I recently read you Voyages issue Of the NYT Sunday Magazine.
Most of the photo articles were excellent, though I think that Mr. Sugimoto was trying too hard to be artsy when he had a great story and should have run with it. Sort of a reverse Marco Polo. But the story that really bothered me was the one about Tokyo by Mr. Soth. Which should have been titled “Hotel Room” or maybe, “Room Service.” The thing about Voyages is the experience and locking yourself up in a hotel room and calling in room service is not experience. Which is sad because Tokyo is a city that begs to be experienced. In a way that was the point of “Lost In Translation.”
To show Mr. Soth a little of what he missed, well here’s some pics I’ve shot in Tokyo.
I was spending my own money, so I didn’t stay as fancy as the Park Hyatt. The View from my hotel room was rather prosaic, though the love hotel did have it’s romanticism.
Perhaps that was good reason to leave the room. Tokyo has a lot of the unexpected.
Such as little French cars. It pays though to go off the beaten path and try to find perhaps the prosaic and unloved, well at least by it’s owners, photographers certainly love this little rusty locomotive.
It may be the most photographed train in Japan. Of course it’s not hard to find rust and steel in the industrial parts of Tokyo, far from the usual tourist traps.
Still, even in the industrial area a grandfather can share with his grandson.
On your way back, you can always enjoy the nightlife,
or get up early and join the morning commute.
You can visit markets not yet busy.
Or watch a park being prepared for the day.
Before taking a festival with great street food
Guarded by stalwart giant guardians.
And some not so giant.
Before catching the evening commute.
And daring the night again.
And wandering the underground warrens of Tokyo Station.
Before going out to play the obligatory video game.
Before encountering raucous politics
Perhaps it may be better to take a speedy journey.
Seeing strange sights out the window
Before having a quiet drink in a sublime location.
While I didn’t eat such exotic things as bug sushi, I did have a series of rather strange to the US hotel breakfasts before setting out to explore.
Finding out that perhaps the culture was a bit loser to home, or at least the advertising was.
One thing about being behind the camera is that you never have to feel as if you don’t belong there.
Which can help if you are in a place where normally you would feel out of place.
No matter how attractive the scenery.
Though it’s still easy to find people in touch with tradition.
Though the strange and exotic does have it’s charms.
Still there’s always time for eats, even takiyoki, maybe especially takiyoki.
Isn’t the point of the voyage, the experience? If I want room service and pizza delivery, all I have to do is stay home. Tokyo has nothing that should truly scare you and it’s a great place to shoot. There’s always something to find, the unexpected the strange the new. And it’s so easy to explore. Why stay in your room?