Horse racing machine

I love Japanese game-centers, when I find one I always go inside to explore. The horse racing simulation machines are the most surrealistic, I’ve already talked about the Konami machine where the players sit down in front of a big screen to place their bets.

In this one I recorded in a video at Ikebukuro, the players sit down surrounding a table where little horse figurines circle around.

It is a pity that lately many game-centers in Tokyo are starting to close down.

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Star Wars at Nebuta festival

The promotion of the new Star Wars in Japan is taking really interesting initiatives. Last weekend Star Wars characters participated at the Nebuta matsuri (traditional festival). It is one of the most important festivals in Japan and it is celebrated every summer in Aomori.

“Nebuta” are the illuminated warriors that cross the streets riding chariots surrounded by locals dancing. The dancers follow the rhythm of the traditional music calle rasserā.

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Video with my sakura pictures

My friend Francesc Miralles is a music composer and he is letting me use his original music to make videos with my pictures. This is his latest song, and these are my latest sakura pictures that I took this year. The singer is Jordi Medianoche and the model is Yurie Shimizu, thank you all!

Enjoy it better full screen and with headphones.

The 12 Autumns #2 Let it go, let it come from Héctor García on Vimeo.

If you like any of the pictures in the video let me know on the comments and I can give you the high resolution version of them.

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Sankei-en gardens

If Shinjuku-gyoen is my favorite park in Tokyo, Sankei-en 三渓園 is my favorite one in Kanagawa. It was a private garden owned by a family of silk traders one hundred years ago. Sankei Hara was the family member who first bought the land. He loved Japanese gardens and architecture so much that he decided to design the garden by himself, he also brought traditional wood houses that he loved from all over Japan.

If you visit it early during a weekday it is a very quiet place with areas where the forest and the Japanese style houses will be for you and nobody else. I recommend it to everyone who complains about being tired of visiting temples and shrines filled with tourists when traveling around Japan for the first time.

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Living on the floor

First it was hard for me to take off my shoes every time I entered a Japanese house or private space. Now I’ve become so used to it that when I’m back in Spain I tend to take off my shoes even in the cases I’m not supposed to.

My subconscious tells me that it is not good to walk into a house with my dirty shoes. Even if the shoes are not really dirty, the fact that the shoes have been “outside” makes them “dirty”, or “not-pure” enough to touch the floor of an interior place.

I’ve found that living on the floor has its advantages. I love that it makes even tiny houses look wider when you are inside. By forcing you to be on the floor you tend to have less furniture. If I really need furniture I try to buy “low” ones (low chairs, low tables etc), so I have good access to them even when I’m sitting on the floor. It also makes everything look like much less cluttered than when we fill our rooms with “high” bookshelfs/beds/kitchen-tables like we do in western houses.

Take off your shoes, sit on the floor next to a window filled with sunlight, read a book while drinking a tea.

 

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Sushi cats

I found these funny sushi cats. They made me happy in this 1st of August starting here in Tokyo with extremely high temperatures and humidity.

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More at Imgur

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Shiitake Yakitori

When people who are traveling for the first time in Japan ask me for food recommendations I always tell them to explore and try anything they find. It is very difficult to find a bad place in Japan, on average, restaurants will prepare you amazing food.

I was with two friends and we just entered the nearest yakitori place. We ordered and the yakitori in general was just ok, but the shiitake that you can see in the picture being prepared by the woman was the best one I have ever tried! The texture and the flavor was just perfect. My friends agreed and we ended up having tons of shiitake for dinner :)

Food recommendations in Japan: explore and try many things, even after ten years I’m still discovering new places and dishes!

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Shibuya rain

I love when it rains in Tokyo, it makes the city even more photogenic. It is difficult to walk around with a camera in one hand and hold an umbrella with the other one, but I always try to force myself to go out when it rains.

It is always fun and inspiring to go out shooting while it rains: the lighting changes everywhere with the humidity, neon sign reflections are everywhere, the mood in the air is different.

 

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