and disciplined. I haven't seen a single jaywalker while walking around here.

Street-side Vending!  I know it's a common sight elsewhere, but in Tokyo it was especially prevalent. Population-dense areas such as Roppongi where we stayed had these almost in every alley and backstreet.

Enjoying The Lights. Even at night the streets come alive! There were some questionable looking characters here and there, but hey, the area has lots of foreigners. We ourselves probably looked iffy to some.

Buskers. In Akihabara you get to see street musicians performing here and there. Some of them could probably hit it big someday. What they're doing isn't easy, but they give life to the busy streets when walkways become a concert stage.

The Path Of Light. Seeing some Sci-Fi vibes in this elevated walkway.

On some nights, I'm not sure on which city I'm in. I just follow my guide believing we'll get where we want to be. We did stray a bit but we weren't too lost.

The Unicorn Awakened. Japan is rich in tradition and culture. It's also home of Anime and the Gundam franchise. Seeing this in real life I was geeking out way more than I ever had most of my life. I never imagined I'd get to see this life-sized replica in my lifetime. Yes I'm a fan of Mobile Suits-- er, that's "giant robots" for the uninitiated.

The Walk To The Rainbow Bridge. At the distance is the Rainbow Bridge, named as such for its rainbow colors. At the time though, it was just plain white. No matter, there are lots of other sights apart from it.

The Statue Of Liberty. Did you know there's a shortcut to New York in Odaiba? Okay, not really. They have a replica though. It's still a beauty to behold and it's relatively nearer.

Vending Machines Everywhere! Fancy some refreshments in the middle of the night?

The Road Is Wide, But Not A Car In Sight. Okay, not really a road, more like a wide walkway. And it's teeming with interesting shops.

Here I met an old friend. A familiar face... On a yellow lighted sign board. Hello Genki Sushi! Genki Sushi here is way better by the way. Twice the food for the price you pay.

A Glimpse Of Roppongi Hills. Despite some questionable characters here and there I came across, it still felt generally safe strolling here. 

...Then came the day of our flight back. Honestly I was kind of bummed out because I haven't seen enough of the place. But all wasn't lost. We woke up fairly early and went on a quick jaunt... To Asakusa. Basically we traveled 10 kilometers from the hotel for breakfast.

Last Day? Afternoon Flight? Why not travel to have breakfast ten kilometers away? I particularly enjoyed that day when we got to have breakfast... In Starbucks... At Asakusa.

Senso-ji Temple Entrance. If that humungous lantern doesn't scream interesting things to pique one's interest, I don't know what will.

The Sky Tree Beyond. This temple complex has more than one entrance. This one shows the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower at the distance with the top fading in the clouds.

Shops And Souvenirs. I got to buy some goodies at one of the souvenirs in the temple complex.

The Main Temple. The place is just teeming with visitors. Too bad no picture-taking is allowed inside.

I wonder where they get them big lanterns. I want one too. :)

Beside the temple is that pagoda. Looking back, why in the world did I go there? Oh yeah, tired feet.

Koi In The Pond.Sorry, pagoda. These beauties are more interesting to me.

The water in the koi pond comes from this stream. My attempt to capture motion.
Thank goodness for puny tabletop tripods

Heading Back. It's crowded and somehat confusing to be in the middle of this place.

They came off somewhat like they were sizing me up to pick a fight. I've been watching too much shonen anime. Actually they're rickshaw pullers and they give tours around the place. And they were nice. They got me intimidated for a second though.

Rickshaw Parking. Care for a tour around the place?

Here we see a rickshaw getting off a bus. Okay, not really. I would want to have that tour next time.

This time last year was certainly interesting. It's almost silly that I find myself reminiscing over something as recent as last year. Then again things have become different now. Yet I still believe that this pandemic these days that's wreaking havoc in our lives, this too shall pass. Happier days will come when we can once more go out to wander.

Until then, stay home and stay safe everyone!

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