/ Kevin Kelly / 4 am Wed, Nov 26 2014
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  • Photos of colorful Tokyo

    Photos of colorful Tokyo

    Kevin Kelly searches for maximum vibrancy in Tokyo

    The Nakasendo is an old road in Japan that connects Kyoto to Tokyo. It was once a major foot highway, but today small sections retain some of its historical feel. In October I walked along 5 short sections of it, staying at traditional inns along the way. The Nakasendo is full of history and many artists and poets over the centuries have travelled along it, including Basho, the haiku genius. We met a lot of characters, too, and thoroughly enjoyed the exquisite details that make up this country. [See Kevin's photos of the Nakasendo here]

    The other side of Japan is full-tilt modern, and at times, overloaded with color. The Japanese also love uniforms; every role has a uniform. I tried to capture some of the uniforms on the streets and trains, especially the cosplay uniforms in Harajuku, Tokyo. I found maximum color in Japanese shows on TV, in their vending machines, and at a crazy, bonkers, over-the-top show in Tokyo called the Robot Restaurant. Turn up that color dial to 11!

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    / / 35 COMMENTS

    Notable Replies

    1. Are there really this many candy ravers there, or are they overrepresented in this set because they’re more fun to look at than someone in a plain khaki jumpsuit?

    2. They are overrepresented because the guy took a bunch of pictures in Harajuku, which is one district out of over 100.

      There's no shortage of insanity in other districts--The Robot Cabaret we see is near (if not in) Roppongi. (I am not sure; it wasn't there last time I went in 2009)

      One of my favorite things is the life-size Gundam in Daiba. I giggled at the sheer scale and insanity of the thing when I finally saw it in person.

      Other classic stuff to google for some images of:

      The Hachiko statue at the Shibuya train (his story eventually was made into a movie with Richard Gere)

      Anything in Roppongi

      Anything in Akihabara (but especially Maid Cafes, and the almost fetishised used video game stores)

      Shinto Shrines (they are everywhere)

      Beer/Booze/Cigarette/Porn vending machines. A rarity, anymore but still exist in some privately owned areas (such as hotel lobbies, lol).

    3. That's how you activate it.

    4. Here are some less colorful shots I took a few weeks ago. I guess since I've lived in Tokyo for so long, the colorful stuff doesn't interest me as much as street scenes that tourists won't probably encounter. Most of these shots were in the Kabuikcho district near where the Robot Restaurant is located. Not far from the crowded night street shot with the karaoke signs on the right.

      Robot Restaurant is not in Roppongi and not close to Harajuku either, its near Shinjuku station in a district called Kabukicho, a sort of semi red light district also known for eateries, bars, love hotels, etc. Shinjuku's city hall also happens to be in this district. Walking out the back of city hall and there are a variety businesses that are decidedly non governmental in nature.

      Outside of the area near Harajuku station you won't see candy ravers at all and even in that district they are few compared to those who follow other fashion trends. In a way, these outfits are also uniforms as most of these kids don't wear them day to day but bring them in small suitcases to Harajuku and only wear them in that area changing back into usual clothes before they go back to their suburban homes.

    5. I feel much the same way. The first time I went to Japan was the most fun I've ever had in my life.

      I was 21, and had never even flown a plane, let alone left the country. The sense of wonder is something I would have to go to the Moon to have again.

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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