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Fabulous shots of Japanese cities at night

A very large box that I need to tick in my travel ambitions is Japan (a sister-in-law of mine is Japanese). Via the excellent website of Stephen Hicks, I came across this site showing some wonderful photos. It certainly encourages me to get on a flight to Tokyo as soon as I can plan and afford it.

The Japanese, judging by the sheer scale of lighting, clearly do not worry over-much about their ‘carbon footprint’, to use the current cant expression of our political classes. Excellent.

13 comments to Fabulous shots of Japanese cities at night

  • Yes, and when you go to Tokyo there is a restaurant in Shibuya that serves only whale dishes that you really must try.

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Japan also, If only so I can feel like I’m part of a cyberpunk novel, or anime extravaganza. I don’t know if I would be able to go for long enough to do the place justice though, and explore the culture and history of the place.

  • I’m due to take a visa run over there at the end of May, probably to Sapporo. I intend to come back with an armful of electronics.

  • Nick M

    Are thes photos taken with the new technique that combines multiple different length exposures together using a photoshop script?

    I’ve seen pics of Tokyo at night using this technique and they are strange, beautiful and almost hyper-real. They were somewhere on Flickr. I can’t remember where, though I got the link from Boing Boing.

    If anyone can enlighten me I’d be very pleased.

  • John Rppengal

    To have any hope of exploring Japan and finding out about its culture you MUST have a good Japanese contact. Otherwise it’s hopeless. The language barrier is immense. Boy can you get lost in the Tokyo underground system — Kanji and Kadikana characters only in most stations. If you want a Geisha dinner you had better be entertained by a major corporation – Mitsubish Bank or similar. Kyoto is the place for old culture. But there is a lot to modern Japanese life which is quite alien to most westerners. The bath houses for one. Well worth a visit. Tell your Japanese host you would like to go.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    John, absolutely. I have relatives in Japan and they are already drawing up travel plans for my wife and I. I can’t wait to go.

  • manuel II paleologos

    We spent easter in Kyoto visiting some friends. Wonderful, wonderful trip which I’d recommend to anyone. Was expecting to find it interesting, but not to love it so much. Kids enjoyed themselves too.

    As for “carbon footprints”, the thing I especially liked was being able to buy canned coffees from vending machines which are kept permanently hot. Yeah!

    Helpful to learn some of the language, which isn’t too complex – none of that awful tonal stuff you get with Chinese.

  • David B. Wildgoose

    A place I’d love to visit, (especially since becoming a keen Go player).

    But I pity their poor astronomers and am saddened their children will not be able to look into the sky and see the amazing glory of the Milky Way.

    If our children are denied seeing the full glory of the firmament how will they ever develop the enthusiasm to take us out there?

  • Japan’s “carbon footprint” is far bigger than one would expect from a nation with historic concern towards oil dependence, enough to make a preemptive strike that caused their near-destruction.

    Hot coffee: you will notice that the machines also supply cold drinks. The machines just pump heat from one set of beverages into another and so are very efficient. It is the street beer vending machines which I find symbolic of civilisation!

    p.s. study of the phonetic Kana may help in pronouncing Japanese words as you learn the short list of syllables exist. They say if you can speak Spanish you can pronounce the Japanese syllables pretty accurately.

  • Simon Cranshaw

    I’m surprised you can really tell simply by looking at these pictures but I think you have put you have touched on a valid point regarding Japan. I live here and can confirm there is indeed little worry regarding global warming. I don’t think there is any Japanese for ‘carbon footprint’ and it might even take some time to explain the concept.

    For sure Japan is running on slightly different cultural lines to Europe and America so it’s perhaps not surprising that much of the fashions of politically correct thinking have held less sway over here. Still, I have been surprised by the contrast between the treatment of the issue on BBC World and on Japanese television. On the former I saw one program about whether we should still really travel by plane and on the latter.. well, nothing much really.

    Why is this? Could it be that the snows still fall regularly here and the powder condition is still fine? It’s just my personal theory but I think religious education is a key influence in this. Japan is perhaps the most secular culture in the developed world. I couldn’t find a link but I heard that 60% of Japanese claim not to believe in God. More importantly for this case is that there is very little influence of the Abrahamic religions.

    I imagine the vast majority of children in Europe and the US grow up hearing the stories of the forbidden fruit, the expulsion from paradise, coming apocalypse and end of days. Even if you’re not religious when you hear the global warming story it surely has a strong resonance with these religious myths. I wonder if the idea of catastrophic climate change is somehow made easier to accept by this.

    By contrast most Japanese do not even know the story of Adam and Eve. This is a society with no concept of original sin. When I’ve spoken to locals about global warming they seem skeptical of the catastrophe scenario. It’s not that they haven’t heard the stories or disbelieve the whole thing but it just seems that they don’t find it as easy to believe that disaster is looming. It’s not that they’re unaware of nature’s power either. Earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis all can and have all wreaked devastation on the land. Perhaps that also works the other way though in that Japanese have a greater confidence in the adaptability of humanity to conditions. As my Japanese teacher said, “if the sea levels did rise, we would just move.”

    Btw, if you have an interest to meet up while here, do drop me a mail. For things to do, I’d recommend going up Roppongi Hills tower for the big panoramic view and wandering around there. Brunch or dinner at New York Grill is also great for that and for the Lost in Translation scenes. And there’s so much more… but you will see!

  • Gib

    My girlfriend is Japanese, so I’ve spent some time in Tokyo. I have in fact been on that Yokohama ferris wheel in the photo, and we had a _very_ good time on it 😉 Great view from there too.

    There are heaps of lights around Japan. A modern western city in parts, coupled with some weird things in others. Not bad things, just a bit… weird. But always interesting and definitely worth spending time in.

    Japanese are great people (and the girls love western guys 🙂

    What more can you ask for ?

  • John Rippengal

    I don’t understand that comment about the Japanese not being able to see the Milky Way?? Could Mr Wildgoose explain please.

  • Gib

    John, I think the comment about not being able to see the Milky Way was talking about the light pollution making stars hard to see.

    But, I don’t think that’s true particularly. It’s the same as any city. There’s big buildings so that you don’t get a good view of the sky at all when you’re amoungst them. Go to the suburbs though, you’ll have horizon to horizon views, and plenty of stars.

    I think apart from being on the street itself where there’s lights, the light pollution isn’t too bad. I wouldn’t put an important observatory in Tokyo bay though.