Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Fall in Kamakura

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
Fall in Kamakura

Fall colours at the lower gardens of Hase temple in Kamakura, Japan.  The Japanese really have beautiful gardens, and they come to life during the fall/winter seasons when the leaves turn spectacular colours.

Tsukiji Fish Market

Monday, March 8th, 2010
Tsukiji Fish Market

The Tsukiji fish market is one of the busiest and chaotic places I’ve ever been.  Not knowing the language, and it not being the most tourist-friendly place (i.e. no signs), I was left to wander the market and try to figure it out on my own. I have to admit, it felt like I was walking through the back door of some large operation, not sure if I was in the right place or not.

The place struck me as less of an actual market and more of a distribution hub where major resellers get their daily fish.  The quantity of fish that moves through this place is simply incredible.  I was there a little late, but you can easily tell how this is the world’s largest fish market.  The market consists of many small cells dedicated to the various stores, restaurants, etc. that have some form of daily business concern here.  Each cell would be essentially their store or hub of buying/selling/processing seafood.  I found the majority of these cells to be more like work spaces than a place one could actually buy their offerings, but perhaps this is due to my lack of fluency in Japanese and not being able to read their signs.  The impression I got, however, was that most of these people were rushing to get fish packed and shipped, than trying to hock it to passers by (which were few).

In the photo above, workers are cutting frozen tuna into more manageable pieces to be sold for sushi, I’m assuming.  I unfortunately missed the tuna auction that occurs daily at 5:30am, but was lucky to find some frozen tuna still in the area.  I think most of the tuna had been processed and shipped to stores hours before I got there (around 10:00am–I got a little lost finding the place).  The tuna are frozen solid, and are essentially large blocks of ice.  The process seems to be to cut the tuna into quarters using the bandsaw, and then the bones are hacked out using an axe (which is what the man in the red shirt is doing).  Fresh tuna (which I couldn’t find anywhere) are cut using long knives (almost like swords).  I would have liked to have seen this, but either I couldn’t find it or I was too late and missed it.

J-Pop Tees

Thursday, March 4th, 2010
J-Pop Tees

These T shirts were on sale in the Harajuku area of Tokyo.  This area was made famous by Gwen Stefani’s hit song Harajuku Girls, depicting the ultra-trendy and unique J-pop culture.  Bright colours, trendy phrases, coloured hair, tattoos and piercings are just some of the fashion statements common around here.  Although I didn’t spend much time here, I’m sure this is a very dynamic area, with trends coming and going faster than any other part of the world.

Looking at this photo, I notice what looks like a shiny speed skating uniform (bottom right), a couple of confused barnyard cannibals (left), and a shirt perfect for Rupert Murdoch. 🙂

Nakamise Dori

Monday, March 1st, 2010
Nakamise Dori

Nakamise Dori is a pedestrian lane that leads up to Sonsoji Temple in the neighborhood of Asakusa, Tokyo.  The lane is filled with shops selling souvenirs and traditional trinkets and foods/candies.  On this day, the place was packed as it was such a beautiful fall day.

Interestingly enough, this location had the highest number of non-Asian tourists that I found in my stay in Tokyo.

Under Umbrellas

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Under Umbrellas

Rushing through the rain, with heads held low under umbrellas, we sometimes miss the obvious.

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.