Posts Tagged ‘roppongi’

Live webcams around Tokyo

Posted 23 Dec 2009 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category Entertainment, Only in Japan, Technology, Tokyo, Video

Want to see what’s going on in Tokyo right this very minute? Here’s a selection of some of the best live webcams. All of the cameras are running in real time (none of that “updates every ten seconds” nonsense), and you can control them yourself. Just click on the images below and away you go.

Shibuya (Hachiko): hachiko camera

Shibuya (outside Tower Records):
tower records

Shibuya (Parco):

Shinjuku Station:


Roppongi Hills & Tokyo Tower:


The view from Roppongi Hills…

Posted 14 Feb 2008 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category Events, Photography, Tokyo

…is quite impressive, especially on a clear, sunny day. The Mori Art Museum, located on the fiftysomething floor of the Mori Tower, is currently staging an exhibition called “Art is for the Spirit“, with works from the likes of Damien Hirst, Andreas Gorsky and Julian Opie on display (and is, I might add, well worth a visit). While I couldn’t get any shots of the exhibition itself thanks to the extreme number of security staff dotted around, I did manage to take quite a few of the Tokyo skyline for your general perusal:


Like an old friend

Posted 15 Mar 2007 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category Personal

Murray's Mint!

The film that has done the most to ingratiate Tokyo to Western audiences over the past few years has to be Lost in Translation. The first time I saw it was towards the end of my first stint in Japan, and for some inexplicable reason made me feel a huge wave of nostalgia.

The first couple of months in Japan had streaked through my life like a Sunday morning train from Roppongi station (and I know all about those, much to displeasure of my bank account). I can’t say I was able to spend my time exploring the fascinating new country that lay beneath my feet, as my feet were usually trying their best to avoid stepping on the hyperactive throng of kindergarten kids I was supposed to be teaching. This miserable situation was compounded by my dismal surroundings: an apartment that, in any other country, would have been deemed too inhospitable for even the most savage of serial killers. The walls were made of toast. Toast made from very, very thinly sliced bread. I could hear the humming sound of my neighbours-neighbours fridge as clearly as if I had been wearing it for a hat.

Thankfully, I was able to move to a different city after a couple of months, and was befriended by a number of my fellow countrymen, who wasted no time in regaling me with their colourful accounts of life in this wonderful prefecture they called Saitama – “the Essex of Japan.”

Yes, together, we were the most negative group of individuals mankind had ever seen, but spend a few months in Saitama and you would understand. Its proximity to Tokyo invariably led to comparison, and an ever-present feeling that incredibly exciting things were going on just a bit further down the train line, just ever so slightly out of reach. And yet, here we were, with only our local video rental shop and Seven-Eleven’s for entertainment.

To be fair to Saitama the majority of complaints were made against our employers, who seemed to take great pride in screwing us over at every possible opportunity (and from what I’ve heard recently, still do). For me, every single Monday afternoon was hell on earth: Abandoned in the lowly confines of a scabby franchise school in the suburban wilderness with only a severe receptionist for company, whose only hobby – wrestling – incidentally happened to be first sport I would choose to be wiped from the entirety of human history. Add to that six hours of almost continuous kids lessons, and I was beginning to see the logic behind those lost souls who choose to jump in front of speeding express trains.

But as time passed, things began to fall into place. Those once-stressful days at work became carefree and routine, the holidays were long, and the weekends were for a good night out.

Eleven months after arriving in Japan, as I watched Bill Murray lovingly perform “More Than This” in some random karaoke box, at some random time way past normal people’s bedtime, I realised that it would be exactly those kind of things I would miss the most about Japan. The little things, the unusual things, the things that couldn’t happen anywhere else. I returned home one month later. But, as fate would have it, I wasn’t to return for long…

A Rude Awakening

Posted 11 Sep 2006 — by Andy in Tokyo
Category Events, Food, Japanese Language, Only in Japan, Photography, Tokyo, Video, Weather

At around 3am this morning I witnessed the biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen in my life. Without any warning whatsoever the heavens opened, lightning struck surrounding buildings disturbingly frequently, and the thunder was loud enough to violently shake the windows.

And I didn’t get any of this on camera. Bugger.

Giving the god a good hard shake

Kichijoji Matsuri was held this weekend, meaning lots of people walking around in blue pyjamas getting drunk, carrying mikoshi around the local area (portable shrines used to carry gods. God taxis – cool!). Apparently the gods quite enjoy being shaken around a bit to wake them from their slumber, although I’m not sure if anyone has ever actually asked the gods for their opinion on this matter.

There were many different mikoshi, carried by different teams. Some of the more active (i.e. one sake too many) groups can get pretty vocal, like this set of individuals here:

Mmm... crabs

There’s also loads of food stalls to have a wander around (and yes, the ubiqitous kebab trucks are here as well. There’s just no escaping them). I’m especially fond of the fried baby crabs. They’re soft enough to be eaten whole, legs and all, and they’re fantastic. I’m quite aware they look like something out of The Thing, but really, they’re great!

In other news, we attended a residents group meeting for our apartment, which was about as interesting as it sounds. Most of the people living in our place are retired so we were the youngest people there by a good thirty years. Luckily they’re all really nice, and had some particulary amusing ideas on what should be done in case of The Big Earthquake (ten years overdue, apparently). Nakada-san – the group leader and ex-university professor – suggested climbing the stairs to the roof and waiting for a fire service helicopter to pick them up. His wife kindly pointed out that the fire service might have a few more important matters to attend to in a city of 30 million people.

Tokyo's suburban sprawl

One exeptionally good point to come out of the meeting was that we were given the key to the rooftop. Apparently we should have been given it when we moved in last year but Nakada-san forgot. The views from the rooftop are supoib, you can see Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, even Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Tower (yes, I know you can’t see very much in the photo, but trust me, you can see it). We’re also allowed to have parties and stuff up there any time we like which is great during summer. Apparently the old folks are having a full moon party next month, which I absolutely must attend at all costs.

Tokyo skyline (sort of)

I’ve foolisly decided to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December, although recently I’ve put in absolutely no effort in when it comes to studying. Methinks I should stop writing this and get some revision done!