April 18, 2015

UntitledI rode the train to Tokyo today. Deliberately. Arrived at the Tokyo Station. Walked through the section of the city nearest the station. Slowly and deliberately. Met two men who hailed from Ottawa. We were all on our way to look around the Imperial Gardens. They caught my attention because I understood what they were saying to one another, and one of them had an Olympus Pen, an E-PL-something-or-other, hanging from around his neck. On the way out of the gardens I took a photo of a very nice Japanese couple with their camera. Turned out “A-OK” for them.

I had a nice French lunch at Le Café La Boutique in the heart of downtown Tokyo. I got to sit for a while, resting my knees, while watching people eat inside and out of the cafe. I saw faces and heard voices from around the world. It was a quiet yet magic moment to realize all that had transpired to allow me to be in that particular spot at that particular fortunate moment, crossing paths with all these other strangers. Friendly to be sure, but people I’d never seen before, and for the most part never will again.

I then spent ¥1,600 to see Impressionistic paintings on loan to the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Worth every yen. It was crowded, but not overcrowded. I believe the Japanese take art quite seriously and support it by paying to view it in places like the gallery. Besides, I haven’t seen this much Impressionistic painting since I was studying art in the 1970s and went to the Atlanta High Museum.

As I was slowly walking through the exibit it dawned on me that there is nothing more antithetical to today’s photography than the Impressionist period. Moving through the gallery and viewing the paintings produced by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and so many others, reminded me of how timeless art can be produced when you mix genius with paint on canvas (or wood, or whatever else you had at hand). Today we spend way too much time on the trivialities of digital photography (primarily through measurebation). Way, way too much time and energy. Way too little on the art and emotion of the image.

Walked around the huge buildings close to the train station feeling rather small and insignificant. Noticed that Mitsubishi is on a lot of things in this area, including the Bank of Tokyo. I also discovered you can’t loose site of the train station in this area. Go inside a building and there are signs leading you underground back to the train station. It’s big enough on the outside, but it’s like it has roots that spread out to everything under the ground.

Did find another Bic Camera. It was the largest I’ve seen so far, with two sub-basement floors. Finally found a decent camera section. But I still felt cold moving through all the gear. I felt odd in there anyway, what with me having an E-M5 and an E-M10 hanging off my body, one with the 17mm and the other with the 45mm. That, and two spare batteries is what I took with me to Tokyo (and what I carry on my train trips). It was a quick in-and-out. Bic Cameras are too crowded, bright, and noisy for my taste.

All in all, including travel time, I spent about six hours going to and slowly meandering about the little section of Tokyo. Tokyo is way too big to take in in just one day. It would take weeks, if not part of a lifetime, to get to know the city and really see it. And that’s just one city in one country on this planet. My little trip today was like dipping my little toe into the ocean, and calling that swimming.