Dear Tokyo, I know we’ve had our ups and downs…

… but you never stop surprising me.

I first came to Japan back in 2005 as volunteer at a care home in the Kansai region, and even though I fell in love this most foreign of counties, it wasn’t until a year later that I finally made it out to Tokyo for the first time. I find it quite funny to look back at that moment now; I was more than slightly reticent about leaving Kansai and all my much-loved places (Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Kobe to name just a few of my favourites), but now I feel as though I have a little bit of Tokyo in my head and heart.

Unlike my relationship with Samuel, which was love at first sight, it took me a little longer to come around to Tokyo. I am a committed city girl, and the concrete jungle is my natural paradise, so I suppose it was almost inevitable that I would fall head over heel for Tokyo sooner or later. I think that as with many people, I found the sheer size of the place utterly overwhelming at first, but then I began to really appreciate that within such a vast city there were pockets that were just so unlike anywhere else.

Flash forwards to the latter half of 2011, and I find it hard to think about living anywhere other than Tokyo. It’s just where I exist, like I’m more 3D here than any other city, any other country. Maybe it’s just that the first flush of love hasn’t worn off yet, but I still find myself entranced by the simple things in this place:

Vintage clothing shop (and window reflection); I believe this is Wow Retro.

Grand Bazaar Garden – a favourite haunt for secondhand designer wares.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the UK, but I still find it truly amazing that in Tokyo no one has kicked over these plants, or relieved themselves over them, or shoved cigarette butts into the soil. And this was just off a busy main road too! Wow.

Tea & pastries are the two things that fuel me. Tokyo, I can just about forgive you for using Darjeeling tea bags and fake milk. Just.

A slightly gloomy Tokyo skyline. Just thinking about all those people packed into those building makes me start daydreaming!

Hello, train! A reliable train service is still a novelty, ha ha.

No idea what this building is, but it’s pretty great. A Tokyo tip: always look up!

(This was pre-quake, by the way.) I like the idea of this tiny brightly coloured digger on top of a huge pile of… stuff.

Mosaic outside a bar.

Dear Tokyo, I still love you.

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8 Responses to Talking Tokyo – City Photography and a Love Letter

  1. I so so so relate to this. Tokyo is where my heart is.

    And where where oh where did you take that photo under the tea photo? I swear to god, that blue roofed apartment building looks just like Kenjers. I’m a little freaked out right now hahahaha.

    When you come back here, we must go out and about together. I just have this lovely image of fashion, tea, and good finds 🙂

  2. brad-t says:

    I’m sort of worried that when I do finally visit Japan, I’ll never want to leave.

  3. Rebecca says:

    @ Caroline – I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    Um, I think it was near Daikanyama… but it was at least a year ago that I took that photo!

    Oh, yes! I’m quite literally counting the days! 😉

  4. Rebecca says:

    @ Brad – Haha! You never know! 😉

    Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I find it hard to imagine being anywhere else 🙂

  5. Tanie says:

    I love coming across little things like this! I’m in college right now, studying to become an English teacher for Japan, and I’ve been dreaming of going there since I was itty bitty. Seeing pictures and reading first-hand experiences of people who have been there just makes me all the more excited. ;D

  6. Rebecca says:

    @ Tanie – Thank you, and of course thanks for getting in touch!

    Sounds like a great plan – if you ever need any advice or have questions about Japan, send us an e-mail or leave us a comment and we’d be more than happy to help 🙂

  7. Lisa says:

    Holy bejeezus! I didn’t even see we had shots of the same building until just now! (Scheduled posting is a lifesaver, but it also makes you completely off kilter when it comes to remembering what was published and when. IF it was published.
    Either way, love the love letter, with both familiar and unfamiliar places and things. <3

  8. Rebecca says:

    @ Lisa – Ah, I just saw your post! How funny!

    I’m so glad you liked this, haha 😀 We should def hook up for a Tokyo Walking session one of these days!

    PS: Thanks for the e-mail too – we’re doing battle at the embassy tomorrow, so it may be a couple of days… fab ideas though, love it!

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