Yellow Lines

What makes the streets of a place feel distinct from other places? For the people that get to Japan for the first time the change is so radical that almost any element in the environment feels different: lamp posts, hanging power lines, manhole covers, neon advertising, kanjis, the nets to cover the trash that have been ripped by crows… But with the passing of time you get used to everything and it’s difficult to find “flavor” in those small details that make everything. You start feeling like a fish that has never escaped out of the sea. With the passing of time I have lost the sensitivity to the local charms, much more stuff catches my attention walking in the streets outside of Japan than in here.

Even so, I have realized observing my photos that there are some topics that are always there. There are details that I capture repeatedly with my cameras, not getting tired of them, even after many years have passed. One of these obsessions that emerge in my subconscious are the yellow lines that populate the sidewalks and subway stations in Japan.

The yellow lines are used by blind people to find their way around, feeling them with their canes or just by stepping on them. They are also useful to know how close in the platform you can get to the trains. “It is dangerous. Wait behind the yellow line” “危ないですから、黄色線までおさがりください” – you can hear every time a train is approaching the platform.

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

My yellow “art” was present this year at the Tokyo Art Fair thanks to a contribution of artist Yoshiko Brigitte. It was strange for me to see strangers stopping by to contemplate one of those yellow lines that I captured with my camera almost ten years ago under the rain.

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

Urban Mini Temple

When strolling around the streets of Japanese cities one of the things that I enjoy the most is bumping into small Buddhist temples or Shintoist mini shrines. Sometimes they are so well integrated into the architecture of the buildings that you might not even notice them when passing by.

mini temple

mini temple

Toranomon Hills

This past week I have been working for a couple of days at Toranomon Hills, the new tallest building in Tokyo (inaugurated one month ago) after surpassing Tokyo Midtown. Toranomon Hills is 255.5 meters / 838 feet tall and has been built by Mori, the same construction company that built Roppongi Hills.

Unlike Roppongi Hills, this new complex doesn’t have a shopping area or a movie theater. It only has offices, several residential floors, two floors for conferences, many restaurants and a small area with a garden. The mascot of the building is called Toranomon (トラのもん) and was designed by the production staff of Doraemon.

Can you spot the Toranomon mascot in the following photos?

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Official website of Toranomon Hills