In this third part of Tokyo Dreaming – the complete series, we hit the streets of Tokyo, traversing through the bustling metropolis, down the streets and alleys, witnessing the unfolding of the Japanese culture infused with western values portrayed vividly on the streets. A eclectic mix of different people, some flamboyant, some utilitarian, all stirred within the melting pot of desires, visions and dreams of Tokyo.
Tokyo Dreaming, for those who are reading this for the first time, is my long term project photographing the street life of Tokyo, started on a whim when I first flew to Tokyo to photograph and recover from the personal setback, and evolving into an obsession (and a solo exhibition earlier in 2013), as I hit the streets everyday, pulling images and pictures from my stream of consciousness as I walked the streets. The people of Japan had gone through numerous tragedies, and as I walked in their midst, I found healing and a renewed vigour for life.
In Shinjuku, hurtling towards unknown destinations, figures dressed mostly in black hurried past me, their presence fleeting and transient, most are silent, brows furrowed in deep thought, lost in their own world in the journey of their commute to work. The early morning commute is the stuff that legends are made of – the packing of trains to their capacity, the huge mass of crowds surging through the streets. But one thing I noticed – everyone walks fast, and at any one time, you can always see something running.
At night, Shinjuku is still as crowded (indeed, Shinjuku and Shibuya are truly cities that never sleep. On the weekend, Shibuya can have more people compared to the day!
Pachinko is a popular past time in Japan – a form of pinball / slot machine found commonly across Tokyo in various Pachinko parlours, a great stress reliever for the working population, while youths flocked to the arcades.
For some, the lust of the flesh takes over in the seedier areas of Shinjuku, most notably the Kabukicho area, an entertainment and red light district in Shinjuku, the location of many host and hostess clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, and is also often called the “Sleepless Town”.
In Shibuya, the sounds of TV advertising on large colorful billboards permeates through the busiest crossing in the world, the Shibuya scramble 6 way crossing, intermixed with the cacophony of sounds of chatter and laughter, the Japanese (plus tourists) in more relaxed moods, on their way to party or dinner at the numerous restaurants and eating places.
Rain, a frequent occurrence in Tokyo as I found out, brings out the most pleasing of sights – the canopy of mostly transparent see-through umbrellas covering the entire city. In Tokyo, I try not to use an umbrella as much as possible, so absorbed was I in taking in the sights of people scurrying in the rain.
Night time is another time I love in Tokyo – in the two places where I hanged out the most, Shinjuku and Shibuya, there was never a quiet moment even late at night. The streets are always full of life.
Tokyo is in my book, one of the most beautiful cities to live in.
I’ve posted a few posts about Tokyo before, one on the 1-year anniversary of this blog last year (and as you can tell from the date, we are now 2 years old!!!!), one of the crossroads of Shibuya, one on street photography in Japan, and one of Tokyo Dreaming, the exhibition of my work in Tokyo that took place for 2 months from December of 2012 to the January of 2013. In addition, you can also catch up on Tokyo Dreaming – The Complete series Part I, and Tokyo Dreaming II – The Gardens of Tokyo ft. Yasukuni Shine and Ueno Park.
I’m currently working on a book, and hoping to put up another exhibition. Watch out for part 4 of this instalment, where I will show more pictures which have not been previously seen. This is an on-going work.
Edit: Part 4 is out now!
Thanks for viewing!!!!!!