Weekly Photo Challenge:Unique

Posted: 06/02/2013 in Weekly Photo Challenge.
Tags: , ,

So the Weekly Photo challenge is Unique.

For me unique means a lot of things, something that stands out, a unique person, a unique culture etc. Of all the places I have been the most unique has got to be Japan for a variety of reasons. A lot of Asian countries have their own little quirks, but Japan has more than any other I have been to. I love it for the history, the culture, the wacky things and just the sheer beauty of the place.So I thought I would share a few photos from the trip I made last year.

I initially was going to go to Japan in Easter 2011 and had my tickets and train pass booked. I was going to go to Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima all by bullet train with stays in all of them for at least 4 days. I had planned out what I was going to do with the help of a parent of one of our Japanese students. Then of course disaster struck the Japanese people in the form of a massive earthquake and I was warned not to go to Japan by the same parents that had helped me to plan my Journey. I was gutted, I really wanted to go it was No. 1 on my places to visit when I arrived in Hong Kong, and here I was 5 years in and still I had not made it there. I even considered going anyway but then common sense prevailed, I got my money back for my flight and for my train pass.

Roll forward a year to Easter 2012 and I was determined to go visit Japan, I did not have as long off and so I could not do the same Itinerary, i did not have as many days. So that plan went out the window and I went for 8 days to Tokyo instead. I got lucky on the way out I got bumped by Cathay Pacific up to Business class, a good way to start the trip.

So I arrived and I just loved the feel of the place. The way they do stuff is so regimented in some ways but so beautiful. they admire beauty. The image below is of barrels of rice wine and I just find the artwork on it fascinating.

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One of the quirkiest thing I saw in Akihabara, which is a computer district of Tokyo where all the gamers hang out is the maid cafes. They have great big advertisements on the sides of buildings and girls on the street, or balconies trying to get people to go in.

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I must admit I went in to one and it was really bizarre. you get lots of women going in along with the gamers and quite a few famous people. I sat where the back street boys sat when they went to the one I was in.( they had a video looping of them going there on a few TV’s along with a plaque on the table.) Anyway I ordered a cake and a coke and when they bring it to you they have to do Maid magic to make it taste better. It is a weird thing they say with the heart symbols in their hands.

Anyway the cake I got looks  like this. SAM_0754

Another quirky thing I saw was the Cat House in a department store near Shinjuku. Basically people do not have much space in their houses but they like pets. So what they do is they pay some money and they go to a place that has lots of cats in an area roaming around and sleeping etc., and you get to feed them and pet them. It sounds weird but in a way it makes sense to me, you get all the best bits and none of the hassle, cleaning up the litter tray for example. SAM_0762

I could not leave without sharing some of the beautiful blossoms and plants I saw. Cherry Blossom season is important to the people of Japan, they have watches and prediction like we do for the weather about when the blossom will happen. They even have a festival for it called Hanami which literally translates as viewing flowers. Below are two girls in traditional dress walking under the blossoms that have just freshly opened in one of the big parks. I was lucky to see this as it was on my last full day and it was supposed to happen the day after I flew out when I initially arrived.Luckily I had a couple of warmer day to speed it all up.

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People turn up in their thousands to see the blossoms and will actually party as family groups or as a work group. SAM_0976

Here you can see the tarpaulins laid out ready for them to arrive with the food. Basically some people turn up, stake out an area and then wait for their friends. Or as I understand it in some cases junior work colleagues who wait for their bosses.

The final Image I am going to share is not of a cherry blossom but another kind of flower that I really like the look of. it looks almost fake like a carved soap flower.

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So there you have my unique photo challenge. Japan a unique place in so many ways.

I know that it is a long post with quite a few pictures but I really feel like there is so much more I would love to share of my trip to Japan. I am definitely going to return.

Jamie.

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Comments
  1. endlessframe says:

    Just got back from Japan. I live in Korea and was bowled over by the differences, I am now considering moving there next year

  2. We heard about the Maid Cafes but wasn’t able to go there when we visited Japan in 2012. Is it true that their price is a bit pricey? Also, is it really worth going inside? Cheers!

    • They are really kind of weird in their own special way, but that is what makes them so unique an experience. Pricey, maybe I can not really remember but then again everything is expensive in Japan.

  3. becky6259 says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed going along on your lovely stroll around a bit of Tokyo, and that flower at the end is a beautiful shot!

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