Tokyo, Japan

 

Last December, my family and I visited a place I’ve been itching to travel to for the longest time. Winter in Tokyo, a cold Christmas. I’ve always wondered how true to life the sceneries in anime shows are, especially their popular districts such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Akihabara and Harajuku, to name a few. Here are a few shots that can’t quite paint the entire picture of my trip, but are certainly worth sharing. ♡

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Painted with neon lights and christened by footsteps from all walks of life, Shibuya Crossing, the large, bustling pedestrian lane known as ‘The Scramble’, is a display unlike any other. A spectacle of organized chaos, an amalgamation of people in the process of their plans and hustles, the energy and collective determination is contagious.

View from the hotel room, Shinjuku

The view from our room in Shinjuku at 6:36 AM. I’ve always been one to wake up earlier than the rest, as I love witnessing the world silent and in its raw, fetus-like state. As I carefully set the curtain aside, I gaze below and far beyond the misty glass window.

I think about about the staleness of Tokyo on a winter day, its people straight-faced and laconic, swiftly going about their daily commute in an almost trance-like state. It makes me understand, empathetic even, towards the catharsis that is their sublime underground nightlife, and why the kinds of quirks and fetishes birthed from the nation exists. How many kinds of lives can you lead?

Which kinds of lives can I lead if I push myself hard enough?

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From a cable car up above, suspended in the frosty winter air. Pressed against the edge of the cable car, I place my fingertips on the glass and exhale slowly. Through the fog, my eyes gaze in wonder at the symmetry of the trees and the perfectly curved road beneath. Suddenly, I feel as if I’m in a high-definition animation and I was made of pixels.

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On a boat at Lake Ashinoko, my legs shaking beneath my jeans through the icy temperature, my fingers literally ached to take this photo. I’m not sure how or why, but the stillness of this scene, which I feel isn’t quite captured in this photo, made my chest tighten. The pale shades of green and brown, the water’s emerald green, the unmoving empty boats. It is all so beautiful. If anyone has paused at this chest-constricting view and felt the exact same way—that I do not know, nor will I ever.

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Lake Ashinoko viewed from the third floor of a building nearby. What an interesting juxtaposition for a Filipino like me, who isn’t used to seeing buses, cars and buildings near mountains and lakes. What a quaint sight.

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Lost in saying something, anything about this, I google, “Why do people like to eat ice cream in cold weather?” only to come to the realization that some questions cannot be explained by search engine answers. This can be applied to almost all things in life, whether it be eating ice cream in winter or studying a subject unrelated to your career path, if it makes you happy, then why the hell not? Life can really be that simple.

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Mount Fuji from one of the station’s perspective. I imagine all the hikers who have stepped where I stood, how they gazed at the peak with determination despite how intimidating it looks.

I focus my eyes on the peak amidst the harsh wind and hear myself think, I will climb you one day.

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The air was crisp and the sky looked as vast as it could be during our short visit to Moto-Hakone. Gazing at the sweeping expanse of the sky and the tiny human silhouettes along the horizon, I am reminded of our minuscule place in the universe.

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A young couple climbing the stairs to the foredeck. It makes you wonder, how many times have we been immortalized in photos taken by strangers?

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Harajuku in the morning, with its shops still closed and its inhabitants sound asleep. Waking up fairly early to take photos of the graffiti was worth every lost minute of sleep. Curious as to how conspicuous graffiti has become in the area, I’ve searched around a bit and read how graffiti emerged during postwar Japan, where there was a shift to “de-Americanization”. What a spirited exclamation of youth fashion.

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People heading places before noon. A scene where the car to person ratio still floors me. There appears to be no fallen leaves from the tree, which has lovely yellow desiccated leaves hanging on through winter. Just as there is an absence of leaf-litter, which was presumably cleaned up, what has fallen must be dealt with to give way to a clean slate. Brush them off, move on, keep going.

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A lady walking on an empty street, looking like she’s on a mission. Ganbatte, oneesan!

COMMENTS

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Olya
December 15, 2016 10:00 PM

What a great post! Tokyo is a great city to visit! Your photos are incredible. I loved it while reading. Your post is written very well! I love it!

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Airina Desuyo
August 2, 2016 4:14 PM

Great post. I like how you write dear, I almost thought I’m reading a romance book. I also like you blog’s look: very clean. Keep it up!

airinaapril.blogspot.com

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    Danna Peña
    August 2, 2016 8:32 PM

    Hopefully, I’d be able to write a book in the future! If it’s about romance, well, that I’m not quite sure of. Haha. Thank you so much, Airina!

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Roxanne Tamayo
August 2, 2016 12:17 AM

Hi! Wow I’ve been to Japan twice in 2015 also. I was there from May to June 2015 then November to December 2015. I love Japan and it was my first solo travel out of the country. It was the first time i experienced the cold weather, autumn season. I felt like it was winter already but no snow. Hehe

Here’s some of the photos I took in Tokyo. Yes I fell in love with Japan

http://www.itravelrox.com/2015/12/16/photos-autumn-in-japan-2015/

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    Danna Peña
    August 2, 2016 8:48 PM

    I’d love to visit Japan during the autumn season! Solo travelling there would be interesting as well. Where did you stay during your solo travel? 🙂

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    Danna Peña
    August 2, 2016 9:00 PM

    Hey, Roxanne! Tried visiting your link but it says page cannot be found.

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    Roxanne
    September 4, 2016 4:40 PM

    Hi Danna,

    I already fixed it. I mostly stayed in Tokyo – Shinjuku, Shin-Okubo and Asakusa. 😀

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Thet Gueco
July 27, 2016 5:23 PM

Travelling to Japan is pricey, glad to see that you enjoy your trip and your shots are so good, what camera do you use?

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    Danna Peña
    July 31, 2016 6:04 PM

    Thank you, Thet! I use an iPhone 6S. 🙂 Really looking into upgrading my “camera” though!

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princess may
July 25, 2016 10:03 AM

japan’ really one for photo-ops with all those beautiful sceneries. your style and how you took those photos are so instagrammable as others would say. continue writing and sharing your travels. loved it! ♥

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 8:53 PM

    Japan really is very picturesque, especially its urban areas. Wish I took more photos of the city life! Thank you, Princess!

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unheard writer
July 24, 2016 10:20 PM

One more thing, I’ll keep your blog open and sure to be visiting some more. The music here makes, gives the focus I need. Thank you truly much.

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Unheard Writer
July 24, 2016 10:18 PM

I thought it was my YT playlist playing. Then the music put me in a trance whilst looking at the photos you shared. What kind of sorcery is this!? The photos and the music in the background along with your magical writing made me feel the emotions. It makes a simple guy like me teary. If beauty can be explained through a blog post, then this must be truly it.

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 9:16 PM

    That is very sweet of you! I tried to make the playlist as relaxing as I could (and most suitable for my style of photography), so I’m really happy that you enjoyed reading this. Keep in touch, Erwin! xx

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RC
July 23, 2016 4:19 PM

Lovely photos. I can’t stand the cold. I haven’t been to Japan and I’m sure I’ll never go there during winter. Gosh, I can’t even stand Hong Kong winter, what more in Japan. But looks like you enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see Japan April next year.

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 9:59 PM

    Japan during the winter really is something, especially to someone from a tropical country. Haha! April would be an ideal time to visit Japan if you prefer cool weather, definitely! Safe travels, RC!

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Chasing Potaotes
July 23, 2016 1:13 PM

Love the words you use on how you describe every picture and your photos are amazinggggg! ♥ Ugggghhh! I am envious with your travels. Thank you so much for sharing. ♥

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 10:24 PM

    My trusty iPhone 6S really does come in handy! Thank you so much!

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I Wandered Solo (Christian Z)
July 23, 2016 1:08 PM

First of all, can I just say that I LOVE your style of writing. Your perspective and how you convey them into written form is just beautiful.

Japan is the number 1 country on my bucket list to visit in Asia. Stunning photographs! Thanks for sharing!

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 10:27 PM

    I’m so glad you enjoyed my writing, feels great to be able to relate to people through them. Japan is amazing and feels like it’s its own world! Thank you, Christian!

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Mike
July 23, 2016 12:33 PM

Japan is really picturesque! By the way love your style and photographs <3

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 10:29 PM

    Thank you for your love and light, Mike!

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Jessi
July 22, 2016 4:57 PM

I love the way you look at things! I’ve also been completely captivated by the energy of Shibuya Crossing, and wondered how many times I’ve been snapped in someone’s holiday photos. Keep up the incredible work x

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    Danna Peña
    July 26, 2016 10:31 PM

    The word ‘incredible’ is such a compliment. Thank you so much, Jessi!

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