Monday, January 24, 2011

Wood-Grain Vending Machine?

If we haven't seen it all, I found a wood grained patterned vending cool is that? If only the recycling bin was similarly patterned and coloured........

Animated Picture

I thought just for fun that I'd convert one of my Tokyo pics into a cartoon, sort of an 'ode to manga' since I grew up reading (well, it was more about looking at the pictures for me!!) manga. The image just seemed so orchestrated: a cyclist going one way, a jogger going the other, contrast between an old rusted out building and perfectly Japanese looking trees and foilage......

15 Vending Machines in a Row?

It's not uncommon to see 4-5 machines lined up in a row in Japan. I don't know the logic of it, except that maybe when there's more machines, there's more choice, so more people tend to gravitate towards it, versus having a solitary machine by itself offering less choice?

Anyway, in Sunshine City, there's this alley that has 15 vending machines in a row. There are so many that I can't really take a singular shot of it, but here's the link on Google Maps. Just scroll across and see all the machines!! Insane or what?

You can see also that most vending machines have their own recycling units, so you don't have pop cans littered everywhere. Also, in Japan, it's considered rude to eat and drink in public, especially if you're walking, so many will buy a drink in front of a machine, drink quickly, and then immediately recycle the can....... very honourable...... but 15 machines in a row? Really?

Proactiv Vending Machine?

In Japan, they sell more than just drinks in vending machines. Some odd machines are known for selling jeans and used underwear, but these are not the norm. However, specialized vending machines are common, as you will soon see with my upcoming posts. Unlike N.America, where machines across the continent basically sell the exact same thing and look pretty much exactly the same, in Japan, there are one-off machines selling just one type of thing.

This huge monster was dedicated to selling Proactiv skin care products..... I found it at the Tokyo Dome City shopping centre (I don't think that's the official name, but you can't miss it.... it has a huge roller-coaster wrapped around the parameter of the complex!!). I know these machines are not only in Japan, but most places have them at airports and other busy transportation hubs where people are travelling and can buy the products 24hrs a day, no salesperson needed. This was at a theme park shopping centre where they could have just put up a Proactiv Kiosk with an actual salesperson... it was kind of out of place for me......

Mega Jidohanbaiki!!

I'm going to do a series on vending machines (jidohanbaiki), and I'll start with the biggest, baddest, and probably the most expensive vending machine I've seen in Japan thus far. It's a walk-in machine made by Mediacure. I assume it's some sort of famous singers theme machine? TVs all along the outside and inside, and full sound. It's bigger than most platform mini convenience stores at the train stations!

This one was located at the Ikebukuro Station along the counterclockwise direction Yamanote-sen (so going towards Shinjuku Sta.). Will this machine ever make it's money back? I don't think so, but clearly this is some sort of marketing campaign, intending to do more than just sell drinks......any ideas? I'm thirsty though.......I feel like a Royal Milk Tea.......

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Cool Struttin' & co. Shop

If I wearing a really cool jacket, and someone asked me where I bought it from, and I actually got it from the Cool Struttin' & Company in Ebisu, Tokyo, I'd hesitate to tell them.....they did in fact have really cool stuff, and if I bought something from there and I was walking around, I'd probably be struttin' around as well. Notice the description of the store in the top right corner? Jazz Attitude? Huh? Cool store though. Nuff said.......again, just another one of those shots I had to take. I'll do a special edition on Jinglish signs soon enough. First, I'll finish my part I report on vending machines in Japan......

4ft Screen Laptop in Your Trunk?

I just had to take a picture of this..... if only Intel advertised like this in be honest, it'll probably get stolen or vandalized.......parked at the bottom entrance into Times Square just outside Takashimaya in Shinjuku......

Reflection Shot

I was shooting into an old, shut down restaurant through the smokey glass and was getting too much reflection from behind. You can see my hand and camera in the dark shadow to the top right of the image. My wife just happened to "walk into" the pot through the reflection so I just told her to freeze as I took the picture.........

Guitar Pic Tiles

The tile pattern on the floor of the apartment in Tokyo looks like guitar pics doesn't it? This is my first try to shoot, edit and post from my iPhone. Let's see if it works....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tall and Thin

Tokyo has some pretty cool but weird looking buildings. Sure Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world, and some pretty cool ones to boot (the HSBC building is a fully collapsible and moveable building!!); but Tokyo has some very unique and often strange looking buildings. I assume often it is out of necessity, but other times, I just scratch my head and think why so crazy looking? Most often I'm confused by the tall and thin buildings.

Actually, according to Guinness Book of World Records, they claim that a building in my home town of Vancouver actually is the world's thinnest building. This may be true, but it doesn't look impressive. In fact, walking past it, you wouldn't even know it was, since it's physically attached to the building behind it, and it's only 2 stories.

In Tokyo, they have not only thin, but tall buildings. The first picture is of a residential home. Don't you just want to go inside and see how they live in such a narrow space? I bet it's cool inside though. Tons of unique storage areas, and totally custom made cabinets and furniture. The other picture is of an actual functional business building in Shibuya, just across the street from Seibu Dept. Store. So thin (maybe 10ft wide?) but look how tall it is? Insane in the membrane!!

SR Auto Group

I love cars. Unfortunately, I also love photography, music, musical instruments, watches, fashion (especially shoes!!) and books, and bikes and on and on. Because I have so many other interests, I've never had all my "play money" in one pot and be able to afford a fancy car.

But I do love cars!! My attainable dream car would be a Honda S2K in Honda racing white and red leather seats. A difficult but still attainable dream car would be to import a Honda NSX-R (yes, in Japan the label Acura doesn't really exist as it was made for the N.American market) in Honda racing white. My over-the-top dream car? Porsche 959 in white...... so nice!!

I'm way off topic here......A friend of mine's friend owns SR Auto Group and as you can see from the link, they have nice cars..... just recently I took my brother (who was visiting from Japan for the holidays) to SR Auto and he got to sit inside a white Lamborghini LP640 Murcielago with a carbon fiber accessory kit. Sweet car. My wife got to sit inside a custom matte vinyl wrapped Aston Martin DBS. We just missed the Ferrari 458 and the Lamborghini Reventon!!

This picture was actually taken through glass one night when they were closed. They had one of their mags on display at a weird angle to an Aston Martin DB-S so I thought it'd make a good picture out of it.... and in black and white of course!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tokyo Office

This shot is of my wife checking e-mails in our office in my father and stepmother's apartment in Otsuka, Tokyo. It's a very old apartment, probably 50-60 years old (at least for Tokyo it's old). The old building manager said when he first moved in, he could see Mt.Fuji from the rooftop. You can barely look 1 mile away now, with all the tall buildings. Anyway, the apartment takes me back to the old Japan: paper sliding doors, tatami floors, etc. The home office though is somewhat modern-ish with hardwood floors installed. I thought the black and white does justice to this old apartment, but the laptops puts the date in its proper period.......another picture of my wife, although somewhat silhouetted......

Baby Strollers in Full Force in Tokyo

Even just two years ago, you would rarely see baby strollers in busy parts of Tokyo. Maybe at a park or in the suburbs, but never on the Yamanote-sen during rush hour or in the middle of Seibu department store during the week. But in the last two years, I guess it's become more acceptable and almost trendy to have baby strollers, because now they're everywhere. In a place as tight and narrow as Japan, this can cause logistical issues, but I'm not to judge. The Japanese will always find a way to make it work......

I took this picture walking along an alley in Roppongi Hills area. I think it was a daycare centre, and all these baby strollers are parked like cars downstairs at the entrance of the garage.... I thought it looked pretty cute.

Another iPhone picture.......

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Walking at Night in Otsuka

My wife and I were walking to go eat ramen at Chabuton in Otsuka at night when I decided to take a few shots along the way........