Trip report

Just got back home from a very quick two and a half day trip to Tokyo, Gunma and ferry ride back to Hokkaido from Niigata. Left here Friday afternoon and made it home by Sunday evening. had originally planned to stay a little longer, but the ferry schedule didn’t work as I had hoped so I had to come back earlier than planned. Interesting to visit Tokyo for the first time since the Earthquake of a month ago. After 9.0 as I like to call it. The mood is still very subdued in Tokyo, every single person I met and talked to spoke of the 9.0 and or circumstances relating to it. Where were you? Did you have work canceled? How is Hokkaido? My house was shaking…. etc., etc., Basically the disaster is conversation topic number 1 for sure.

The airport had lots of light turned off, all the billboard ads with backlighting were turned off. I personally like it that way, nice and subdued lighting everywhere really. Even Omotesando street had one of every two street lights turned off.

Harajuku area had a very mellow and uncrowded feeling for a Friday afternoon. I asked one of the shop workers at the new North Face shop if customer numbers were down, and she said there are no foreign customers anymore. Then I realized that was the big difference I felt. Harajuku is usually filled with Chinese, Taiwanese, and a variety of European types strolling around and shopping. Well they are all gone home now and it has made Harajuku feel like the old Harajuku from years ago.

The Cherry blossoms were in full bloom on Friday and Saturday, really beautiful time of year to visit Tokyo. I didn’t get to snap many shots in Tokyo but did get a few in Gunma on Saturday afternoon. Check that out and a few shots from my ferry ride back to Hokkaido.

Side note. Japanese local elections were held today for mayor and I think Governor positions. Tokyo reelected Ishihara as the leader of the worlds largest city. I am not a great fan of the guy but he made a few interesting comments in his speach to NHK after winning. He talked about how the combined electric usage of Japans Pachinko parlors and all the vending juice machines adds up to the amount that Fukushima Daiichi power plant was producing. So he said action need to be taken to shut down the pachinko and vending machines in these difficult times. Interesting and bold comment, would be amazing to see something like that happen. Too bad it takes a major disaster to get bold ideas like that tossed around.

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