1) You can get hot bottled or canned drinks, cold drinks, coffee, tea, beers out of vending machines. ☺✔
2) You can still smoke in a lot of bars & restaurants in Japan. ☹✗
3) Toilets are either incredibly advanced so much so that you think you’re a Bond villain with optional heated seat etcetera. ☺✔
4) Or these toilets still exist which are not cool! ☹✘
(Yes, I’ve posted a picture of a toilet!)
5) Its true you don’t have to go very far in one place to find a cacophony of noise.
6) Yet you can still find places like these:
Perhaps we need both to even things out.
It’s rolled out almost as a cliche now but also tells you just how influential ‘Blade Runner’ was in defining a look and a style. The only department not to have a really telling influence is perhaps arguably the costume department in the film. They say Osaka in the rain and Tokyo really call to mind ‘Blade Runner’ but here are some shots of Kyoto in the rain.
Here’s a tune from the sondtrack if you want to listen to it now…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAwo7DPUFUM&feature=related
Luckily for me I’m staying round the corner from the nightlife so can rest before possibly heading back out to look for Rachael, what I don’t need is Leon, Pris or Batty.
Kyoto Market, busy, more of which later.
I rode the Shinkansen to Kyoto which is better known in the west as the Bullet train, if anything its more like a plane on the interior and puts Inter City to shame although it does come at a price.
The vibe in Kyoto is very, very different from Tokyo while the area has been dramatically effected not directly by the disaster in Japan last year, it seems many of the tourists have yet to come back.
To me Tokyo works on a vertical plane with the skyline dominated by skyscrapers where else is having lunch on the 38th floor not that unusual other than Chicago perhaps.
Kyoto on the other hand while in possession of tall buildings has maintained the majority of its older buildings and those don’t stretch upwards like skyscrapers. In that sense Kyoto in my mind works on the horizontal.
Tokyo is also dominated by a near steady stream of people like ants or one of those National Geographic videos of those streams of red crabs on Christmas Island. Kyoto has a large population of bicycle users who ride on the pavement.
One thing that has irked me in Japan however and I understand they’re starting to catch up with the rest of the world is that smoking is still allowed in bars and restaurants. For a supposedly cutting edge country there are still a large amount of smokers of all ages.
I have been here in Japan for just over a week now and will try to catch up with the things that I’ve been doing in the past week. I haven’t been as free with my picture taking due to working commitments and not being able to sightsee nor feeling inclined to take shots of things I have seen before but will try.
Echo Tour 2012
Please click on ‘exhibitions’ to see why I’m here.
Yes, you read that correctly. Japan. I’m on my travels yet again.
I want to make it clear though that I am not on a ‘jolly’ or on a holiday as people would believe or might believe. I did work the whole of December and January and February at two different jobs. I was also very fortunate to have been contacted by the Galway Film Centre and invited to speak about ‘Moon’ in Ireland in February as well.
So why am I in Japan?
As readers of previous posts might remember and for new readers I spent last summer in Iceland and made new friends after spending time staying at an artist’s residency in the northwest of the country.
So I was delighted to hear from one of the artists and be asked if I would be interested in coming to Japan to show my work.
I’ve been here in Japan for just about a week now and this is the first time I’ve managed to sit down and even contemplate trying to resurrect this blog. I spent my first 2 days in Japan getting swallowed up by the madness of Tokyo.
Tokyo Underground map!
I have a strange relationship towards Japan and in my mind had been looking forward to and then feeling unsure about it. Its not my first time here and unlikely to be my last time here but I do view it with some ambivalence which is mainly borne out of uncertainty over my position as a British Born Japanese person who’s language skills are questionable. In the past in certain situations I would get defensive and either speak as if I’d come from the Michael Caine school of English or the Hugh Grant one depending on the situation. Drinking alcohol seems to improve my willingness to try to speak Japanese probably due to losing inhibitions. Although arguably if I step outside of myself I’m pretty ambivalent about most places including England.
That said I’m starting to feel better about being here despite having the super deluxe ultimate camouflage disguise of looking Japanese yet not fully comprehending what is being said or being able to read various information.
In two days in Tokyo I managed to see one of my friends who has living in Tokyo and also to see my grandparents who have transplanted themselves back to Japan since October from England. It was good to see my grandparents looking better and more comfortable with themselves and where they were.
From Tokyo I took the Shinkansen/Bullet Train to Kyoto.
More detailed posts and pictures to hopefully come but for a first this will have to suffice. Also I can’t remember how to use this thing yet! 😉