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Akihabara: Electric Town

With beginnings as a market place for electronics after Word War II today Akihabara is known as hotspot for anime and gaming culture around the world, here you’ll find five story high Sega arcades, as well as gaming stores which still sell Super Nintendo consoles and comic book shops with every anime figure in existence for display. You wander through streets with shining towers and large advertisements of virtual characters, while girls dressed as Anime figures invite you to themed restaurants. For relaxing you can also go to one of the cat cafes, where you can drink your Matcha coffee and play with pets. Japanese people though prefer to go to Pachinko places where they gamble for physical prices. Officially gambling is forbidden in Japan, so close to the Pachinko stores there are always small vendors where you can sell your prices and so transform them into cash. Yes it is a weird place and very much corresponds with the picture of weirdness we have of Japan. At the same time it seems unreal like something out of a Blade Runner movie. Though Akihabara certainly doesn’t represent the whole of Japan it is a physical manifestation of it’s modern popular culture and thus should be planned in for your Japan trip.

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Perspectives on Japan

Travelling through Japan one is noticing certain reoccurring shapes and symmetries which are mirrored in nature. Some being more obvious like the traditional roof shapes (pictures 1,2,3), which resemble the most famous mountain of the country Fuji-san, others are hidden and have to be found by the foreign visitor. While in general the Japanese prefer strong lines and square patterns over round ones, the curated gardens feature very often soft and oval shapes making for a relaxing and nice atmosphere (pictures 4,5,6).

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Bicycles of Japan

Sure in terms of bicycles there are far more crazy places in the world like Amsterdam for example, or Kopenhagen or some other places in Asia. But sill Japanese people seem to love their bikes, you see businessmen, older people and teenagers alike riding the streets with style and grace (although being tired sometimes). A collage.

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Kyoto Shrines

The city of Kyoto is well known as the former imperial capital of the country, also titled the thousand-year capital. Also it is a religious epicentre of Japan with over 2,000 places of worship, among them Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Kyoto was on the American target list as a possible detonation site for the first range of atomic bombs which destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but was saved in the last minute by a diplomat who new the city and wanted to save it as a cultural treasure for humanity. If you plan a Japan trip make sure to stop in Kyoto. There is a lot see and if you have time you can easily spend here four or five full days.

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The Art of Sumo

Sumo is a Japanese form of ring fighting, where one massive wrestlers tries to force the other one out of the ring. The fight is part of the Japanese cultural heritage and the Sumo ringers are regarded as stars and national heroes in the country. The Sumo Ring hall of Ryogkoku is commonly understood as the birth place of the sport and is still the most important competition site. Once a year at the day of the Tenno on April 29th the hall is open to the public free of charge. On this day it is possible to watch the most famous Sumo ringers of the country on training. The following pictures were taken in 2016.

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