18 January 2007

The Little Ol' Place I Call Home

Via Boing Boing: "Flickr user /\ltus has posted a stunning "high dynamic range" photo of the Tokyo skyline. HDR photos merge several shots at different exposures to create a hyperreal color that has to be seen to be believed. Be sure to view at full-size for maximum effect."
I attached the full-size here (click to enlarge) or you can see compressed version at his Flickr site. The photos were taken from the top of the Mori Building in the 'Pong on a rainy night. Even so, the detail on the buildings is incredible.

I feel as though I'm living in the setting of a futuristic computer game.

I felt a bit intimidated by the absolute enormity* of Tokyo when I first arrived. How the hell was I going to forge a life for myself? My cunning plan to leave all that was near and dear to me and live in Japan suddenly seemed to be rather foolish and rash. I didn't know anything about Japan - heck, I could hardly place it on a map before I got here - and couldn't (er, and still can't) speak Japanese. I didn't have a job lined up.

I've never been a 'planner' and have always thought that a quick decision is a good one. Oh, I have come to rue that philosophy on many occasions. Although I have not yet worked out what I want from life, I never imagined that leaving Australia again would be part of it - I thought I would be more settled (a concept that generally motivates me to start packing) at this stage of my life.

Still, things work out in the end. They always do. Twenty-one months later and I don't want to be anywhere else**. The recent interview for the London job made me realise this. I thought I wanted to live in the UK and that Japan was merely a stepping stone to getting there - and perhaps in the long run it will be - but my time here is not yet complete.

The memory of seeing Shinjuku and Shibuya for the first time stays with me. The palpable energy and pulse of the city was exciting and I had that feeling you get when you're a foreigner in a very foreign land: anything is possible. Even now, not a day has gone by without thinking with some surprise, 'Feck, I'm living in Tokyo!'

I've been meaning to take some photos from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku so you could see the sheer size of the city. Perhaps I still will, although my photos will look like old faded photocopies taken from an overdue library book compared to these amazing shots.

* Ha, and friends at home scoff at me for always getting lost.

**Don't think for a minute that this precludes any future whinging about living in Tokyo or Japan in general. It doesn't.


  1. Funny you should mention a computer game. First thing i thought when i saw this fantastic photo load was 'Sim City'. Wonderful, Gaijin Girl. How exciting it looks to be living there. Where are you from originally? I have some ex-students from Tokyo i might have mentioned this before (from teaching english as a foreign language)so as i look at this i think of them, somewhere down there (Hi Hiro lol).

  2. Holy Crap, G.G.! These are AMAZING!
    I'm gonna print 'em off and take 'em to Japanese class tonight to make Mayuko homesick.
    And PLEASE give us some shots from the top of the Tokyo Met Gov Building. I've seen a few in books but to know you'v gone up therre yourself and taken them for us would be brilliant.
    I'm SOO tempted to cancel building my house extension and use the money to live in Toyko for a bit (though unfortunately I'm too sane and sensible to do that).

  3. Wow, those pics are sick. You should just tell people they were taken from GGHQ.

    I like your theory that things inevitably work out. Now I just have to convince myself it's true, as I bite into my self-prepared Fugu.

  4. Do it Dive. When you meet the girl of your dreams, as you so want, you won't be able to as your life will have more commitment. Go to Tokyo. Do it now.

  5. Hey GG! BRILLIANT shots...WOW! Is there a green tree-lined park in there SOMEWHERE? LOL!

    And Dive...heed Lynn's advice...sooooooooooooo true...hmmmmm....


  6. Wow. I can see what made it so overwhelming. Good for you for sticking with it.

    And great no-more Bush clock. I only wish it was all zeros.

  7. lady lynn - aren't they fantastic. it can be very exciting here, but, like anywhere else, you also just get caught up in day to day living.
    i'm a born and bred melbourne gal.
    i work with a guy named hiro (although there are probably millions) so i'll ask him if he knows you. :)

    dive - holy crap indeed - your printer must rock if you can print out such high definition photos. now i have computer and printer envy. did mayuko like them?
    wow, that's so sweet of you to say, so i will definitely take some pics from the g'ment building. i'll head up there tomorrow.
    i don't see what's stopping you from living in japan. you probably should be here more than me as i don't appreciate the culture like you do. being sane and sensible is so last century.

    hame - ha, feck! the post title should have been 'view from balcony at gghq'. is it too late to edit...?
    and when i say things work out, i mean i haven't managed to get myself killed, which is the benchmark by which i judge my life. you're not the only brilliant high-achiever in this conversation.
    i trust you followed the fugu with some mochi (see explanation in comments of previous post).

    lady lynn - dive, what she said.

    ame - they are brilliant shots; i just wish i could have taken them myself. faded and unimpressive gg photos of tokes skyline to arrive on blog shortly. prepare to be blown away. there are actually heaps of parks in tokes - check here for some photos i took recently.
    er, dive, what she said.

    sassy - thanks mate. it's probably the hardest thing i've ever done and that kind of makes it more worthwhile. it has taken me a while to find my feet but i'm feeling good about where i'm at. this week anyway.
    hehe, the countdown clock is excellent. i hope to see it on yer site soon...

  8. Imagine if it was the Hiro i knew. That would indeed be incredible. I taught him in Southampton, UK about five years ago. Would be great to say hello, we became friends at the time. Go on a Hiro Hunt for me; Gaijin Girl Go!

  9. Alright. I give in. As soon as the house extension is built, then Tokyo it is.

  10. lady lynn - ah, this hiro studied in the states and has never been to the uk. i do like yer challenge, though. i have commenced the hunt for hiro!

    dive - i had a feeling you might throw in a condition or ten. tell me, why do you need an extension [she asks, living in a bedsit] when you live by yerself? how much space does a bloke need?

  11. GG; check through my archive when you've got a month to spare.
    I've got a recording studio and a library bigger than my village library, and a collection of modern art and all sorts of crap. I need SPACE!
    In the big pooey thing that was the mid-nineties that I don't talk about on my blog, I lost a lovely big house in the country and had to buy this place which is just NOT BIG ENOUGH!

    However, I WILL get to Tokyo.

  12. Cool pics GG! One is on my blog now. My blog which will hopefully see some more use in the near future...

  13. dive - you need space? when i lost most of my possessions after a river washed through my house, the difference between 'need' and 'want' changed for me. a simple life is the only way to go.
    of course, i am now very intrigued about what happened to yer lovely big house in the country. that's very sad. will that story appear on your blog one day?

    ximena - welcome back, my friend. i have been wondering if you were going to pick up the cyber pen again. great to see you back and look forward to more of yer beautiful prose.

    travelpeople - thanks!!! to all of you.

  14. I know about downsizing Dive. :( perhaps, i suspect, we have a similar story.
    Gaijin Girl Go Get that Hiro! x lol

  15. Thanks for popping over to the tank - it was great to have a chat and see a friendly face. No, we still haven't been fed... :( - Humphrey

  16. I have been living in sweet ignorance about just how crowded my surroundings are. Now that I've seen your pictures, I feel a bit clastraphobic! Those pictures are spectacular, and I, um, might need to "borrow" them for my blog. This will ensure that all my friends and family will look upon me with amazement. How have I managed to live in this great big city?!!! I used to get lost backing out of my driveway! Now I manage to navigate (using the trains of course) like a pro!

  17. Great pictures.... They would make incredible wall photos.

  18. dive - ok

    humph - my pleasure. i find it so relaxing to watch fish so i should be thanking you, my fillety friend. i heard you've now eaten so the world is at rights again.

    hi at - i know, it's incredible to see, isn't it. i can't stop looking at the photos and still feel a mini freak out to think i'm stumbling about in there somewhere. good on us, i reckon!
    oh, and of course take the pics; i pilfered them so it's a free for all.

    alberta guy - thanks for popping in. yes, the photos are amazing - it's just a shame i can't take credit for them :/
    i love the photos on yer blog and have subscribed to your rss feed. i haven't been to canada so it's nice to see what's there.

  19. Giggling at the thought of you in all that area of Tokyo, that maze of tangled lights and bodies, on a ...Hiro Hunt. How's it going? Quite apart from the impossible task i've set you and which you have gamely, generously accepted, how many Hiros are there. I'd giggle harder if you told me it's like finding a John in England.

  20. I like your life/work/living philosophy. Planning's overrated... as Lennon says, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

    And, whaaaa... I want to be in crowded old Tokyo!

  21. Those are frickin incredible photos. I'm the opposite to you, I tend to think too much before making my decisions...somewhere in between would be nice, eh?

  22. Ah I'm jealous.
    London will be great,
    but Tokyo looks amazing! Good on yer cobber.

  23. lynn - you are a hard taskmaster. hiro means something like 'broad, widespread', which pretty much sums up the challenge. it is also a common suffix for names for men e.g. hirohito, so there will be a few around. i ran a poll in the train carriage this morning but no joy so far. that was probably because nobody could understand me, though.

    b - i'm having a shitty week so i think my life stinks. as springsteen said, 'like a river that don't know where it's flowin', i took a wrong turn and i just kept goin'.'
    those sorry lines sum up my life.

    cancel yer london trip and just come over already! :)

    kav - yeah, somewhere in the middle would be nice! i blame my impulsiveness on my short attention span - can't be arsed weighing up the pros and cons. that's funny though, i would never have picked you as a weighy-uppy-all-the-options thingy type guy. you come across as a lot more mellow on yer blog.

    kieran - maaaaaaate. i've just watched 'finding nemo' (again) and can't stop saying it after hearing the aussie seagulls. which really has nothing to do with your comment other than you calling me cobber. yeah, tokes is exciting, she sighs, but london rocks too.

  24. I'm casual about most day-to-day things, but when it comes to the significant stuff, I'll always have to weigh everything up. I piss myself off no end. I'd just love to be able to go home and say "I've just booked us on a cruise! We leave tomorrow!"

    Maybe it's something to do with having kids.

  25. but what were you like before the rugrats happened along? i think weighing everything up sounds like a good way to be, coz then you're not likely to find yourself living in a foreign city that looks like a freaky set from some computer game :)
    heh heh, forethought is to be admired.

  26. LOL Poll for Hiro in the carriage. You're doing sterling work for lady lynn Gaijin Girl, it's remarkable. How about a poster or two?

  27. hehe, a poster is a fine idea, indeed. hm, i can't even make time for blogging at the moment so for the moment i shall write it on my list of things to do.
    ... although a television campaign would certainly get the ball rolling...

  28. he he how funny. Thing is, it's not like he was a great love of mine or anything. He was a student and we became friends. Oh well just keep his name in your head for me; that's enough. Alternatively, walk through the streets singing the Bonnie Tyler line, "I need a Hi---ro?" and see what happens. Hmm, no don't; could be dangerous.

  29. Wow! Talk about overwhelming! I love large cities but enjoy residing in the middle of nowhere... To each his own I suppose! I like your blog! :-)

  30. lynn - now i can't get that song out of my head! babe, don't we all need a hero.

    hi dave - cheers, it can be pretty overwhelming. sometimes the middle of nowhere is right where one needs to be.

    and thanks!