The City Without Light

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWjRkHsGzNM[/youtube] Two weeks ago, as Hong Kong was swept under the tide of bacchanalia known as Art Week — basically a non-stop stream of parties and other well-lubricated events revolving around Art Basel Hong Kong — something remarkable happened to the city’s tallest building. Normally, the 484-metre-tall International Commerce Centre is illuminated by an unceasingly […]

Tokyo in the Snow

It didn’t look like much at first. “Just a bit of snow,” I thought as I gazed at the thick, heavy flakes settling onto the street outside. But Tokyo doesn’t get a lot of snow in the first place, and I should have realized from the way it was sticking to the willow tree outside […]

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Exit Shinjuku

Outside exit A9, Shinjuku Station, Tokyo

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Photos of the Week: Late-Night Faces

Found at a whiskey bar in Tokyo, reading “Lolita” Restaurant chef seen through sake bottles, Tokyo Both of this week’s photos were taken by Clinton Watkins. Every week, we feature striking images from our Urbanphoto group on Flickr. Want to see your photos here? Join the group.

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Tokyo, Two Weeks After the Earthquake

March 2011 I arrive in Tokyo on a clear, crisp afternoon. As my train makes brisk progress from Narita Airport to the city centre, I stare out the window at the country fields giving way to suburbia and then a densely crammed cityscape. The city seems calm. Kids run freely through an asphalt schoolyard. Uniformed […]

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Photos of the Week: Flyover

Bangkok. Photo by Jonathan Newman Chicago. Photo by GXM Tokyo. Photo by Corentin Walravens Every week, we feature striking images from our Urbanphoto group on Flickr. Want to see your photos here? Join the group.

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Tokyo Vending Machines

It’s a huge cliché, but how could I resist?

Tokyo’s Urban Bungalows

One of the greatest surprises I encountered when I visited Tokyo last spring was how quiet the city became when you ventured away from the train stations. The above photos were taken less than 15 minutes by foot from Shinjuku, one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs and the centre of a huge business, entertainment […]

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Tokyo Bicycles in Twelve Frames

Photos of Tokyo cyclists taken in March 2011.

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The Masked Metropolis

Why do so many Japanese people wear masks? The question became stuck in my mind almost as soon as I arrived in Tokyo late last month. Everywhere I went, on the streets and in trains, nearly half of the people around me were wearing surgical masks. I already knew part of the answer: people wear […]

Saturday Night at Shin-Okubo Station

Saturday, March 26th at Shin-Okubo Station Last Saturday, two weeks after the Japanese earthquake, I found myself in Tokyo. I was on assignment for a Canadian magazine — more about that on a later date — and I spent much of my time wandering the city and speaking to people, trying to get a feel […]

Tokyo Serenity: Naka-Meguro

Whether surfacing, globetrotting, or merely in transit, it’s best never fully to trust the travel section. Take Tokyo, where over the last few years a number of writers have labored to portray the southwestern neighborhood of Naka-Meguro as tragically hip. Descending from Naka-Meguro’s elevated subway station into a quotidian landscape of utilitarian shops and services, […]

Backstreets of Ginza

In Ginza, it seems almost as if Japan tucks its true self out of view. Sure, the row of colorful, vertical signs advertising the largely upscale shops and services along the district’s main drags echo similar scenes all over the country, but the façades (and often stores) they’re attached to are too cold and modern […]

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Tokyo Façade Frivolity

The curve of a closed eyelid, the outline of a nose, an unmistakable set of lips: enough to discern the outline of a singer, covering, along with the notes floating up from her mouth, almost all of a multistory building in Akasaka. Halfway across Tokyo, a family of turtles somehow scales the vertical wall of […]