May 02, 2005

bye bye tokyo

April 30, 2005

last weeks in tokyo

last weeks in tokyo, spent as much as possible in the real world. some pictures, in retrospect.

cafelatte break with seiko at eva, her colorful vintage boutique in daikanyama. seiko on the phone, planning her promo photo shoot.

a classic for who knows my brother, a good introduction for who doesn't - pieter working his way through a chunk of nan with four chopsticks at the malaysian expo pavillion, undisturbed by a team of nagoya television.

only recently I found this underpass, an alternative route to bypass the shinagawa train tracks on my way to work. with its length of a couple of hundred meters, its with of roughly one car and a bikepath, and its height of not more than 1 meter 50 (5 feet), this tunnel is a very bizarre space. extra scary when trains are rattling overhead... a favorite with cabdrivers, and at rush hour with walking salaryman - the usual outfit of smart suit and suitcase, but with heads tilted. the tunnel connects the reclaimed islands of industrial konan on one end with the hilly part of shinagawa - trees, temples, old residential quarters - on the other end.

"Tokyo is a place-by-place place - how each location relates to the last remains obscure. Lacking vistas and grand plans, you have no sense of travel between points: rather, you leave an experience and start another somewhere else. The intervening motion is out of place and time."
(Thackera, 1989)

sneaking out a day into bozo hanto, the peninsula that encloses tokyo bay. biking through deep shades of green, and through japan's fascinating countryside.

nagisa party in odaiba, and sushi for lunch during facade engineering sessions, piloted by tim, our glass facade specialist from australia.

yoyo walking to the dressing rooms for the taishi nobukuni fashion show at the national stadium, and a snapshot at roppongi hills. below, two more shots of the nobukuni show.

early morning shots in shinagawa

shrines and rural vending machines in bozo hanto

sant'aichan in castello

the third floor of robata, just a long staircase removed from busy blade runner streets of yurakucho, yet a distant universe of surrealistic paintings, multiple stages of delicious food, stacks of books, and the eponymous fireplace.

with virginie, polle, tomi and pieter at the world expo in aichi.

fuji view from the shinkansen on the way to the expo - most convincing display of nature's wisdom during the entire day...

seiko knows what she wants as she's dressing up one of the models for the photo shoot. a well conserved secret where she keeps finding those clothes...

early shot at sayonara party. appetizers and men in concentrical circles around the flower in aichan's hair.

sunset over aichi. night falls, also at the expo.

April 28, 2005

shinagawa sequens

April 09, 2005

kind of lookalikes

sometimes I had the feeling that for everyone I know, there's a japanese version out there. usually the subway is a great place to spot lookalikes - not the best place to record or document them though.

so what about this one?
the construction site manager of the jibica clinic versus françois pignon, actor from "le dîner de cons"...

April 08, 2005


growing old
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying

haiku by Issa, 1811

April 07, 2005


"Cherry trees all over Japan will burst into clouds of pink blossoms in early April to thrill once again the hearts of the Japanese people with their ancient glory and liveliness."

trying to find out more about sakura as turning point in the traditional japanese calendar, I came to this page, answering most of my questions in romantic, innocently nationalistic yet informative prose - this is where 'flowery' got its original meaning - as native to japan as the sakura itself. let me slice it up for you and add essential imagery of postprandial scenes around meguro river shidarezakura (weeping cherry trees).

people gather on a bridge over meguro river

"Sakura trees are planted on mountain sides, parks and gardens and most notably along many river embankments. When the blossoming season comes, these trees on winding river embankments turn into gorgeous belts of blossoms extending many miles. It is said, ancient people started to plant sakura trees on river banks, so that people would be lured to come and their walking on the embankments would solidly pack the earth to make it strong enough to withstand the flooding water in autumn."

a glass of sakura champagne at hanezawa garden

so far in japan I hadn’t noticed any more cherry yogurt or jam or coke than anywhere else - made me wondering what happens to all those japanese cherries... yet

"Beautiful as it is in bloom, the Japanese cherry tree does not yield fruit like other cherry trees. A critic once remarked that the Japanese cherry tree does not have to produce a market crop because it is a born aristocrat and its single mission is to be beautiful."

"The true lover of cherry blossoms is more particular in his enjoyment of this seasonal offering than the general public. He feels the season is at its height when the buds are little more than half open - for when the blossoms reach full-blown maturity there is an intimation in them that bespeaks the beginning of the decline of their beauty."

samurai with sword in horizontal position

"The cherry blossom symbolizes the national character of the Japanese. This is because the life of a samurai of feudal times was proverbially compared to the short-lived cherryblossoms, which last 'no more than three days', for our samurai was always fully prepared to sacrifice his life at any time in the cause of his master."

"The Japanese people would never have been essentially so jubilant, cheerful, optimistic and youthful were it not for the beauty of the cherry blossoms."

pink perspectives

during times of the gates, rennie reported a remarkable increase of orange in new york's streetscape. same here with unavoidable pink during sakura season...

hanami at 5:30 am, marginal advantage of overnight drawing work

"When the cherry blossom season begins, many people who wish to enjoy flower viewing in a quiet atmosphere, make visits as early as 8 or 9 AM before the regular crouds arrive to begin their boisterous merrymaking."


April 06, 2005

giant life size fashion chimp

sakura not only marks the traditional turn of the year - school's out, taxes due, rice to be planted - but also the presentation of tokyo's fashion collections for next autumn and winter.
it all started a month ago, when taishi nobukuni walked up to me in a restaurant around the corner with the question whether I'd be ready to "walk" for the takeo kikuchi show. an extra audition, a couple of fittings, a visit to the model agency (hobbies: urban design) and a hair styling session later, I ended up doing two shows: avant-garde street- and surfwear for nobukuni/kikuchi (on the running tracks of the national stadium), and the more classy catwalk outfit for mon tsuki. big fun - lots of new (exclusively foreign) mates (some faces strangely familiar... from ads around town), flashing polaroids, flamboyant stylists ("more... intensity") - and some extra bucks.
grabbed this sequence with fitting shots from the montsuki make-up table - hope professional pix of the shows follow... find the amateur chimp!