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Tokyo After Dusk

After the sun sets and the electric lights turn on the city of Tokyo changes its form. While during the day the seemingly endless sea of concrete and glass is roamed by people it gets surprisingly quiet by night. Unlike New York or other so called world capitals Tokyo generally sleeps at night. Japanese people work a lot and additional office hours are common, so sleep is valued highly. Hard to belief but even the sprawling subway system is shutting down service for night time, so it can be cleaned and maintained for the upcoming day. Of course there are exceptions as no city with the size and proportions of Tokyo can truly go to bed. Like in a fever dream people continue playing and gambling in places like the entertainment district Akihabara or go to Izakayas, a kind of Japanese pub, to meet people, eat and drink. And of course there are the lights illuminating the allies and streets of Tokyo, bringing day into the night.

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Tokyo 2

The inherent beauty of Japan is how it first seems to contradict itself constantly but the more you get to know the country and its people it shapes into a whole and harmonious picture. Why are the streets so clean you may wonder yet there is no concept of public bins. Well people don’t really produce waste on the go and if they do they take it with them because it ain’t the business of the public. There is a strong idea of the collective, yet there is enough place for individuality and creative expression. Most and foremost Japanese culture is both strongly rooted in the past but also very forward looking. This may seem like the biggest contradiction of them all, but trust me it all makes sense when travelling this intriguing and fascinating country and getting to know it’s many inhabitants.

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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.

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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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Land of the Rising Sun

It’s the time of the year when you look back and appreciate. Personally the highlight of 2016 for me was a backpacking trip to the far east together with friends. I do my share of travelling especially in Europe as I work in tourism, but Japan was truly something else.

It is a fascinating country with a unique and foreign, yet familiar culture. We all know Japanese animes, videogames and films. They portrait a very busy and modern country, yet so rich in culture and history. What struck me the most was the friendly and welcoming nature of the Japanese. At the same time the social rules here are very different and one would certainly need more time to understand the inner workings of this society. So I am aware of the snapshot perspective I got. It’s a foreigners view for sure. Nonetheless I was eager to capture the spirit of what I was seeing; the magnificent  temple architecture, marvellous nature and last but not least the people of Japan themselves.

This one is just the first part of a longer series which will stretch into 2017, possibly over the whole winter. It takes some time to curate these and make them online-ready. So come back from time to time and dive in with me into the far east.

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