Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sight and sound

Yesterday Jessica and I rode the Yurikamome driverless bullet train.
I don't have any photos from this ride because I was filming from the "driver's seat". It looked very yesterday's idea of the future, with skyscrapers and a rail high above the city and everything being man made. I recommend.

Then we went to Roppongi Hills and the Tokyo City View observatory. The idea was to film and take fabulous photos of the Tokyo skyline. Unfortunately everything turned into crap, as it sometimes does.

Instead I took some pics of myself...

...and a few pics through a poorer kinda pay telescope.

Afterward we saw the The Kaleidoscopic Eye exhibition at the Mori Art Museum (included in the ticket) and had conveyor belt sushi. Both were equally good. I recommend.

Today we went to the Ryoji Ikeda retrospective at The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT). Another good exhibition and a very special museum.

The museum had a tranquil almost cultlike ambiance. Everything - both exhibitions and the museum in itself - was so well put together regarding light, sound and materials that it formed a strong experience of being a world of its own. Wherever you'd go silent guards dressed in black, many in face masks, would follow or watch you. The beautiful Northern design inspired restaurant with shadow play and waiters in white robes inspired a feeling of being at a rehab or spa run by an estheticly stringent hippie cult. I recommend.

Some general observations:
If you walk through a crowd, barely no one will as much as nudge you.
The crows sound like ducks.
There is a lot of noise and music - in the streets, in the shops, in the restaurants and particularly in the restrooms (probably to save you from hearing your own embarrassing sounds).
Following signs is very tricky, how they've been organized often seems almost counterproductive.
No one will pick your pocket, people don't even lock their doors, steeling seems unthinkable.
Shop keepers don't get annoyed with you if you walk around their tiny shop isles with a huge shoulder bag, or if you touch everything.
There's a lot of people employed for every job, whether it be construction or shop keeping or whatever.
You must take off your shoes before entering a fitting room.
...and then there's the veil.
You don't tip.
You can smoke indoors (and most restaurants will have smoking and non-smoking sections), but not outdoors in the streets. There are designated outdoor smoking areas.
If you're a (non-fish eating) vegetarian in Tokyo and you don't speak Japanese, you're up for a rough time.
If you're a (non-fish eating) vegetarian in Kyoto and you don't speak Japanese, you're up for a delicious time.
There are no public clocks or waste paper baskets and also very few joggers.
The restroom blowdryers are much stronger than ours.

Tomorrow - the last whole day of the journey - there might be this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lunch at Kichijoji

Today was a Sunday of delicious eating and walks in Inokashira park and sudden rain, thunder and lighting.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two Dogs Cocktail

I let this pic taken outside Kyoto train station sum up our stay in Kyoto and also the pig flu scare.

Everywhere you went you'd find students in group, all clad in school gear and with masked faces.

Kyoto was lovely, I'd gladly go back, and I still think of our hotel room at Pension Station Kyoto fondly. In all its friendly floweriness it was the perfect setting for a music video or a horror flick with goldilocksy young women laughingly jumping up and down on the beds, wearing those kinds of long lacy white sleeping gowns that girls always wear when they get stabbed through the chest in 70's horror movies.

One of the many little shrines.

I have been told these creatures represent fertility. I'm not sure though.

If you feel lonely you can try this...

...or there is this, if you're of the more hands on, self reliant persuasion.

It seems you were right Karolina.

Uguisudani is the part of Tokyo where you find all the shops that sell to restaurants. Anyone can shop there, although sometimes you have to place an order and buy at least five of everything.

It proved to be a very bewildering and annoying place, a bit like Alice's wonderland.

It's fine as long as you're not hungry...

...but then you realize that all the food is artificial display food...

...and that all the alluring street menus are empty...

...and that there's nothing to eat in this restaurant orientated part of town. Finally we found a place that served the most appalling toast. You think you can't go wrong with toast? Guess again.

Lately I feel as though I've O.D:ed on photos and blogging ever so slightly. It's something I thought would never happen. Everywhere I turn there's a photo opp, something I usually have to look for or make in Sthlm, but in the last few days I've been reluctant to even point my camera and click. Sometimes it's nice to just look at stuff, without intent.