Japan! Dattebayo!!!

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In late June I jumped on a last-minute travel deal to Tokyo, two months after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Back In Business

It’s been two months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami, but one thing is clear: Japan is back on its feet and welcoming visitors with open arms. Everyone I met was in high spirits and as friendly as can be. The only noticeable aftermath of the Fukushima plant disaster is a concerted effort at energy conservation, with landmarks like the Rainbow Bridge going dark at night. Other than that, the food is safe and the atmosphere is fine with independent measurements around Tokyo showing average radiation around Tokyo at about half the US average.

I hit the streets of Tokyo and Kamakura, walking daily marathons from 4:30am to nightfall trying to see everything in the short week I had.

Now This Is A Society!

Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese people organized, sorted through the destruction, politely waited in line for rations, and immediately began rebuilding. No one wasted a minute waiting for government assistance. They even set up a system for reuniting victims with lost cash. Quite a contrast to the looting, rioting, and violence in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

I am in absolute heaven being among the efficient, organized, trustworthy, and polite Japanese society. When walking down the sidewalk, you walk on the left. When riding an escalator you stand on the left, pass on the right. When riding the metro, you don’t yak on the phone. When taking change, you put it in your pocket without counting it. When you’ve got a cold or flu, you wear a mask to prevent spreading germs to others. Now this is a civilized society!

From the youth at Odaiba to the alleyway Ramen Chefs, I never encountered a rude person. Not one. I can’t say that about any other country I’ve been to (well, Switzerland comes close). Only twice did I appear lost, and in both cases, locals approached me and asked if I needed help.

Photography In Japan

Being the home of Canon and Nikon, photography is welcome everywhere in Japan as you can imagine. The only places I found where photography is not allowed are inside shrines. I saw a few “No Photo” signs among piles of fish at Tsujiki Fish Market, but this is probably a result of clumsy tourists getting in the way of the fast-paced rush to get the fish out. Other than that, no one seems to care about picture-taking.

The Photos

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The Sixth District

A rickshaw in Tokyo's Asakusa district.

Into the Fabled Sky

Sensō-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan.

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Shattered Reflections
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Peace Up

On the UP escalator in Tokyo Japan.

Odaiba Squared
After A Day's Work
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Dark Rainbow

The normally colorful Rainbow Bridge goes dark while Tokyo is in power-conservation mode.

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Early Morning Bustle

At work in the Tsukiji Fish Market.

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Of Warm Rays and Cold Steel

The ultra-modern Tokyo International Forum.

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Waiting

A Tokyo metro Tōzai Line train arrives at Nihombashi station.

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Mechanized Conveyance

Going up.

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Sake Contained

Sake containers in Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

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In Quiet Interlude

A break with his jinrikisha. Kamakura, Japan.

Down the Line

On the Enoshima Electric Railway in Japan.

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Crossings
A Face In The Crowd
For Something Like A Second

Some serene water spouts in a quiet garden

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Yoyogi Park
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Shimmering Contours

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.

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The Echo of a Distant Time

Passing up the stairs through the Torii gates of the Hie Shrine, a Shinto shrine in Nagatachō, Chiyoda, Tokyo.

The Doors of Time

Gates to the Hie Shrine in Tokyo, Japan.

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A Model of Efficiency

Tokyo subway.

The Poking Nose

The Japanses Shinkansen bullet train.

When Bullets Strike

A Shinkansen 700n (left) and series 700 (right) in Tokyo Station. Soon they will accelerate to a smooth and quiet 170+ MPH.

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Equal and Opposite Reaction

An arriving Shinkansen bullet train in Tokyo.

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Yurakucho Days

After school in the Tokyo Metro.

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