So I went for some rugby trials last week. They were for the Japanese national 7's team (crazy) and were a ton of fun. It started really early, so I had to stay in Mitaka overnight. It's now my new favourite residential area in Japan, there's tons of green space, museums and interesting spaces. Really nice. Anyway, pictures!
There are also a lot of flower shops in Mitaka. I don't know why.
A bed of purple things.
This guy is all over Japan. He's one of the candidates for some kind of election (who knows what?) and is one of the religious leaders here, apparently. (That is to say, he's religious in his outlook, not necessarily a priest.)
This is a typical small shrine, found all around the country.
This is someones garage entrance, interesting design lives!
I can't remember what kind of food this is, but it looked pretty delicious. It was before the restaurant opened so I didn't try any, but the guy was kind enough to let me take a picture.
Some old cameras. Not my area of interest, but they were quite interesting anyway.
A random chef. He smiled afterwards, honest!
They try to pretty up the streets in any way possible. (Fake) copper lanterns count as prettying, apparently.
Yet more flowers.
Bill and Ben, Japanese style.
Even more flowers.
A tall building. I've no idea why this one building was so tall, there really were no other buildings of the same size anywhere near this area. With all the flower shops and parks, I've got to assume this area has a lot of money floating around.
People don't like their pictures being taken, but they don't mind their dogs being shot.
One of the dancers from the original YMCA group.
Like a bicycle stand, but for mopeds.
I bought a few things from this shop. It seemed to be a local craft shop, with products made by the local knitting circle that I stumbled across.
I had to shoot at 24mm because the shop was tiny. Not the most flattering angle, but I couldn't fit any other way.
This is a fairly typical sight regardless of where you are in Japan. They love neon and flashing lights. The question has to be, if everyone has showy signs with lights and music, how does anyone get an advantage from putting on such displays?
I wondered whether this extremely interesting arch was man-made or a happy accident.
You can just about see the house on the left has a green roof. That's actually grass, and any near horizontal surfaces are covered in grass and plants.
On the way to look at the Ghibli museum (I didn't have enough time to go inside, just had a look around) you pass through a park. The park emanates the kind of whimsy feel you expect from the movies; it's a good fit.
This is the exterior of the museum, at closing time.
Another dog. Like I said, no one likes having their pictures taken, but everyone loves their dogs being photographed.
There were a couple of old fashioned buildings hidden inside the park. This was one of them. It was quite late by the time I'd made it to the park, so everything is a bit dark and blurry. Whoops.
I poked my head over the gate to take this, nearly impaling myself in the process. They had barbed wire wrapped around the gate which I felt was somewhat approaching overkill, especially considering this looks like a religious building.
This is one of the lakes in the park. Again, it's quite dark but there's nothing that can be done about that considering the lateness of the hour.
A bridge leading to another shrine. Pretty self-explanatory really.
Guess what this is a picture of.
This guy was taking pictures of people as they passed over the bridge, with his giant camera. I managed to take his picture before he could take mine. Score one for the novice.
This grilled chicken restaurant is immensely popular, and according to the local shopkeepers is packed every single night. That queue is heading downstairs, then upstairs, then downstairs into the restaurant, or up for takeaway. Mental.
The perfect example of an 'almost,' picture. The only one I managed to take of this dog that was in focus, and I missed the head.
This shop was dedicated to all things English. I've no idea why. Who would want to run a shop like that?
They love cute things, even if they're borderline terrifying like this guy.
He's the brother of the YMCA guy from before, but I couldn't manage to get him dancing.
The streets around the next station (I walked from one to the other by accident, I was just wandering) are extremely busy. The people have an ability to part when a bus is bearing down on them, even if it's coming up from behind. They don't need to look, and the buses are actually damn quiet. The same thing for cars and bicycles. This leads me to the conclusion that they must be ninja.
There aren't many estate agents that employ such pictures to sell their houses. It's relatively unique, if somewhat confusing.
Yet another flower shop.
So I stayed in a capsule hotel, which is basically a coffin with a curtain. Mine also had a computer, but it was too dusty/old to do anything without sounding like Concorde was landing next door.
The coffins double up. One up, one down.
My shoes were horrifically smelly, needless to say they lived outside.
There weren't many people at the trial, but the ones I met were pretty nice. By met I actually mean talk to, because the atmosphere was pretty standoffish.
There were three foreigners, one aussie, me, and this guy, a Fijian. Pretty handy as you might expect from a Fijian.
The Toshiba factory complex is massive, and has one huge free standing tower right in the middle of it. No one could figure out the purpose of it, I'm pretty sure everyone agreed it was phallic.
I don't know why the two guys in the middle were doing the haka. No idea.
All that haka made them sleepy.
There were a few caged kittens on the way back to the station. I don't know whether they were being exploited for charitable reasons, but the locals couldn't get enough.
The long walk back home.
The train racing a car, on the way back home.
Red lights mean walk, right?
And that's it. Next time I head out into the wild I'll take some more pictures, but for the last three days I've been exceptionally lazy (I've not been to the gym once!) because the buildup to this particular weekend was quite hectic. Recovery time.