some photographs in-and-around Tokyo by Sadaro Seto

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

I often think about a quote I heard from a music-major friend of mine in college:

Every minute I spend not practicing my instrument is a minute I live with the guilt of not practicing my instrument.

I’m paraphrasing from what was also likely a paraphrase, so don’t quote my quote. The idea, however, remains–this musician clearly feels guilty whenever he/she is not practicing his/her instrument. 

Why do I think about this? Well, as a writer, it’s easy to feel like I should be writing something all the time. Like literally, non-stop. If my brain is producing thoughts that have any semblance of a coherent idea, then I feel as if I should be writing it down. So, when I’m in fact not writing down these thoughts, my good friend and life-long companion Guilt enters the scene and sits in his usual spot on my brain-couch.

All of this to say I’ve been guilty of feeling guilty lately. I have a good excuse for not writing so so much (i.e. traveling), but ultimately excuses are the worst and so am I. Therefore, while a lengthy standard post is in the works, I present to you a guilt-laden gallery with minimum writing and maximum aesthetics.

All photos are, as specified, taken by my new-good friend Sadaro Seto (who will be referred to as Sadi later), in and around Tokyo. Note that all commentary that follows only slightly repressed my guilty conscience.  

Asakusa, Tokyo

 

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

A giant, giant paper lantern, almost as cool as the guy’s floppy hat on my left.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

A local street vendor making Imagawayaki (今川焼き), a pancake-y snack filled with a sweet red bean paste and cooked in a special not-waffle iron. This was my first encounter with beans in a dessert, which is apparently quite popular throughout Asia.

 

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

A pirate plays with incense.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

The probably-not local crowd, and a couple of young girls wearing traditional Kimono (着物).

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Fun activity: many temples have fortunes available in the form of a small slip of paper, called O-mikuji (おみくじ), which you randomly draw for about ¥100 ($1) and do what you want with the information given. At this temple, the idea is to spin the hexagon-shaped metal container (the object I’m throwing in the picture above), and then draw from it a small stick:

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Like the one in my hand, which has a number you match to the small wooden drawer with the same number, and receive your fortune.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

This is me pretending to read my fortune, which is mostly in Japanese. Sadi was able to help me decipher the fact that I was destined to a terrible fate, and then drew his own equally terrible fortune. Luckily, bad fortunes can be folded up and tied to designated areas in the temple (there’s one just to the right of me in the picture above), which apparently nullifies their affects. I’ve been told that it does not work the same with bad test scores or report cards. Sorry students.

Ueno, Tokyo

 

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ueno, Tokyo

This guy is better than you at walking with his hands behind his back.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ueno, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

I’m hoping that one day my hair is as gold as the temple I’m gawking at.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ueno, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

A four-story pagoda, those impossibly cool buildings that range from 2 to 13 levels tall (13 is the highest one I could find, at least). Ever since the legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh was found inside a pagoda in Pokemon Silver and Gold Versions, I’ve loved these magnificent structures. Turns out they’re even cooler in real life.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ueno, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Wishes left by wishers on temple grounds.

Kamakura, Kanagawa

Kamakura, Kanagawa

Kamakura, Kanagawa | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Tunnel time. Kimu on the far left, and Mikuya on his right. Together, Sadi, Kimu, Mikuya, and I called ourselves JAKsquad (J=Japanese, A=American, K=Korean; the combination of our respective nationalities).

Roppongi Hills

Roppongi, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Nice shot from the outside of Roppongi Hills, the gaudy side of town.

Roppongi, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Same building, just Halloween-ified by a terrifying giant spider statue just outside the lobby.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

View of Tokyo from the building with the spider outside. Most prominent in the picture is the famous Tokyo Tower, essentially the Japanese version of the Eiffel Tower.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

I don’t care what others say, sometimes these shots turn out excellent and completely un-cheesy.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

This is what Tokyo would look like if you went into Hyperspace right above it. Abstract level 1.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Abstract level 2.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Abstract level 3.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Yours Truly, probably just thinking about food.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Definitely thinking about food.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

The top of the Roppongi Hills building featured two things the night Sadi and I were there: glorious views and giant monsters. And, as part of the exhibit, anyone who wanted could experience both simultaneously.

Roppongi, Tokyo

Roppongi, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Sadi had to beg for this one. I’ll allow it.

Roppongi, Tokyo

Roppongi, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Since I don’t really know how to pose for pictures, I often end up jumping off of things.

Roppongi, Tokyo

Roppongi, Tokyo | Photo by Sadaro Seto

Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it’s blurry, this time, it’s both.

The Photographer

Sadaro Seto, aka Sadi, is a recent addition to my favorite humans list. He was the decisive factor in ensuring I enjoyed Tokyo-and-beyond without feeling lonely. Here’s him looking looking more stylish than I’ll ever be.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Trey Leslie (with Sadaro Seto's camera)

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo | Photo by Trey Leslie (with Sadaro Seto’s camera)

Bonus Round: Akihabara, Tokyo

 

Fa-La-La, Akihabara, Tokyo

Ja-La-La, Akihabara, Tokyo | [blurry] Photo by Trey Leslie

Ja-La-La is a Neko Cafe in Anime-central: Akihabara, Tokyo. Neko (猫) means cat in Japanese. So yes, this was a cafe full of cats. It cost Sadi and me about $10 (¥1,000) to enter for 30 minutes, and was worth every second.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, you just consumed 27,0001 of them. Go you.

Yours,

The Dread Pirate Trey


Footnotes

1. 28,086 technically, if you include my commentary. 28,097 if you include this footnote.