Tokyobling's Blog

Roppongi Night and Day

Posted in Places by tokyobling on December 17, 2013

Visting Roppongi the other day I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the city. The first photo is of the main Tokyo Midtown building during the day. Tokyo Midtown is the latest of the grand city centers in Roppongi, following soon after Roppongi Hills. I can remember, vaguely, what Roppongi was like before these developments when large areas were still being dismantled after many decades of use by the US military. In fact Roppongi has a long history of military. It has always been associated with the Samurai class and the name itself, Six Trees, can be traced back to 1660. It is said that it reflects the names of six noble families living in the area but a more likely explanation is the fact that there were six very large zelkova trees, the last three of which were burned down in the fire bombings of 1945. Roppongi was home to Japanese Imperial army from 1890 until 1945, when the US Military took over. The area was already popular with foreign embassies and this combined with the century of soldiers helped create the lively entertainment business that is now the main attraction of Roppongi. There is everything from the cleanest fine art galleries to the seediest night clubs, often to be found side by side. It is also one of the most international spirited areas of Japan so it pays to be a little more careful.

The second photo is of the famous Roppongi street crossing that used to be the heart of the area. These days Hills and Midtown act as new centers of Roppongi and things have quieted down considerably around the old street crossing. The start of many a classic nights out drinking hard in Roppongi used be take place in front the Cafe Almond on this street crossing: one of those legendary Tokyo meeting spots.

I also got a photo of the Roppongi Hills Christmas tree and the (almost) annual event Whiskey Hills where a major Japanese whiskey brewery serves (very very very very cheap) shots of their best whiskey for people to enjoy under the cold winter night sky. It is hard to resist stopping by if and your friends are in the area anyway.












9 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on December 17, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Is that a Louise Bourgeois spider statue in the 4th and 5th photos? I saw one in San Francisco several years ago, but they removed it and I never found out where it was taken to. Apparently there are a number of them by the same artist, and they travel all over the world.


    • yoshizen said, on December 17, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Some years ago Louise Bourgeois Spider came to London too. Anyhow, she didn’t make one.
      Foundry somewhere made it following her sketch and as a first lot, 6 of them were made in 1996.
      It seems there are some different sizes and versions exists from 2.4m tall to 8m and not only made by
      bronze, the one Tate of London got was stainless steel.


    • tokyobling said, on December 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      You are right again, and there is a Wikipedia page about this too. (^-^)


  2. yoshizen said, on December 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I always feel a feeling of False impression from Roppongi = “Joking, don’t make me laugh”
    And it was exposed exactly in your photos ! —– in spite of cool clean building out-look,
    the people gathering there for “cheap whiskey” looks almost “a mob in the Paris commune” isn’t it.
    (I felt exactly the same on the English signed street on front of the air-base in Okinawa.)


    • tokyobling said, on December 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      Haha… well, Roppongi is an entertainment district that was really never left to its own, never given a chance to develop its own culture (which kinda makes it special anyway). Too many soldiers, occupiers, travelers, opportunists. I assure you that the whiskey is terribly expensive normally, it is just at this sales event that you have a chance to try them cheaply! (^-^)


      • yoshizen said, on December 18, 2013 at 12:36 am

        When we were young bad boys, there was a whisky
        called Toris and Santry Red (cost less than 1000yen par bottle). And in the academic, scientific institute
        there always the supply of 99.999% of Ethyl alcohol
        together with the authority who knows amazing recipe of chemicals to make-up whisky etc 😀
        —– though, later life I became almost a monk.
        (I didn’t give-up though, just no longer drink, smoke
        or touch a woman that all 😉 )


        • tokyobling said, on December 18, 2013 at 4:24 am

          We were all Bad Boys and Bad Girls when we grew up. Age make both wine and humans mellow! (^-^)


  3. osakagaijin said, on December 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, as always very nice perspectives. Also I am wondering how you manage to get this high contrasts of subtle clouds in the sky and also heavy lights while at the same time dark shadows and strong colors. Amazing!


    • tokyobling said, on December 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you! I do some basic burn/dodge on the highlights (skies) and shadows (buildings) in photos like this. But mostly it is about being lucky enough to shoot into the right directions for the time of the day. North/West facing photos will generally give you nice skies during the day, as in the first two photos. The photos of Roppongi Hills were taken during the golden hour, the last little bit of light before the darkness of the night, which is the perfect time of the day to photography almost anything!


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