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