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Tokyo Glow
November 15, 2008 9:40 PM   Subscribe


 
I'm pretty sure this is a dupe.
posted by delmoi at 9:58 PM on November 15, 2008


Amazing pics. Thanks for the new desktop background. I wonder if "Lost in Translation" impacted the tourism industry in Japan.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 10:00 PM on November 15, 2008


I wonder if "Lost in Translation" impacted the tourism industry in Japan.

The tourism industry in Japan is still rather moribund, I think. It's pretty expensive for Americans and Europeans, for example, to get here in the first place. Then hotels, restaurants and especially getting around (the shinkansen, for example) are pretty pricey, or perceived to be pricey, even when there are in fact (sometimes) somewhat cheaper options. On top of all that, cities like Tokyo and Osaka (and many others) are pretty daunting place to navigate, what with the general absence of street names, English signage, etc. And the language thing... The government has made a little noise about making Japan more tourist-friendly, but they don't seem to have actually done much, as far as I'm aware.

Thanks for the post, Kronos, I like the Night Lights series in particular. Even though these scenes are not even remotely exotic to me anymore, I still enjoy the aesthetic of these pix, as indeed I enjoy it in life, walking down these Tokyo streets.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:16 PM on November 15, 2008


Flapjax nails it, although I was in Kyoto and Nara last Christmas and again in June and there were plenty of tourists. Nara is pretty much the ideal tourist destination in Japan - easy to walk around, well-defined sights. Certainly less stressful than Tokyo, where it's a chore just to figure out how to get out of Ueno train station, or to find a bank machine in Akihabara. Kyoto is kind of a similar experience, I imagine, for foreign tourists who aren't used to Japan. It's pretty common to see khaki-clad Americans (presumably) peering around the train station, trying to figure out how to get to the bus depot, and then on to the sights.

I would say that the amount of tourism from other parts of Asia is increasing, especially from China, Taiwan and Korea. Asians tend to use the right approach with Japan - they come to Japan on packaged tours and let someone else drive them around and buy lunch. Not as adventurous, perhaps, but, then again, far less stressful and far more pragmatic.

Oh, and I fucking *hate* "Lost in Translation. Such a false portrayal of Japan, but it's certainly a good representation of how a privileged foreigner, fresh off the boat, might perceive Japan. Coppola also captured the wonderful nighttime lighting really well. But the movie was depressingly xenophobic.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:52 PM on November 15, 2008


These are great, thanks for posting.
posted by bradbane at 11:04 PM on November 15, 2008


Stunning photos. Serious light bills. I'm imagining being there now. The lights look busy.
posted by Flex1970 at 11:54 PM on November 15, 2008


Oh, and I fucking *hate* "Lost in Translation. Such a false portrayal of Japan, but it's certainly a good representation of how a privileged foreigner, fresh off the boat, might perceive Japan. Coppola also captured the wonderful nighttime lighting really well. But the movie was depressingly xenophobic.

I'm glad to hear you say this, because while I've never been to Japan, I came away from that movie thinking, "Wow, they really tried to cram in every Japanese stereotype they could." I kept waiting for a cameo from Hard Gay. And Bill Murray's character's patronizing, suffering-fools attitude would have really grated my nerves, if I didn't keep reminding myself that his character was supposed to be a self-hating, aging, has-been. But having not visited Japan, I had no real way of gauging what was overdone stereotype, and what was just a part of the "typical" Japanese experience for foreigners. So thanks for the insight.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:15 AM on November 16, 2008


Oh, and I fucking *hate* "Lost in Translation. Such a false portrayal of Japan, but it's certainly a good representation of how a privileged foreigner, fresh off the boat, might perceive Japan...the movie was depressingly xenophobic.

I'm glad to hear you say this, because while I've never been to Japan, I came away from that movie thinking, "Wow, they really tried to cram in every Japanese stereotype they could."


I understand the criticism of the movie because of this, and I felt the exact same way the first time I saw it. It's an otherwise good love/friendship story, but the xenophobia got on my nerves, because I know Japan as well as any expat and know that the image that is often portrayed of the Japanese (but not always) is very, very narrow. BUT, watching LIT a second time, I realized that distance is integral to the love story, which is the key to the movie. The distance those two characters feel about their surroundings is what makes them lonely, hence their need for each other. Coppola could've made it clearer that they were being assholes, and the Japanese aren't really so weird, but I gave it a pass.

Oh, and thanks for the link, those pics are great. Every night Tokyo has plenty of streetlights to allow anyone with a tripod to get good shots.
posted by zardoz at 1:56 AM on November 16, 2008


I've always liked these since the first time I stumbled across the site.
posted by mandal at 3:53 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Double. A good double, but a double nonetheless.
posted by armage at 5:50 AM on November 16, 2008


Lovely. And 4 years is over that vague statute of limitations on doubles the mods sometimes use, so there's a decent chance it'll stay.
posted by mediareport at 6:06 AM on November 16, 2008


It's so refreshing to see real night-time landscapes done correctly without any of the craptastic HDR effects.

And on film no less with reciprocity failure all over the place.

Love it.
posted by photoslob at 8:42 AM on November 16, 2008


I prefer the dog in a mailbox.
posted by swift at 8:51 AM on November 16, 2008


It's beautiful but I'm not sure it's chaos.
posted by limnrix at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The pictures in the Night Lights link are pretty creepy to me. I remember walking through plenty of streets like that, and there is no way they'd be that empty. The pics have a post-humanity feel to them.

And on the Lost In Translation thing, I concur with zardoz. The point of setting the story in Tokyo in the first place was to put the two characters into a world that is completely alien to them, to remove their normal web of friends and family and to make them lose their bearings. The "lip my stocking" scene was pretty stomach-churning, and a couple of others brought about mild nausea, but overall I think the movie was quite effective.
posted by deadcowdan at 9:52 AM on November 16, 2008


Cool. It's really interesting to hear a first hand opinion of tourism in Japan.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 10:26 AM on November 16, 2008


I love these pictures. It would be great to see the photographer photograph other cities in this style. I am probably in the minority on this, but I do not think Tokyo is the most beautiful city. It reminds me of Los Angeles, with the enormity of light pollution and the vast amount of concrete and boring architecture. I wonder if this is true for all very large cities? That being said, there is more to a city than it's appearance.
posted by Titania at 5:43 PM on November 16, 2008


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