Temples and palaces

Today marks the first Friday of 2019. I’ve been enjoying a rather peaceful week of rest in Tokyo. 2018 was a busy work year for me. I moved to Tokyo in May and started working for a new company.

This was quite a big change as I switched from freelancing to regular employment, and I switched from UK culture to Japanese work culture.

As a freelancer I was able to take a lot of time off over the years to indulge in amateur and (a little) professional photography.

As a regular employee in Tokyo time has been much more limited.Read More »

Tokyo Tower

It’s December 1st and it was a lovely sunny warm but fresh 16 degrees in Tokyo. I decided to head out for a walk around Tokyo Tower. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and it was really a beautiful day out.

I started from Hamamatsucho (浜松町) just 15 minutes walk to the East of Tokyo Tower. While Tokyo Tower is a major tourist attraction the surrounding area is to a certain extent  a business district. Due to that I was lucky enough to find a few really nice independent coffee shops that were quite quiet due to it being a Saturday.Read More »

24 hour sushi in Akihabara at Isomaru・アキバの磯丸水産の寿司居酒屋

Tokyo is a beautifully colourful place.

I really appreciate good design in life. When people, businesses and local authorities make an effort. A lot of elements come together to make a place enjoyable. The shape of the buildings, the colours, the cleanliness, the ease of getting around.

Life can be busy, it can get tiring commuting around, rushing to work, rushing to meet people. Everything is a better when the places we go feature interesting and beautiful design.

One of my genuine beliefs is it shouldn’t just be about minimising costs and maximising profits, it should be about making the world a better place.Read More »

Film recommendation – 君の名は・Your Name

Today, something a bit different – a movie recommendation!

君の名は (kimi no na wa) or in English – “Your Name”  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5311514/

It’s anime, but don’t let that put you off, this is a story about people – friendship, family, love etc. – no monsters!

“Your name” was a major hit in Japan in 2016 and 2017.

It’s been on my list of things to watch for a while. I finally got around to watching it on my recent flight back from Japan.

I don’t want to give away anything about the plot or storyline, I think it’d be more of a nice surprise if you don’t know much about it.

I like it so much I sent my mum a copy – together with a box of chocolates.

I was deeply touched by the story and I might have even shed a tear on the plane! (highly embarassing).

The animation itself is stunningly beautiful. It’s the first time I really had a ‘wow’ moment with some of the scenes.

The movie also has an excellent soundtrack by the RADWIMPS – the main song ‘Zen Zen Zensee’ is really great – Here is a cover on youTube:

 

Hope you get a chance to watch it and enjoy it

Cities – same, but different

Do you live or work in a city? What do you see on your day to day trip to work?

Last night after work I walked from my client office towards St. Pauls with a colleague. As we were walking I remarked, “doesn’t London have some amazing architecture?”. My colleague; originally from Bulgaria, replied that he loved the area.

This is the view we had:

London is an unusual place. It is a city. And a lot of people live here. But it doesn’t have big wide streets. And it doesn’t have one architectural style. From street to street you see a huge variety of design.

I lived in Moscow for a year and I remember the 6 lane roads that run through the city.

Or walking around Pudong in Shanghai the sheer size and scale of the new towers are remarkable.

More and more I realise how much the layout and architecture of a city influence the feeling of day to day life.

One special thing about London is that you can walk around most of the famous sights in half a day. From baker street and regent park down to oxford street, along to Hyde Park, then back to piccadilly, down to Westminster, along the south bank to tower bridge and up through the city to shoreditch.

Compare that to Tokyo. To visit many of the sights you can use the Yamanote line. But just to go around the Yamanote line once would take an hour on the train.

One of the things I love about London is how easy it is to stroll around and enjoy the buildings. The mix of new and old. I think you have to be proud of our strict planning permission that’s kept the number of eyesores under relatively good control.

Nothing illustrates the beauty of old and new design coming together than the view of the city sitting to the north of tower bridge. And beautifully framed we can see my favourite of the modern buildings in London – 30st. Mary Axe aka ‘The Gherkin’ / ‘Swss Re’

And below two favourites together, just to the left we can see the exterior of Lloyds – the original concept of Lloyds was having all the ‘functional’ parts of the building visible. It’s got such an industrial ‘futuristic’ vibe.

What is the architecture like in your city? Would you change it if you could?

Missed Moments in London

Let’s go back to 4th April 2014 !

That’s the date I first went for a proper walk with my trusty beginner DSLR & 50mm lens.

It was Naka Meouro in Tokyo and it was Spring; or Sakura season(Cherry Blossom). I think I wrote about it before – it was the day I really found the joy of photography.

Today I was browsing through the 3200 photos I took in 2014. I think at the time I thought I was quite decent at it.

But now, looking back, most of the photos are awful.

It doesn’t matter though, the main reason I was taking photos was because I found it really enjoyable. It was a way to slow down and enjoy the detail of the world around me. Whilst also fulfilling my desire to be ‘do things’ and ‘create stuff’.

One thing that’s a bit new that I experienced today is looking back at a mass of photos and being connected to the person I was at the time.

It’s not remembering the moments themselves. It’s the thought process, motivations, energy etc. that I had at the time I was walking around taking those pictures.

I had such a great time in Japan in 2014. When I came back to London I was flying high. I was feeling so good, I was more confident, optimistic and creative about life than I am at the moment.

It’s not that things are bad now. It’s more like I am good now, but then I was super uber amazing.

When I looked back today I had a bit of an, “Oh yeah” moment – that’s where I got the extra energy and motivation, those were the things I was planning.

It’s great as an inspiration to make some refreshed plans for the near future.

I picked out some photos of Londoners that I think I missed on my first reviews back in 2014. Here we go:

Do you ever look back at objects from your past and find a positive inspiration for the future?