Best places to enjoy the Japanese autumn colours – kouyou (紅葉 こうよう)

Kouyou (紅葉 こうよう) could be translated as “the colours of the leafs in autumn”. During the months of October and November, the green forests turn yellow, orange an vermillion until winter arrives and snow covers Japanese mountains with a white. The ginkgoes bring the yellow, the momiji and kaede (Maple trees) add the rest of the tones to the Japanese autumn.

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It is celebrated all around Japan, and many places become touristic attractions just because they are specially beautiful during the kouyou. This is a list of the best locations to enjoy kouyou by Nihon Kankou:

If you want to enjoy it without going far away from Tokyo I recommend Mount Takao and also the Rikugi-en gardens which are very easy to access from Komagome station near central Tokyo.

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Recovering fallen objects from train tracks

I’ve always loved the silhouettes in this sign that can be seen in some train stations here in Tokyo. It is a train station employee using a long stick to help a girl recover her hat from the train track.

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This is a video in which I capture the full process of fallen object recovery.

How about just using a pokéball? 😉

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Japanese sweet

Japanese sweets keep fascinating me. It is more about the wrapping, the colours and the shape than the flavour. Each unit feels special. I got this sweet from a colleague who travelled to Kaga.

Buying a present (Omiyage お土産) for the colleagues in your team at work when travelling is a very ingrained tradition in Japan. It doesn’t need to be something special, it is ok to just bring one cookie or sweet for each member. I have the feeling that the main purpose of this omiyage tradition is to help make small-talk in the office. The act of giving a cookie to each of the people working with you is an opportunity to talk about things unrelated to work.

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Japan popular brands map

I love this map that shows a map of Japan with the logos of many of its top brands at the location where the headquarters are. Notice how most of them cluster around Tokyo and Osaka, and car manufacturers are around Aichi. Nothing in Shikoku? I love discovering that Hudson (Takahashi Meijin) is in Hokkaido 🙂

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Second hand cameras in Japan

Years ago it was worthwhile to buy new cameras in Japan (It was generally cheaper). I don’t think that’s true anymore, for most new cameras the price difference (Japan – other countries) is almost nonexistent.

But when people travelling to Japan ask me, I tell them that if they are really into photography what is still worthwhile is to enjoy visiting secondhand camera shops. Many of them have disappeared but there are still plenty of secondhand and oldschool film camera shops that you can find in the most random places. This one in the pictures is a very local shop that Carlos and me found while walking around Asakusa. From outside it doesn’t feel like a camera shop, it blends with the soba restaurants and coffee places in the same street.

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This the exact location of the shop in the pictures and these are other popular secondhand camera shops in Tokyo are Ozawa Camera, Fujiya Camera and Map Camera.

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Pokémon GO in Tokyo

Since almost two weeks ago I’ve been playing Pokémon GO here in Japan. The first days it was pretty crazy to see all the people (Literally almost everyone) was playing the game while walking on the streets of Tokyo. It was surrealistic but also really fun to go to parks and join the crowds hunting for new Pokémon. Last days I’m a little bit bored of it and I’ve also noticed that not so many people are playing it anymore.

I’ve found many rare Pokémon at Shinjuku Gyoen, even on the streets around the park crowds can be seen from morning to late at night gathering near Pokéstops and Gyms. If you are into fighting at gyms, the best areas are nearby the main Yamanote Line stations.

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Almost everyone looking at their smartphones.

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Yo capturé mi primer Pikachu también en Shinjuku Gyoen pero en una zona apartada donde ¡no había nadie!

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This was my first Pikachu. I captured it at Shinjuku Gyoen, one of the places with more Pikachu in Tokyo.

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And this was my first Bulbasaur

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This is a park at Meguro late at night with people playing Pokémon go

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This is a video I took at Shinjuku Gyoen park where you can appreciate the level at which everyone is focused on their Pokémon hunting instead of the beauty of the nature around them 🙂

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Godzilla at Shinjuku

One of the biggest changes at the Kabukicho area in Shinjuku has been the demolition of Koma Gekijo, one of the most traditional theatre halls in Tokyo. It has been replaced by a huge tower building with a hotel and 4D cinema inside. The cool thing is that there is a huge Godzilla head on the side of the building. At night, at 19:00, the Godzilla eyes are illuminated and it throws smoke from his mouth.

This is the exact location of the Godzilla at Shinjuku.

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Empty your cup before filling it

One of my objectives for this year is to simplify my life at all levels. I want to run away from any added complexity even though sometimes it is very difficult to resist my impulses and social pressure.

Today I found this Koan that reminds me how important it is to empty yourself before filling again.

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

This is my year of working less, travel less, have less personal projects, read less, buy less, go to less events, watch less movies/series, take less pictures, write less… 2016 being year that I’m focusing on emptying my cup. What about your cup, is it full or empty?

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Kancho figurines

I still remember how much a laughed when I learned about the Kancho. “Kancho” is a procedure in which you attack your victim from behind putting together both of your hands in a “kancho position”, the purpose is to hit your “rival’s” ass with your index fingers.

The news today is that Takara Tomy has released a new series of figures adopting the kancho position. If you buy several figures they can be “interconnected” 🙂

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Via RocketNews

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Japanese Sleeping – Vol 20

Yet another edition of the most popular series on this blog. 20th edition of the Japanese Sleeping photo series! As always with all my respect and affection to the Japanese people, I have also learned to sleep in trains and enjoy it 🙂

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