Saturday, 9 October 2010


Ueno has been cleaned up over the years.
However, the streets are still grimy, the back streets are still seedy, the fish market is still smelly and the park still attracts the homeless.
I remember Ueno was quite a shit hole when I was first in Tokyo 8 years ago.
It's certainly a long way off being upmarket, and that's probably why I like it.
Still, the effort to make it more presentable is evident.

I find Ueno has a mix of Shinjuku's neon and crowded streets, coupled with the feel of Nakano's backstreets, and yet manages to keep it own uniqueness with a big open air market.

It's well-worth a visit for the market and just to wander.
Keep out of the zoo, though.
It's quite depressing and very small.
You'll feel very sorry for the inhabitants...


A few snaps from around the streets.
Note that the toy shop.
This is a great shop that specialises in replica ball bearing guns and "celebrity" masks.
Quite a mix.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Okubo Station

Took this from the platform of Okubo Station.
Okubo is sometimes referred to as "Korean Town".
Next stop to Shinjuku.

Friday, 2 July 2010


MJ tribute near Nakano Station.
There's two walls that are designated for graffiti artists along the train tracks from Nakano to Koenji.
From the North exit.
Turn left.
Cross the street.
Go up the hill and past the bike park.
Keep going.

Google belx2


Asagaya Lanterns

Monday, 14 June 2010

Garden Pop Machine

I'm sure, just like me, that you've always dreamt of having a vending machine stuck on your front drive.
Behold and be jealous...
In the backstreets of Asagaya.

Around Shimokitazawa

In a huge city like Tokyo, it's always nice to visit a district that keeps it real with independant traders.
Shimokitazawa is one such place.
Of course it's always going to be hard to wander around without Mcdonalds/Starbucks/KFC rammed in your face, but this place tries hard to honour the Liitle Man.
Similar to Koenji, with a younger Kichijoji/Shibuya crowd.

Shimokitazawa is planned for major reconstruction and demolition as a highway is built through it, much to the protest of residents and shoppers.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Tokyo Nobody

I found an interesting book the other day entitled: Tokyo Nobody, by photographer Masataka Nakano.
The pics appear to from the '90s.
He had the unenviable task of documenting Tokyo's streets and cityscapes minus human beings.
Hence the title of the book.

No easy task when you consider the population of Tokyo is roughly 12million, only cover the 23-wards, with up to 39 million when you take into account the Greater Tokyo area.

Defeinitely some time and effort gone into this one.
Quite a challenge that I might embark on myself.
You can check out some pics from the book here:

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Shinjuku New Building 3

Located through the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku, Tokyo.
More into Okubo actually, stands this monument of futuristic, one-of-a-kind architecture.

From the front, it's sandwiched between two other builings.
Standing head on, you can't really appreciate it in all its glory. It's only when you walk around the sides and back of the block on which it stands that you see its real beauty.

Apparently labelled as "Metabolism", this building was erected in the 70's.
Bolt-on capsule-like rooms were added and taken away when necessary. Apparently when someone moved in or out.

I was impressed by the sheer shape and size of the place.
With a friend, we ventured inside and up to the third floor. We were put off by the CCTV, and the fact that people were in the building, despite it no longer being a place of residence.
Besides, we tried the doors as we went up the staircase, only to find them all locked.
From the outside, we saw laundry hanging out to dry on one of the floors.
A postman actually delivered something to one of the floors as we stood in the lobby.
Who exactly is living there, or even running a business, is anyone's guess.
It is, quite literally, a squatters paradise.

And that's about it.
Impressive, neglected and mysterious.

Nakano Backstreets

North side of JR Nakano station.
Just off to the side of Nakano Broadway shopping centre.
The back streets are old and dirty with lots of character.
Nice faded Godzilla poster lurks in the window of a rundown shop.
There's a bit of nightlife and seediness with the hostess bars doing trade at night.