I took these photos of the area between Shibuya station and the Hikarie building last summer, but forgot to post them, so here goes, the beautiful blue hour with a great sky! The Shibuya station and the area around it is going through a reconstruction phase that has been going on for over a decade and will probably be going on for a couple more! With a city the size of Tokyo you need to have a really long planning phase and I read somewhere that plans for how Shibuya would look in 2050 was drawn up already in the 1950s. If you have ever been in Tokyo, chances are that you have been one of the 2.4 million people passing through this station every day. Enjoy!
Sometimes you just stumble upon amazing performances – for free – if you just keep yourself busy enough and are not afraid to explore the back streets of Tokyo. On a converted parking lot in Shibuya back in September I saw the music and performance art group Kao=S, with amongst others the gorgeous Kaori Kawabuchi (川渕かおり) and led by guitarist Shuji Yamagiri (山切修二), in the first photo, who is known among gamers and otaku alike as one of the main motion actresses for the hit game Final Fantasy where she used her sword performance skills to help give the computer generated characters a realistic motion pattern. I am not sure that performing in broad daylight is the most fitting for a group like this, but they pulled it off well in the scorching sun and way above 34 degrees heat. The musicians and sword performers combine to make an exciting and artistic show, I wish I could have gotten good shots of the entire cast, but most of my shots were lost due to the glaring sun blowing out most highlights. If you want to see snippets of their show I recommend heading over to their homepage here. And by the way, I didn’t do any photoshop on the girl in the last photo, she must have the most amazing skin of any human being alive in Japan today – absolutely flawless. Either that or she is a remarkable talent in the world of cosmetics.
I have seen most domestic animals I can think of at festivals in Japan, mostly perched on the shoulders of their owners or on a leash behind them – ferrets, dogs, pigs, monkey, parrots, etc. but by far the most photogenic of the many festival loving animals of Japan are the cats – there seems to be something about them that makes you want to dress them up in a cute dress and take out to town! Here’s one such festival cat I found in Shibuya, this summer. His owner must have used to being photographed so I clicked away! Now, if only I could find a donkey in a jinbei or a lizard in a loincloth? Enjoy festival cat! You might remember an earlier and even prettier festival cat from Asakusa.
During the middle of the reign of Emperor Horikawa (the year 1092) to be exact, a shrine named Konnouhachimangu was founded in Shibuya, in what was then marsh lands and valleys tended by rice farmers in what would hundreds of years later become Tokyo. A couple of weeks ago, at the very same shrine although probably not the original wooden structure, the shrine organized, just for fun, a karaoke concert. Who said Japanese traditions aren’t keeping pace with modern times? Anyone could volunteer to perform and there was a long line of people eager to show of their skills. I took these photos just as a young woman performed the only English song of the evening, I think it was James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”, and she did it beautifully to much applause. The man next in line performed a classic Okinawan folk song that had everyone in the audience singing along! I absolutely love these random events and happenings that you run into living here in Tokyo. Who knew a shrine would have a karaoke concert?