Monday 12 December 2011

Tokyo Bird Watching - July 2008

After stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. Must hand it to the Japanese. Even the trees are "manicured". How's that for natural umbrella or pavilion? I can't help be impressed with Japan's sense of beauty.

I was at the National park on a weekday afternoon around 4:00 pm. Nice to see that there is one non-conformist! Too bad Singapore too hot... If not you would see me lying there in the grass. Wait! I can still do so. But it will be probably at the Queenstown swimming pool instead ;)

This is at the Akihabara electronics and comics shopping paradise for "geeks". It's our Sim Lim square equivalent; only it's a whole Orchard Road - not just a shopping centre!

It's opening hours and for those of you who have worked in a Japanese company will know this morning ritual. Song singing, slogan chanting, and excercise!

When I was in Shanghai, I see many comical instances where the Chinese restaurant and shop owners tried to copy paste this ritual without understanding the cultural context... Half-dead or disinterested staff going through the motion is more of a drag than inspiration!?

Singapore business owners who practice this uniquely Japanese ritual, are you listening? (Well, if you set an example I have nothing to say... Embarassing right?)

One example of the shopping paradise! This one of the many cool toys and comics book stores. And they even have those naughty naughty stuffs not for those who are below 21 years old in Singapore.

I am always puzzled at our Singapore's censorship standards. At 18, I am trusted with a rifle and given training how to fire it (euphemism for killing a fellow man), but I cannot be trusted with some exposure of flesh?

Thank goodness young Singaporeans now can afford to travel overseas at much younger age. Get it out of your systems early. Don't repressed it; wait you suffer from the "Convent Girl" syndrome!? Even worse!

Ah! It's summer, and the Cherry Blossoms will come out in their summer kiminos. Very pretty baju (dress) no?

I am at Asaksa Guan Yin Ma's temple. I'll visit our Waterloo Street Quan Yin Ma temple whenever I return back to Singapore for my home leave - to offer my thanks.  It's very comforting to be able to make a prayer there in Tokyo. It's something familiar, yet different... Interesting!

In case you are wondering, the queue is for making a quick prayer and making a donation afterwards. Japanese queue for everything! That's very civilised!

They must be newly weds! So sweet and pretty pretty. Hmm, must resolve to get a Japanese girlfriend! My heart flutters.

An American tourist asked them to pose for his travel pic. So I just piggy-backed on the photo opportunity. Mine is a candid shot, the American's one is posed. Same same but different! LOL!

I am shocked! What is he doing? Should I say:

"Not in front of the children?"

"Get a room?"

I was at this "modern" and "popular" noodle house I think in the Shibuya area. My mistake was ordering my noodles with a clear broth. Tasted very "clear". LOL!

Well, that's part of the eating experience. It's a bit like investing - sometimes you get winners (I will buy again!), sometimes you get "oops" (I will not touch this stock again!)  

At least I have the opportunity to admire the decor and look at the interesting patrons. Hmm, defintely not company men out for lunch...

These 2 young teenagers were sitting opposite me. Havoc or what? Ah! How nice to be young again. The joys of youth... I think the girl's look is called the 101 hot babe look? The young girls will tan or paint themselves dark dark and put on white or pale eye shadows and lipsticks. That was 2008; not sure whether this style has survived...

Pachinko! I've no clue how to play; but the blinking lights and sounds sure are mesmerising. I think that's why some traders are addicted to the blinking trading screens too?

I guess the objective is to collect the ball bearings (see the trays on the floor), and exchange them for gifts/money at the end of the day.

Next time I visit Japan must pluck up the courage to try it!

I think the best way to "see" the inhabitants of a city is by taking the metro. Here is one quick candid shot.

That's the advantage of the idiot proof automatic cameras. Just point and shoot. No fiddling with focus, exposure, or framing. Just shoot a lot, some will come out nice!

Must be fast. Shoot and pretend nothing has happended. I don't want to get into situations where people challenge me: "Why you taking my picture?"

Don't believe? Try taking a picture in our Singapore MRT and see what response you get... LOL!

I stumbled onto this store at the Harajuku area frequented by teenagers. A bit like our Bugis area.

I swear I not looking for Lolitas! Honest!!!

I am more into mature ladies and cougars. Any sugar mummies out there?

Ta da! Live mannequins I spotted at the Shibuya junction. Lolita sweet sweet! Gothic I did not find on the streets. Only in the comic book stores at the maid cafes on the top floor... I heard our maid cafe at Funan has closed down? Once again, culture not so easy to copy paste one...

Teenagers at Shibuya. I remember thinking to myself why so many teenagers going to the airport? Only discussing with my Japanese colleagues that I realise that there is this Hello Kitty craze where these teenagers carry these carry-on luggage bags like handbag alternatives!? Huh!? Like that also can?  

Hello Kitty did so what!? So can!

I was walking the evening streets of Shinjuku when I chanced upon this group of mature Japanese ladies. That's my target group! There were bowing and saying goodbye for a whole 10 minutes!? Everyone so polite. Smiles all over. Good mix of modern and traditional dressing.

I walked away with a smile in my heart. Slept very well that night.

Shinjuku in the night. Studio ALTA is a popular meeting place - like our Raffles City.

You may be wondering why this shot is here? Shouldn't it be under the Tokyo buildings post previously? You guess!

Too late! I don't know about you, but I was bird watching the digital people :)


  1. SMOL,

    LOL, interesting diversion => pretty baju.


  2. Hi Skipper!

    Bird watching is my profession.

    Speculation is the diversion. LOL!

    Glad you like the baju too!

  3. SMOL
    The dark dark look with pale make-up is OVER...
    If one look like this will be laff at lor...LOL

  4. Hey Glayz!

    Oh! Over liao?

    That's good! I am now into my white porcelain phase anyway :)

    Wee-bit, wee-bit (I can do amphibian impressions too!)

  5. Hi SMOL,

    I was in Japan in 2008 too! But was there in december. From your pictures, seems like you were there during summer?

    I loved visiting Japan alot. Till now I watch Japan hour every weekend to get my Japan culture fix. Did you had chance to try their onsen?

    On a side note, sorry about their economy and the "lost decade". I think their economic story has much lesson for investors/speculators alike!


  6. Hi SMOL

    Nice photographs of your trip to Tokyo.

    Japan and the major cities are on my list of places to visit before I become too old. Also gives me incentive to learn some conversational Japanese and Korean :-)

    Be well and prosper.

  7. Hello sm@ll.fry,

    Yes, I was lucky to be there in summer that week when they were celebrating this summer festival where they let off fireworks and put on their summer kimonos ;)

    I did not try their hot springs. I think I will return to Japan during winter next time to try the hot springs and see their white winter landscape!

    As for Japan's lost decade, sooner or later they may have to do what Singapore has done. Open their doors to foreign workers/immigration. Innovation does not come from an aging society...

    I know it's politically sensitive... Its whether you prefer stagnant dead water in our lake, or allow new river streams into our lake and an outlet flow to the ocean.

  8. Panzer,

    You naughty naughty! Got Korean mei mei still not enough... Japanese kawaii also want ;)

    Lucky your target group and mine different. Phew! Less competition.

    I ammo storeman cannot compete with panzer grenadier :( Your army vocation more power! LOL!


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