A Sunday in Tokyo

Compared to the staid and professional financial district of Otemachi where I had spent much of the week, Shibuya on a Sunday afternoon was a fizzing hive of youthful energy and activity.

Arriving at Shibuya via the efficient metro system, I first attempted to photograph the famous crossing, with (initially) limited success. I had read there was a Starbucks overlooking the crossing, although it is actually part of a multi-storey record store with a vast inventory of CDs and vinyl records, the like of which I thought been consigned to history. As promised, there was bar seating next to the huge windows although every seat was full, not of the gawping tourists that I aspired to be, but mostly students, either alone with laptops or chatting with a friend. There was also a huge queue for a coffee so I left and instead enjoyed a very good pasta lunch at a window table in Café L’Occitane just around the corner while capturing a time-lapse video of the crossing.

After exploring some uniquely Japanese shops such as Tokyu Hands and Mega Don Quijote, I walked into an adjacent area and enjoyed a coffee break at Lonely Planet recommended Fuglen. This may be a Norwegian coffee chain by origin but the coffee was good, and clearly adopted as the neighbourhood hangout by the locals.

After dinner, another Lonely Planet recommendation allowed me to capture some sunset photos of Shibuya from the 9th floor of a nearby arts centre/theatre building. The final photo of the three below was captured near the more serene Imperial Palace.

The joy of a window seat on a fine day

I chose a window seat for my first plane trip in over two years and I was not disappointed. After taking off from Heathrow we turned to the east and traced the route of the Thames to the sea. The summer weather meant there were crystal clear views of the green and pleasant land south of London, bisected by the M25!

After flying over Kent, the picturesque coast of France came into view, along with the busy shipping lane that is the English Channel–I had forgotten just how captivating it can be to study the earth below—no reading book or other entertainment was needed for the first thirty or so minutes of the flight. A few hours later I saw some astonishing cloud formations over Germany, and then at the end of the journey I was treated to my first views of Tokyo.