After my orange juice this morning, I headed to Shibuya to catch a train on the Tokyu Toyoko line. The train terminus has actually moved, now serving as a through-train to the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. Remarkable, really. Today, I wanted to find the quickest way from my usual exit, to the Toyoko Line, as when we tried the other week, we were going around downward spirals deeper into Shibuya's underground. Anyway, my aim today was to visit the popular and chic neighbourhood of Jiyugaoka.
Any visitor to Tokyo will ride a train. It's unavoidable. Thankfully, it's a joyous experience. Helpful staff and punctual trains make life easier for tourists, but if you try to catch a train before 9am... good luck to you! My train to work is quoted as being at 225% capactiy. Yeah. 225%.
If you can manage it, I recommend going to the very front carriage, as there are usually windows into the driver's cab.
I like to find new and interesting coffee shops when I'm out and about in Tokyo. Japan's the world's third largest coffee bean importer, and it's evident. There are both chain and independent coffee shops within a few metres of every train station. Sometimes, there are even two or three shops next to each other. You'd never see that in the UK. I remember people dissing Starbucks in the UK for destroying the independent coffee shops... yet I never remember seeing anywhere decent in the UK. Most "coffee shops" were just greasy spoons, and I never wanted to go into one. I'd pay for a good coffee, in a good coffee shop in the UK. Maybe I'll cut to the chase and just open a shop one day.
Anyway, I walked past an old fellow separating out the "good beans from the bad" in his (translated) words. Wow. I don't even know what the difference is. He said that he looks for whole, well shaped beans. I asked him if I could take a photo, to which he agreed with a big smile. Of course, I went in straight away and ordered a good strong coffee.
Energised, I went back to the streets. I'd waited until the afternoon to avoid the strong midday sun, and to catch the favourable low-angled light.
I wanted to practice what I preached, so I slowly drifted away from the busiest shopping areas and headed down the backstreets, passing more and more residential areas, and independent shops.
Jiyugaoka is consistently listed as being the most popular residential area in all of Tokyo. The apartments are expensive, and an expensive car will most likely pass you at some time.
Rain was actually predicted today, as Japan has started its rainy season. Thankfully though, there was none. Not only that, but the forecast for tomorrow is favourable. Rain will come on monday and last for a few days.
These days, I've become really used to all of the overhead cables here. It's really quite interesting how quickly something so different can become normal. I had a similar thought today, as I've been using this NEX-7 for around 9 months now, and know it like the back of my hand. I can use it without having to think about what I'm doing, which I've never felt with a camera before. It's a really nice feeling, and has meant that I can focus on the photo, rather than the camera.