Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Photo Essay on Tsukiji

So I did a small walk around Tsukiji and here is what I found:

Owls in the strangest places.

Peds hanging out in public

Green Green bicycles

Pretty pretty drain covers

Tall skyscraper like residential complexes

Flowers blooming along the sidewalk

And a bridge that soared into the blue blue sky

What an enjoyable afternoon that was! :D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sumo Series

I posted this on Flickr too and well I gotta tell you sumo was something else!!

Colourful flags outside the arena

We got there pretty early around 11.30ish in the morning and got bored. Without knowing the significance of the rituals that precedes each bout, you tend to be completely lost. This gave me an opportunity to read up on Wikipedia and also on the tournament website too.

And in between I kept yelling for all the underdogs in the bouts which was fun. Then began the actual shebang roughly around 2.30 pm with the higher rung rishikis (wrestlers) entering the ring.

Followed by about 14 bouts of which I only managed to get a clean shot of this one! Trust me this was difficult to achieve given the distance b/w where we were seated and the ring, my camera zoom lens and people walking around!

And then the Makuuchi rikishi entered. These guys are the higher ups in the division and the crowd started shouting out their names and cheering them on.

And then came the heavy duty Yokozuna whose numero uno and right on top of the ladder. This is a gentleman called Hakuho. Given his size, he sat on his haunches and moved himself with extreme agility I might add about 5 feet forward and the crowd went ballistic!

And then their matches started too. Bouts typically last less than 30 seconds. There were interesting bouts - with the crowd cheering on the underdog on occasion and on occasion very clearly previous winners. Ah yes, this is where I got my pronounciation corrected - I was yelling out a wrestler's name incorrectly so the very nice ladies in the box ahead of us corrected me, waited for me to say it correctly and had such pleased smiles on their faces when I said it the right way! :D

Another story about the same wrestler comes to mind - Kotooshu is his name. If you see his photo on the Wikipedia page, notice the hair on his chest. Believe it or not, all souvenir shops sell a small sized doll of Kotooshu with hair on the chest area!! :):) Attention to detail man!!

Oh yes I was coming to the last bout which was the Yokozuna with a lower ranked opponent. The opponent didn't last 3 seconds which was a bit of an anti-climax to be honest! Like he literally ran for his life (in sumo terms) :)

I should add that I did OD on sumo. This won't be a repeat experience having seen so much of it!! But extremely recommended if you are ever in Japan and in time for a tournament too! As a cultural experience, this one is going to stay with you forever!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tokyo my home (well sort of for now)

I am posting after a long time inspite of promising y'all Nikko autumn photos and being more regular with my posts too. Good intentions and all that!

First happy new year to everyone :) I had a super wicked holiday getting into New Year with tonnes of snow so much that I don't want to see snow for the rest of this year. However that wish is going to remain unfulfilled. Next holiday is to see a Snow Festival. :O I mean we didn't think too much did we? :)

I really liked this shot of Tokyo all in black and white hence this post happened. It feels like a city full of concrete and buildings. But Tokyo has managed to surprise me in the last 3 months that I have been here. You wander the streets and inevitably confront the old. There are shrines, old houses sitting very comfortably with the shiny new skyscraper. Green abounds - yes I promise you that.

Imagine this in the heart of the city! Can you even imagine such a scene in Bumbai? It was peaceful, so serene and there were people young and old walking around ever so happily! If Bumbai even decided that we needed something like this, my home would be very different.

Tokyo is clean. I don't miss the filth back home at all! I am sounding like a NRI snob, sorry about that, but oh man its lovely not be faced with paan and spit stains in Metro stations and yes no one is jostling you in the train either. Simple things but they do enhance the quality of life.

The culture is very different too. People give each other too much space sometimes I reckon. A small incident happened when I moved here first. An elderly gentleman riding a bicycle (yes everyone rides one here or so it feels) turned the corner of the road and well bam went right into the lamp post. I was standing there at the signal paralyzed by etiquette. There were two other people on the road - who err looked at him and well walked away. By the time the signal had turned green, he had recovered and was on his way. But I am told this is a minor case in a city where people are very helpful and this I have experienced myself without knowing any Japanese.

Oh yes first rule of living in Japan - you gotta know Japanese to survive with aam aadmi. Or else your interaction with the locals is next to nada. English teaching btw is the number one occupation of most gaijins (foreigners) here. But very hard to get into unless you are what they call a 'native' speaker. And err whilst my education from the time I was born has been in English, they would not consider me a 'native' speaker believe it or not!

Enough from me for now. Hopefully will be writing more frequently. I aim to also move this blog from here to Wordpress or even my own website sometime this year. It has now become my New Year resolution so touch wood for that. :)