Skip to content

The Far East

The most astounding thing about the far east as I experienced it in Japan is that it is a busy place with people and cars everywhere you look, but still it is impossibly quite and calm at the same time. There is hardly any shouting on the sidewalks and beeping on the streets. Even cyclists won’t beep when passing by closely, but will rather slow down. There is an important sense of courtesy and carefulness in play here that can seem very foreign to a Westerner. Of course the culture is closely linked to the religions of the region, mostly Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan. So the feeling of quietness and serenity can be best understood in and around religious temples and shrines, which also tend to be beautiful places overall.

test

img_0458

img_7347

img_9552

img_1048

img_7972

img_8468 img_8869

Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the largest cities on earth. It is a megacity in every sense of the word, where you can get easily lost in the masses of people, where motorways pile level upon level and the skyscrapers seem to touch the sky. A marveling sculpture of steel, concrete and glass. Also the place where you get amazing sushi, buy robots and visit cat cafes. Last but not least Tokyo is the home of fourteen million humans. Faces you merely pass by, which tell stories of lives in this strange but enchanting megacity.

test

img_2043

img_2059

img_1617

img_2060

img_7641

img_2155

img_1761

img_2073

Processed with VSCO with b4 preset

img_2085

Holy Deer of Nara

The city of Nara once used to be the proud capital of Japan. It is well known for temples from the 8th century and large Buddha statues. But the most famous sights of Nara are not built of stone or wood but rather of flesh and blood. Among the temples, parks and tourists there are around 1,200 Japanese deer (or sika deer) sleeping, eating and running around. They are all but shy and like to eat corn from the hands of visitors and like to be pet by children. The animals have a symbiotic relationship with people for a long time already and are seen as holy. The legend says that once a mythological god arrived in Nara on a white deer and began to guard the new capital. Since then the animals are regarded as heavenly and are protected by the city and the country.

test

img_1236 img_0780 img_0785 img_0963 img_0883img_0760img_0995img_0911  img_0800  img_0591
img_1279

Streets of Japan

Walking the streets of urban Japan some things strike you immediately. First and foremost it is busy! People everywhere, many in a hurry while walking to the office or buying some quick lunch. There is a constant flow of people and traffic and not just on the main roads. Despite this there is no mess and there are hardly any jams. Of course Japan is known to be very organised, but still it is surprising to see it by yourself. So for example at the metro stations or at the bus stops people are lining up calmly well before the train or bus arrives. Also the streets are incredibly clean, you hardly see any garbage. And this again despite the masses of people and maybe even more surprisingly without there being any public bins.

test


img_0624-1
img_8132
img_8787
img_8153
img_9148
img_9442
img_0382
img_7577
img_0663
img_6955

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.

test

img_7748 img_7828 img_1892 img_1823 img_7917 img_1904 img_7945 img_8363 img_7764

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).

test

img_9342img_0148img_1582img_0200img_0161img_0188