AKABANE / 赤羽 Last Friday I found myself out drinking in Koenji, an area not too far from Shinjuku that – like my own ‘hood of Shimokitazawa – is famous for its thrift stores and retro vibes. I go there once a year for the Awa Odori, but apart from that I honestly don’t really venture out that direction – despite it only being a short train ride from where I live. (Last year I think I visited three times in total.) […]
A cute cafe on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building in Saigon where they serve amazing drinks from skull pint glasses.
TSUKISHIMA / 月島 Last Saturday I had a wander about Tsukishima – a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market (which I still haven’t been to despite living here five years…) Tsukishima was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel. It’s an area rarely featured in guidebooks, although among Japanese people it’s probably best known as a mecca for monjayaki – a kind of runny pancake with different ingredients, […]
Categories: Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: area guide, asia, asian, blog, design, food, ikimasho, japan, japanese, nature, neighbourhood, old japan, old tokyo, photography, shrines, street, temples, tokyo, urban
セントパトリックスデイ・パレード Sunday was the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Tokyo featuring the usual oddball mish-mash of Japanese-Irish flute bands; cute dogs in clothes; terrifying leprechauns; bizarre Brazilian dancers; and green tea promoted simply because it is green. Throw in some samurai, gymnasts and a guy dressed as a Guinness can, and you have one of the world’s more curious St. Patrick’s Day Parades. Slideshow and video below.
Like many teenagers, my first introduction to Tokyo was through Katsuhiro Otomo’s AKIRA. I watched and rewatched Tetsuo and Kaneda’s motorbike chase scene through Neo Tokyo’s narrow alleyways and towering skyscrapers. When I finally visited Tokyo for real in 2003, this is the city I wanted to see: dark, mad, futuristic, alive. A place that seemed a million miles from my small hometown in Northern Ireland. Thirteen years on, however, and the Tokyo that interests me now is very different from the neon fairy […]
DAITABASHI / 代田橋 Stumbling across a cute Okinawan Town in Central Tokyo Did you know there’s a small Okinawan Town in Tokyo? Well, I say town, but it’s more like a collection of cute shops and alleyways in a residential neighbourhood. I found it by accident the other day while wandering aimlessly around Daitabashi, a station just a fifteen-minute walk from my house in Shimokitazawa. Despite living so close, I hadn’t been to Daitabashi in a long time so I decided to […]
HACHIMANYAMA / 八幡山 I’ve been back living in Tokyo one month now. I arrived on a Monday night and was back to work on the Wednesday. Feels like I’ve never been away. Prior to me taking a break to travel for ten months I was working all the way out at Kashiwa in Chiba. It was a great school and I loved it, but the two-hour commute each way became too much, and that was what ultimately led me to needing a break. This time around I’m back working […]
SASAZUKA / 笹塚 I don’t know where I got the figure from – and please don’t quote me on it – but think I read one time that including metro and overland trains there are 924 stations in Tokyo. Whatever the true figure is, it surely can’t be too far off. Even after living in Tokyo for over three years there are still whole train lines that are completely unknown to me. Each station is essentially the heart of a little village or […]
Exploring the Indonesian theme park with no visitors – not living ones anyway… Right now I’m back on mainland Bali after spending a week on the small island of Lembongan off the east coast. During my time on the island I spoke a few times to a local guy called Niko about ghosts and Indonesian folklore: I specifically wanted to learn about the Pontianak – vampiric ghosts which are said to be the spirits of women who died while pregnant. (The city of […]
Categories: Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: abandoned, bali, bizarre, CREATIVE, ghost hunting, ghosts, haikyo, indonesia, old, photography, sanur, spirits, street, taman festival park, travel, unusual, urban, urban exploration, video
I spent some time in Copenhagen last week. It’s a lovely city, and the Danes have a very high standard of living. Everyone looks happy and healthy. It’s also not as expensive as people make it out to be, so you shouldn’t let worries about costs put you off going. (£3 a pint where I was staying and supermarket prices on par with UK. Restaurants slightly higher but not extortionate.) I primarily came to Copenhagen to just sit about, go […]
Categories: Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: art, blog, blogging, colour, copenhagen, denmark, design, designers republic, drawing, energy, ikimasho, illustration, japan, museum, scandanavia, sculpture, street, sweden, tokyo, travel, urban
I’ve always been interested in field recording – that is, the recording of everyday sounds in their natural surroundings. My best friend dabbles in it, and there is a fantastic Japanese sound blog called World Listener which I have just started following. I don’t own a high quality mic myself, but while shooting some simple video the other day in Marrakech I realised just how much sound was all around me. Marrakech is an intense place: especially in terms of sound and smell. There’s no […]
Testing a GoPro Camera in Tokyo: Shimokitazawa to Shibuya by BMX. On Friday night I strapped a GoPro Camera to my head and cycled from Shimokitazawa to Shibuya in Tokyo. It took about 15 minutes, slightly longer than if I had cycled down the busier main road (Inokashira-dori) near my house. I wanted to cycle through my neighbourhood at night, and then be able to come down into Shibuya from the top of Dogenzaka and finish at the scramble crossing. […]
From Northern Ireland to Nippon with one of the world’s leading netlabels From its humble beginnings in a room in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Acroplane Recordings – headed up by Paul Moore – has matured to become of the world’s leading netlabels. Boxcutter (Planet Mu) and Space Dimension Controller (R&S) put out their first releases on Acroplane, and over the years Paul has played alongside artists as diverse as Autechre, Scorn, Luke Vibert, Remarc and Surgeon to name but a few. Acroplane […]
Categories: Art, Music & Culture • Tags: acid, acroplane recordings, ambient, art, beats, blog, culture, design, electronic music, electronica, Himuro Yoshiteru, idm, japan, japanese, music, netlabel, street, techno, tokyo, urban
Dogs wearing clothes & revellers carrying portable shrines… One of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo returns after a four-year absence. Traditionally held on odd-numbered years, the 2011 Kanda Matsuri was cancelled due to the Tohoku quake and tsunami – meaning this year’s event was the first since 2009. Quintessentially Japanese, Matsuris like this are what makes living in this country so special.
On 23 March 2013, the level crossings at Shimokitazawa in Tokyo lifted for the very last time. It was a sad day for anyone who has ever lived in the area. The Odakyu train line has now gone deep underground, and with it has brought a huge, brand new station that is both sterile and soulless in equal measures. It is not what Shimokitazawa is about, but I guess this is what you call ‘progress’ in the modern age. I […]