Tokyo Photo jog meguro setagaya_0412

I was up at 6am again today. After checking my emails, Twitter and Facebook, I spent about 4 minutes searching for the shorts that I was already wearing, then headed out onto the streets of Tokyo.

I remember someone in an interview being asked what part of Tokyo was their favourite. Their answer: “That early morning part of Tokyo”. I agree. Tokyo between 5am and 7am is a very different place to the Tokyo you’ll find during the rest of the daylight hours. It’s peaceful, nature is still playing the dominant role.

Documenting my jogs around Tokyo using a GPS tracker and camera (that is, Everytrail on the iPhone) gives me enormous pleasure. It turns what could simply be thought of as exercise into a mini-adventure. It helps me construct an image (both in my mind and on my mac) of the Tokyo in which I live. It reminds me that there are still many things to discover- right here on my doorstep. It also gives me a chance to photograph buildings – I am fascinated by Japanese architecture (whilst knowing nothing about it).

Here’s my jog this morning. As usual, it was not planned in the slightest – I just headed out in an unexplored direction and then checked Google Maps a couple of times on my trip to steer me in approximately the right direction.

Below is the interactive map – and some of the photos that I reposted to Flickr.

View this trip in 3D (complete with photos) in Google Earth here

View on Everytrail here

Tokyo photo run: Meguro-ku Sunday morning

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Community

A selection of the photos I took with my iPhone:

Life in a water butt
Tokyo Photo jog Living in a water butt

A shrine fox guardian. The bib is so that he doesn’t mess up his fur when eating.
Tokyo Photo jog Shrine Fox

Obama: Yes we can! …and on his way out on the left, Prime Minister Aso – who’s the chap in brown? (on the window of a traditional Japanese bar)
Tokyo Photo jog Obama and the locals

Stone wall of a temple
Tokyo Photo jog Stone Wall of temple

Meguro has a history of wanting to be upper class, thus the existence of ‘Meguro Ginza”
Tokyo Photo jog Meguro Ginza

Have you ever had a traffic cone that you’ve loved so much that you’ve wanted to protect it from the harsh reality of modern life on the street?
Tokyo Photo jog - Mummified cone

This still-under-construction circular ‘thing’, had me staring in puzzled disbelief. Situated right by the Meguro river, a large number of businesses and private homes had been bulldozed to make way for it. Reading the sign I could see that it was divided up into blocks – the huge concrete wall that towered about 4 storeys up had me thinking this was a new prison. Surely not, here in Meguro?

Tokyo Photo jog Amazing new road junction to take the motorway underground

It was only when I saw an artists impression of the finished complex that I understood what it was for. It’s the main point where Tokyo’s inner ringroad goes underground to join a new tunnel. The reason it’s so big is that vehicles will be circling around inside it.
Tokyo Photo jog - the new swirly whirly underground highway entrance

Baseball is hugely popular here. Many of my salary-men students work as volunteer baseball coaches for youth teams at the weekend.
Tokyo Photo jog Early Morning baseball

Many of Japan’s old steam trains can be found parked up in, erm, parks
Tokyo Photo jog Old steam train

This sign reads “Setagaya-ward Playpark Playleaders – Non (left) and Futa (right) – If there’s anything you don’t know just call us!”
Tokyo Photo jog Playpark playleaders

I then came across an extraordinary private collection of Mercedes (note four at the back too).
Tokyo Photo jog Provate Merc collection

…and a collection of oil bottles to keep them going!
Tokyo Photo jog oil for the Mercedes collection

Japan is yet to see all small private shops destroyed by chains – here we have a traditional liquor store (or Offy as I should say being British!)
Tokyo Photo jog - Traditional Liquor store

Fast forward 30 years and here we have the latest in perspex housing
Tokyo Photo jog - Glass House

Only a few hundred metres from home I discovered an American Movie Gallery store – which included lifesize Star Wars models, and a terminator.
Tokyo Photo jog R2D2 (lifesize)

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

One Response

  1. I’ve lost my Flickr account information and believe retrieval is related to an e-mail account I no longer possess so I’m going to comment here about the modern housing picture you put up. In our area, about 8 houses of that same style have gone up recently. It must be the new cookie cutter deal because they’re tall, but narrow. I think they put up multiple houses like that for generational housing – that is, parents in one house and kids in the next one. That allows them to live “together” while physically apart. I think that’s why two identical units always go up at the same time. I do hate though, that they make a bland, but fairly okay-looking house, and then build some horrid plastic sheet on the veranda to protect laundry from rain. Why go to all of the trouble to build a little cottage then put up something which looks like it belongs in a tent city at the top? It just spoils whatever appeal the housing has to see those ugly sheets.

    Also, I find it very bizarre to see Japanese people idolizing Obama the way they are. I don’t think an America kid has ever drawn a picture of another country’s current world leader or quoted him as part of school art thing. Sure, I’m happy he’s president instead of some Republican who would do a lot of things I wouldn’t agree with, but I still think it’s weird that other countries become so invested in our president. It sort of points to a lack of faith in their own country’s leadership, or at the least a lack of hope that they will act in any meaningful way.