Delusions of Grandeur


I guess when all travel bloggers set up a site they have some delusions of grandeur – a (perhaps) misguided sense that they are doing something ‘important’ or groundbreaking by documenting all the wonderful things they see on their travels. I myself am not exempt from this. When I started this site six years ago I was fixated on writing solely about the weirdest shit I could find, believing that everyday life just wasn’t interesting enough. Call it hindsight, or maturity, or whatever, but I now realise that writing about the bizarre side to Tokyo isn’t really that original at all. In the same way that people with tattoos now seemingly outnumber those without, the amount of articles about ‘wacky Japan’ has simply diluted its impact.

I’m not disputing the importance or relevance of the the weirder side of Tokyo. But so much of the content you see online now about this city is overdone and predictable. Robot Restaurant this… Akihabara that… it’s just the same regurgitated drivel over and over and over again. Top 10 Wacky Themed Restaurants to check out in Tokyo? No thanks. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here taking a picture of a cat in a garden and a boarded-up shopfront.

And before you start, the irony of the first line of this post is not lost on me. Do I now have different delusions of grandeur? That I am somehow better because I am taking pictures of things that other people may regard as unimportant? Who knows. But I do know that these days I am happier snapping a picture of an old guy in a coin laundry at 9.30am that I am hanging out in a club at 3am.


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  1. Alex

    One of the aspects of your blog that I like is that it offers a low-key and subtle view of parts of Tokyo that many may never consider, particularly if they have not moved past the prejudices of wacky Japan or an obsession with all things Japanese. I have one trip to Japan under my belt (four weeks in Tokyo) and my happiest times on the trip were just walking through neighbourhoods, camera in hand, taking in the sights.

    I never knew what I would find: a backlot full of injection molding machines; an ancient American pickup truck, right out of the late 50s that was someone’s daily driver; stunning architectural gems, from small houses to shrines to modern towers. Needless to say, and as you have so clearly shown, the settings I moved through were filled with people and so I indulged myself by just watching all the activity unfold around me.

  2. I am soon going to move to Tokyo (temporarily) and I cannot get enough of your daily life snapshots, because I know well that Japan is so much more than a Shinto temple or a robot restaurant; what I like the most is all the little details in how things are done in Japan, they are so subtle but you manage to capture that with your camera. I hope to do a good job as well in my own style soon.

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