My camera takes only monochromatic images. It was a deliberate decision I made three years ago. Some puzzled peers from time to time would ask why I don’t “upgrade” to one that shoots colours. It’s hard to explain my fascination with tones and the appreciation of light intensity without the distraction of colours. I feel that life can be simpler that way.
Going places in Tokyo was largely dependent on her renowned train network. I experienced firsthand the famous squeeze of peak hour – when I thought they couldn’t possibly pack another commuter into the already stuffed train, they did so with another ten. I termed this “sardine can commute” and if claustrophobia isn’t a concern, it does come with its advantage – I needn’t hold on to any railing, everyone was leaning on to each other for support. I was glad I “squeezed” every drop out of this experience and I certified myself a true Tokyo visitor now.
The language barrier in Tokyo went on hiatus when we chanced upon this restaurant ran by a Taiwanese couple. Mandarin has never sounded so beautiful until then simply because I could understand and converse in it. Apart from language, there’re actually many similarities between people in Tokyo and where I come from. Here, the owner and I shared a common moment – we took a break.
My search for authenticity brought me into some alleys in Shinjuku. There, I beheld a world of little eateries like I’ve entered another dimension. Each shop presented that familiar irony of cram and coziness which I’ve seen many times in movies and videos before. Walking amidst the delicious aromas permeated from them seemed so unreal to me. I kept saying to myself “I’m really here in Tokyo”…
If a book is a dream we hold in our hands, then a bookstore is a place to buy dreams. I was glad to chanced upon this little corner store. I marvelled at the many book covers that promised the discoveries you’d find and the adventures to embark upon. I may not understand Japanese, but it was good to hold up a book, flip its pages and enjoy the scent of fresh pages. Dreams do smell good.
Shinjuku, Tokyo. My first visit to the amazing land of rising sun. The culture struck me hard on how orderly the Japanese are. I meant this as a high compliment. Zebra stripes are on the road everywhere. They are meticulously painted on every road, big or small. The distances among each stripe are perfectly uniformed, a characteristic that reflects how much the Japanese takes pride to details.
No chatting please, we’re working. Contrarily, communication is key to work effectiveness. In our age, we’ve replaced this all important term and called it messaging. We proudly flaunt our digital tools to do so, to the point we’re losing that essential personal touch. Have we become more efficient but less effective? What do you think?