Tokyo by night

On my second day in Tokyo I got to experience the mandatory Shibuya crossing. It was on a Friday evening so there was a lot of people (probably average for Tokyo standards but massive for a Helsinkian). I think that's when it really sank in, "I'm really here!" I felt like such a globetrotter in this cool capital city that never sleeps. Did the kiwi cider I had just had have something to do with this sensation? Maybe a little. What really happened was that we were home by midnight because we didn't want to miss the last metro. Luckily you don't have to pull an all nighter to see the city in this different light. A few days later I found myself at the Shibuya crossing again. This time I took a few minutes to observe the stream of people walking by. Walking through a crowd like this and not panic was a big deal for me. I walked by so many of these small cozy restaurants. I really like the clean yet inviting design of their facades.  Cartoon billboards, me like! It's interesting how lanterns immediately make space seem more cozy.  I spent a lot of my time in Tokyo in…

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Fairy tale gardens

Yoyogi Park on a summer Sunday is full of locals and tourists having picnics and unexpected performances. When we sat down for a lunch break that hot june afternoon I felt like a local for a brief moment.  I don't know if it was the group of teenage girls dressed like sailor moon or the rockabilly dancers that got me so distracted that I forgot to take pictures. I did have my camera ready when we visited the Meiji Jingu shrine and the surrounding forrest. There was something incredibly majestic and serene about that forrest, even though there were almost as many people there as in Yoyogi park. The shrine itself was under renovation but we still managed to "crash" one wedding. We also visited the garden with the iris flowers that were in full bloom. I was captivated by the shere height and variety of the trees but here I got distracted by the ladies in the lovely kimonos.  When you're walking by serene ponds like this you forget that you're in the middle of a busy capital city. I don't think I've ever taken so many pictures of fish in my life as I did of carp on this…

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The accidental wedding crasher

Ok, so I didn't actually crash any weddings per se, I just happened to be among the tourists outside the shrines when these weddings took place. I was so intrigued by the couples' wedding attire that I couldn't help taking some pictures, I really hope they don't mind! I would like to learn more about these garments so if you know about a good book or documentary on the subject, please let me know. I just love the pattern and colours of this kimono. Funny story, at some point this groom was waving some kind of device in the air as the wedding photographer was telling the family where to stand. I asked my friend what he was doing and while she was telling me that it was some kind of 360 degree camera, he made eye contact. He nodded in our direction and smiled like he was saying "I know you're talking about this cool gadget of mine" This couple seemed very relaxed when they were getting their picture taken. The other weddings parties we saw felt much more formal somehow. I really like the shape of this bride's headdress. Every bride and groom should have an umbrella carrier at their wedding! How odd…

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Of Monsters and Fries

After the first week in Tokyo I started to wonder where all the really over the top Kawaii people were. I was told that it's a common misconception, the over the top street style we often see in magazines and blogs are actually not as widespread as you would think. Sure, you'll see people with individual sense style and you'll find some uniquely dressed groups posing on Sunday afternoons in Harajuku but those "I look like I'm going to a costume party everyday" individuals seemed kind of rare. Maybe I was just not in the right place but maybe that's why I really wanted to visit the Kawaii Monster Café, I needed a proper dose of kawaii while in Tokyo. To call the place a theme restaurant is a bit of understatement. I would describe it as sugar overdose colour explosion extravaganza, if that makes any sense. It's not just the interior and the clothes of the staff that are colourful but the food too. Just when you think it can't get even more kawaii, it's time to sing for one of the customers (the place is very popular for birthdays) and that is done of course on a huge revolving cake meets merry-go-round. Most of the…

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Park Love – Inokashira Park

I have this weird things with parks, I rarely visit the ones close to where I live but when I travel they're usually in my top places to visit. I'm not particularly outdoorsy (I'm trying to change that though) and I've never been on a beach holiday so most of my travels are to cities. As much fun as those cities are it's nice to go to a park and get a break from the intensity and noise of the city. A moment to gather ones thoughts and digest all the things you've seen so far. Tokyo has a lot of beautiful parks and gardens but there's a few that stand out in my opinion. One of them is Inokashira Park, a park that has a rare quality, it feels calm and cozy even when it's full of people. I put this park on my list the minute I read that designlovefest post, I just got really curious about those swan boats. When my friend ( and excellent host) Sophie suggested we go to discover Kichijoji  I was really excited to see a new part of Tokyo and with someone who actually lived there. It wasn't until we were actually in the park that I realised…

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All that sparkles

It's been a long time since I bought a pair of earrings. With the exception of silver studs, I make most of my earrings myself. I can't recall how it all started but I remember really getting into jewellery making when I lived in Copenhagen many years ago. So when I was making research for my Tokyo trip I decided to look up different type of hobby stores and that's how I ended up in Asakusabashi one morning. Being the clumsy tourist that I am I managed to take the wrong exit at the station and ended up in a residential area. I did after a bit of a detour find the place I was looking for, The Edo dori  street where I had read you could find many bead stores. What I found was a street full of stores selling everything from party decorations to traditional hand fans. I was mainly on the hunt for beads but I struggled not to buy all the pretty ones I saw. It got a bit overwhelming at one point, some of the stores had 4 floors! I would recommend visiting this street if you're really into making jewellery or accessories and you're in Tokyo for a longer stay. I don't…

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Hydrangea Mania

I might have missed the cherry blossom season in Tokyo but I arrived just in time for hydrangeas.I saw them everywhere in Tokyo; in the well kept gardens, next to train tracks, on the balconies of skyscrapers and other unexpected places. I couldn't stop taking pictures of them and I probably looked quit silly doing it. I got a curious looks from passers by more than once. I was especially intrigued by the blue ones, the colour was so intense somehow. Considering the stock of images I have on my computer of flowers and the amount of posts I've written on the subject, I'm starting to wonder if I was a florist in previous life or if my subconscious is giving hints about a possible career change. Until I've figured that out I'll keep indulging in my floral obsession!

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The Grand Adventure

Ok, so I might be misusing that word, adventure. I didn't do any extensive hiking, visit a remote village or anything like it, I was technically on a city vacation. Yet an adventure it was! It was one of those life altering, confidence boosting and really inspiring trips. Not only was it the first time I visited Japan but my first time in Asia. I spent most of my time wandering the streets of Tokyo observing everything that I saw with heightened curiosity. I took a lot of pictures and I'm gonna be sharing with you over the coming months but here's a bit of a teaser.

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