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Mucha exhibit at the National Art Center. At one point we were discouraged from taking photos, but as you can see...

Ginza district.

Shimbashi underground mall. It was like stepping into the 1960s.

Tokyo International Forum.

Perimeter walks are fun! Taken around the imperial palace.

Night shots of Bunkyo ward. A little mysterious, maybe? The last three were taken on the grounds of Tokyo University.

In Hachioji, about one hour's train ride west of Tokyo. Getting ready to climb Mount Takao.

Climbing and descending Takao-san. The mountain is only 600m high, but depending on which trail/s you choose (there are six), the walk up can be rugged at times! On the way down, I met a Hachioji resident who spoke fluent English, which he told me was mostly self-taught. Before we parted ways, he gave me his contact info and offered to drive me up to Okutama next time I visited.

Jiyugaoka, a "chic" part of Meguro ward.

Stylish fountain in the atrium of a garbage processing plant in Koto ward.

Tropics by the bay; in and around the Yumenoshima Botanical Dome, Koto. Inside there were mostly grade school kids on a class trip, along with one English traveller who looked like he came straight out of Burning Man with his blue dreads, crystal pendant, and tribal tattoos. I made a point of wearing my "Go vegan, save the oceans" T-shirt, so there were two weirdos in the dome that day.

Seaside meander in Koto.

Which led to a nightime stroll through Edogawa. Really more for the sake of crossing one more ward off my checklist than anything else; since I was already on the east end of Tokyo, why not cross the bay bridge and see some of the northeast?

Ota (Tokyo city's southernmost ward) and neighboring Kawasaki. There's really only one tourist attraction for geeks in Kawasaki, but it's a big one.

What you are looking at is the entrance to Anata no Warehouse, probably the most unusual video arcade in existence. A metal door slid open with a loud hiss, leading to a network of corridors with flickering lights and ambient noise including distorted music, arguments, and the sound of glass breaking. Inside, the floors are designed to look like the Kowloon Walled City slums of late twentieth century Hong Kong, with rusty, dilapidated buildings covered in ads and old newsprint. Around this haunting decor, games from the eighties (including an OutRun with the original hydraulics) and nineties coexist with newer machines, pool tables, and dartboards. On the upper floors, you'll find bar and lounge areas, evoking faded glamour via 1990s urban decay. It's a bit like walking around inside a vaporwave album. With coin lockers and a (limited) upstairs menu, it's a place you can easily lose a day inside.

I took no pictures of the interior -- a sign on the second floor discouraged cameras, and I adhered to policy this time. Describing it, it sounds a little morally dodgy; still, the reactions I've seen online from people who used to live in Kowloon Walled City (it was torn down years ago) are positive, and AFAICT everything was done with a lot of love for old Hong Kong and Chinese culture. It's a caricature, but I don't think it's a spiteful one.

Almost done! I'll post what's left of my folder next time, including all of the Nikko images.


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August 2017


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