Thursday, 23 June 2011

48 hours in Tokyo

We've just spent the third and final of the three two-night stays we'd won in Park Hyatt hotels at the Tokyo hotel, famous as the hotel where the film Lost in Translation is set.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

The room was very luxurious as can be expected, with much attention to detail, even the Q-tips (cotton swabs) were individually wrapped.

our room, 47th floor

As we were on the 47th floor at over 200 metres above sea level the views were fantastic. To the south east we could see the Meiji Shrine complex :

view towards south-east from our room

and to the north-east the Tokyo Metropolitan Government complex (far left in the photo) which has observatories on the 45th floor.

view north-north-east from our room

view east-north-east

close-up, Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

NTT Docomo Yoyogi building

publicity airship

The gym was also on the same floor and the views were great if you were on a treadmill !

The first night we had dinner in an izakaya in Shinjuku, the area where the hotel is located. We didn't have the stir-fried hormones on the menu though !

Afterwards we wandered round Kabukicho which is an entertainment district near Shinjuku station with many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. 

club in Kabukicho

Kabukicho street

Kabukicho street

The next day after breakfast,

breakfast is in the Girandole restaurant

we headed to the Ginza/Hibiya area, and walked through Hibiya Park

We also saw a demonstration nearby, but not being able to read Japanese we don't know what they were protesting about.

That night we had dinner in the New York Grill restaurant. We went back next morning to take some photos as the light was better at that time of day.

I don't think we've been to any Asian city without going to its Apple store.  On this trip we went to both the Ginza and Shibuya stores !

Shibuya apple store

Then we wandered back to the hotel via Omotesando.

You can read about our two-week trip round Japan by rail in April 2010 here.

Here's the post about 48 hours in Shanghai, the first of the three two-night stays we won in Park Hyatt hotels.

Suggested reading:

Out: A Novel by Natsuo Kirino is about four women who work the night shift in a Tokyo bento box factory, and who find their lives twisted beyond repair. This grim crime novel won Japan's top mystery award, the Grand Prix.

Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Nothomb. A complex story of first love set in late 1980s and early 90s Tokyo. Amélie is a 21-year-old Belgian student studying Japanese in Tokyo when she begins tutoring Rinri, a sweet, shy and wealthy 20-year-old, in French. The relationship quickly evolves into a friendship and, soon after that, into romance.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Alternate universe : Pyongyang

Charlie Crane is an advertising and editorial photographer in the UK. But his most stunning work is a personal project that he shot a few years ago, in North Korea’s capital city.

“If there is no possibility of getting underneath the surface then the answer was to photograph the surface itself,” Crane writes in his artist statement. In other words: “Photograph what they want you to see.” Crane’s North Korean minders couldn’t have guessed that the resulting images would depict such a sterile, empty city. Save for a handful of people—who are almost invariably shot alone, against static backgrounds that make them look like department-store mannequins—Pyongyang looks totally abandoned. (You’d think the neutron bomb had just hit.) And yet these photographs are chillingly beautiful, and all the more poignant for the suffering they somehow manage to exclude from the frame.

Check out some photos from Charlie Crane’s “Welcome to Pyongyang” series or see more of the photos on Crane’s website.

Other photographers with arresting photos of North Korea, particularly the Mass Games, are Sam Gellman and Werner Kranwetvogel.

via Very Short List.

You can read about my own trip to the DPRK here.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Reunion Island tourist campaign video

If you don't know anything about Reunion Island, this short video is a good place to start:

If this doesn't want to make you visit Reunion let me know!

See also the shorter version (46 seconds) of this film, in English too.