Shoes on the street were still my side fascination. Here are what I’ve documented in 2018. There were mostly in my neighbourhoods both in Washington DC and Bangkok: Mount Pleasant and Phra Khanong, respectively.
It was the last full day in Tokyo and the last chance to go somewhere touristy like the first day in Tsukiji Market. I took a long walk from the capsule hotel in Ueno to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. And
To my mind, this wasn’t a place I would be eager to visit. But I prefer somewhere with a walking range to explore the city street on foot and see what there would be something more about bicycles on the way. Totally worth it.
When done with the temple, I wandered around the area. Then, a thought sank in. That was about urban street walls. It showed how similar and different urban landscapes in the cities I have been to.
To be honest, I wasn’t so thrilled about the photos I took there. But in the end, the products from the walk before and after that mattered.
It was a no brainer that the very first place I explored in Tokyo was Tsukiji Fish Market. It was to orient myself how to get around in the city. More than that, I was curious to see what would come out from this popular tourist attraction. And it turned out that it gave me the main direction to explore the city.
While the inner wholesale market relocated to the new Toyosu Market a few months earlier, shops and restaurant in the outer market were still open. I’d be more interested in Japanese street food than fish auction in the early morning anyway.
To be honest, the place didn’t awe me as I’d expect from any tourist-filled place since it had been showcased in many media outlets. However, some nuances shifted my perspective. Apart from obvious street food shops and their customers, rooted traditions and orders emerged. Knife shops, specific recycle bins, old and new carts, and especially, bicycles—the ecosystem of the market.
Moreover, it eventually set photography focus for rest of the trip. It was where I first notice something unique about the city. I was fascinated by the relationship between bicycles and the city. Since then, it became my trip’s main obsession.
Because of that, an urge to go deep into the market’s ecosystem was overshadowed by the bicycle theme. Therefore, this photo set turned out not to reach the bar I set for my own standard. Nonetheless, it was a blessing that this first Tokyo exploration shaped up my theme for the rest of the trip.
Tokyo is one of the most visited cities in the world and there are abundant stories about it. I wonder if there would be any angles that I would discover and get me anchored during this trip. That was the relationship between the city and bicycles.
I would say that it was the first time that I’d experienced one of the most bicycle-friendly in the world. Without any previous knowledge about it, it was fascinating to this urban transportation in full range. From moms to a salaryman to a homeless man, they all had a bike at some point.
Bicycles were everywhere, so also parking: on the streets, in subway stations and apartments. I found those bikes on the street added another unique characteristic to the Tokyo urban landscape.
Rules and regulations about bicycle parking were apparent. Of course, there would be some mischief and mistreatment. We are human after all.