Hello, Tokyo. Nice to see you again. こんにちは東京。久しぶりですね。
Ok, first off, I’m a bit embarrassed about how long it’s been since my last post. I’ve said it before (and will likely say it again), I can’t believe how time just seems to get away from you when you’re not paying attention.
Before the summer break, I realized it had been seven years since visiting Tokyo. This, despite several trips a year back to Japan. Normally I go back to visit friends in Kansai. I figured it was time to reacquaint myself with the megalopolis.
If you’ve been to Tokyo in the summertime, you know it’s hot and humid. Not as humid as Hong Kong, but the temperature still gets right up there in the low-to-mid thirties. A big difference from the December/January temps that I experienced previously. Also, when you visit Japan around Christmas/ New Year, even in a city like Tokyo, places tend to close down and people head back to home towns for nenmatsu (year end). Not so at the tail-end of August. The place is jumping. That being said, despite the size of the populace, it feels less claustrophobic than Hong Kong. A large part of it has to do with the attitudes of the people (which I won’t bother to rant about here) but also, there is room to spread out. Even walking in areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku, the crush of people still feels more manageable. Or it could be all in my head.
The amazing thing about Tokyo is how much the city has to offer. There’s no shortage of things to see and do for a week or ten-day trip. I made an effort to see the many galleries and museums that I missed out on last time because they were closed for the holidays. Even then, I didn’t come close to seeing all the museums and galleries in Tokyo. Sadly, a few of the ones I wanted to visit were closed for renovations, most notably the Bridgestone Museum of Art (closed “for several years”) and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography (closed until late 2016). Of the ones I did see, my recommendations would be the following:
If you’re a book lover, you must also head to Jimbocho. Granted, most of the shops specialize in Japanese books but there are a few that have great English language selections. Don’t be put off by Japanese books. A lot of the antique ones are fantastic for the artwork and the calligraphy alone. If you’re looking for photobooks, try Komiya. A great many hard to find first editions were on display when I was there.
I could go on. There would certainly be enough minutia for several more paragraphs, but I’ll let the photos continue the explanation. I’ll try to have something else before too long.