Monday, November 3, 2014

3 weeks in Japan - Part 1: Tokyo

I recently took a 3 weeks trip to Japan to see my family, relative and friends. The main focus was to help my father settle into his new life after losing his mother and wife this spring.
The trip was not all fun but I did have a few moments here and there to slip in a few sketches which is always a great way of relaxing the mind in reducing the stressful situation.

Boston Logan Airport in the past year started offering direct flights to Tokyo! A 13 hour non stop trip beats having to take connecting flights which typically took over 20 hours.

I was looking forward to the Japan Airlines inflight food which was excellent when I took the plane in spring. Unfortunately this time it wasn't very good...
One flight attendant found this sketch to be of interest and asked if she could take this picture to show her colleagues later on. I kind of felt bad that I wrote bad things about the food in the sketch.... oh well, it was at least the truth.

They used to call the airport "Narita New Tokyo International Airport" and while there's 'Tokyo' in the name, the place is actually a good 1-1/2 to 2 hours outside of central Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. I took the Limo bus into the city which is convenient but still had to transfer into a Taxi finally making it to may fathers home.

Next day early morning, completely jet lagged I decided to get a capture of my parents home. This home was built close to 40 years ago and at one point 6 people lived in here. It's now housed only by my father and he recently renovated the inside to make it a little more convenient to live.
For a short time I once lived in this house too and it brought me back childhood memories.

In Shinjuku a funky building caught my attention. A dark cigar shaped building with lots and lots of white stripes. At first I couldn't tell if there was a rhyme or reason to the stripe pattern until getting close to the building afterwards. The building was 'Mode Gakuen' - a fashion, makeup, design school. Definitely an eye catching building.

1st Sushi in Tokyo. You just can't go wrong in the rotating sushi places in Japan where you can sit there as long as you like picking out your sushi of choice that comes along your way. It's quite a challenge to sketch in the really small space but I managed to fumble around with my sushi plates, beer and my sketch book.

I took an afternoon stroll around the Imperial Palace and was able to get a sketch of one of the gates that used to protect the castle. I found out that this spot was a historically famous assassination location from 1860. This are is now a popular jogging/biking spot.

Meeting a local friend at Ebisu train station, he told me about the hidden sculpture at the station. The Daikokuten sculpture was indeed hidden all the way in the back alley of an employee smoking area. Just couldn't figure out why it was in such a hidden spot.

I've never really watched 'Gundam', but it was a popular animation series which started in the 80's and seems it continues to be quite popular even now. We took a stroll to Odaiba to see the life sized mechanical robot which was quite impressive.

A walking distance to Gundam was the Statue of liberty. It was quite small and reminded me of the one in Las Vegas. I assumed this was a fake version but found out that this statue was officially approved by the French government.

To be continued......

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