Scenes from Japan

Nice and / or interesting photos of Japan.

(For interesting but odd photos of Japan, see Odd Stuff).

Sunday, April 12, 2009  12:25 PM

Precision Parking

One thing is for sure: in Tokyo parking space is not only at a premium horizontally, but also vertically. This Mercedes owner no doubt takes very good care of his or her tyre pressure:

Precision parking in Tokyo

Precision parking in Tokyo

Seen in Shibuya.

Saturday, January 24, 2009   7:22 AM

Popuppable Clickability

One of the many limitations of this blog, apart from the general lack of content, readers etc., is that photographs are constrained by the layout to a maximum width of 400 pixels, which is not enough to do justice to the stunning depth of detail and clarity provided by my consumer-grade digital cameras. It has long been on my todo list to remedy this and having just taken delivery of a fresh batch of round tuits I hereby make it known that clicking on most photographs will produce a larger version embedded in a stylish, fashionable popup for your viewing pleasure.

Try it for yourself on this gratuitous image of Himeji Castle from last October:

Himeji Castle, Japan 

Thursday, January 8, 2009   9:35 PM


It's undeniable: space in Japan, especially in built-up areas like Tokyo, is at a premium. Common features of houses in many other cities around the world, such as gardens and driveways, are literally thin on the ground. Which is a bit of a problem for anyone in possession of a large, self-propelling lump of metal-on-wheels, because if there's one thing rarer than driveways, it's on-street parking.

Consequently drivers are often forced to find creative solutions if they wish to be able to stable their gasoline steed within reasonable commuting distance of their domicile. A simple solution is to build your home on stilts, freeing up valuable real estate for the convenience of modern man's best friend, the automobile. No matter if the patch of ground you call your own is actually smaller than your treasured BMW: necessity is the mother of all inventions, especially if your plot of land happens to border on the concrete-clad banks of a river.

Car parked adventurously in Tokyo, Japan

Friday, January 2, 2009   8:33 PM

Happy New Year to You Too!

Christians outside Meiji Jingu

More precisely to all the glum-looking Christians hanging around outside Meiji Jingu today with yellow signs bearing cheery messages such as "This World Will Crumble Away", "We Are All Doomed", "You in Particular Are Going To Hell", "Wash Your Clothes in the Blood of Jesus Christ For That Purer Than Pure Look" etc. etc. OK, I am paraphrasing slightly here, but come on guys, cheer up a bit. It was a lovely morning, just right for a spot of symbolic pagan / animistic / dead emperor worship and coin throwing, and judging by the reactions of passers by (none) I don't think your message was getting through to any one at all.

(Now, if you could direct your energies towards the abolition of incessant and religiously meaningless Christmas carols from mid-November onwards, you might get a bit more sympathy...).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008   9:56 PM

The Leaning Tower of Mejiro

As Neil Duckett recently wrote, Mejiro is a "pretty quiet place with not a whole lot to do" and having lived in the area for a few months, I wouldn't disagree (though I would hasten to point out that not only is there is a 24hr McDonalds, but also that the fleshpots of Ikebukuro and Takadanobaba are within walking distance). However he did neglect to mention its main attraction, which visitors from as far away as Shin-Okubo and Otsuka come to see with their own eyes: the Lopsided Storefront of Mejiro-Dori.

The Leaning Building of Mejiro

"Most people assume it's like that due to earthquakes" said Mr. Yamamoto, proprietor of the store on the ground floor which sells a range of miscellaneous unclassifiable household products last updated during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. "But as you can see if you look carefully, the lower storey is perfectly straight. Visitors are usually disappointed when I tell them the builder was pissed as a newt by the time he'd got to the upstairs bit. But he was cheap, and you soon get used to the sloping floor. In fact, sleepng at an angle is great for your circulation. You should try it some day, young man."

Open to the public on alternating Thursdays as long as Mr. Yamamoto's knees aren't giving him too much gip.

Saturday, December 6, 2008   4:07 PM


Clouds over Mount Fuji at sunset

Sunday, November 30, 2008   1:53 PM

Sim City Tokyo

Sim City Tokyo

This is an actual picture of Tokyo, taken from the viewing platform in the Tochō (Tokyo City Hall), and not a computer-generated graphic.

Somewhere in the midde of that lot is Penguin Heights... In Tokyo's defence though, I have to say that while it's not the world's greenest city, down on the ground it's quite a lot more pleasant, albeit an aesthetic free-for-all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008   9:31 AM

Behind bars

A late autumn day on the balcony

Yes, those are my knees. And yes, this photo was taken today. One of those days where I check my work email at 7:30am and before I know it it's midday and I am still in the clothes I woke up in. And out of the wind it was pleasantly warm on the balcony, which was compensation for missing my daily commute on the Yamanote Line, especially as apparently the heating in the office wasn't working properly.