meiji shrine

I’ve been staring at this edit for hours, and really it’s time to just push it out and move on.

This is the Meiji Shrine, which is sort of a complex of imperial gardens and buildings. Much rich history. I was just sort of wandering through on my way to Shinjuku. Somewhat rainy, although the sun peeked out for a minute by the time I was reaching the southern end; I stopped at a little shop and had a coffee. Then I went on my way.

Posted by Matt on 2019-06-12 23:27:51 -0700

wandering last day in Tokyo

I do a lot of wandering when left to my own devices; I like the random chance of choosing a path at semi-random, as I did this day. Walked from one district in Tokyo to another, through the old Imperial gardens (I think; The big park between Shinjuku and Shibuya). This was the first part of that walk; the gardens get their own post.

I have to admire people like Craig Mod (second link is to his walking newsletter) who not only walk much farther than I do, but who can distill a day into a single image. I’m not sure I could, even if you held a gun to my head. Or maybe I could, and I’m being lazy? This is the internet tho, world of infinite bandwidth, and people like more pictures. There’s something very haute and designer-y about only putting out what you want to, and not what people ask for. It’s saying, ‘I know better than the people that want a lot of photos,’ and the damming thing is it might be right.

Speaking of walking: I’ve had a string of bad luck with my right ankle, stemming from an injury all the way back in 2003, when I was a college freshman. I got what I thought was a bad sprain, was off it for 6 weeks or so, and then thought nothing of it again. Then, a couple weeks ago, while walking around at the bouldering gym, I rolled it a little and it hurt a bit and swelled up a little, so I iced it and babied it for maybe a week, and it seemed to be better.

Then the Mormons went and had their open house; probably more walking than I’ve done at a stretch in quite a while. The next day, I had to drive back from the south bay for [unrelated]. Driving is a load-bearing exercise, and it kinda made it worse, such that when I got back I went immediately to the first clinic I found with an X-ray, to see what kind of damage I’d done. They were largely useless, didn’t even send me home with a splint.

So I went to Webster Ortho Urgent Care. They were great; really from beginning to end great care. Shot some more X-rays, assessed the joint by hand, and then went over the films with me about what they were seeing. Apparently, the old injury probably wasn’t just a sprain; from 16 years later, it’s difficult to tell, of course, but the way my bones had grown indicated something might be wrong. So later this week I’m getting an MRI and a consult with a surgeon, and maybe my ankle will be stabilized after all this.

Right now, I’m confined to a walking boot, as tolerated, which isn’t a ton. Mostly sat around all weekend. It’s possible the 10000mph summer has gone down a couple orders of magnitude, which kinda sucks. When your body says slow down this clearly though, it’s really imperative to listen.

Posted by Matt on 2019-06-02 22:38:22 -0700

cuponoodles museum -- ferris wheel -- some nice buildings

Something like day 9 of 10 here; our last full day in Tokyo was the day after this. We went to the cup-o-noodles museum, which was kind of equal parts fascinating and weirdly hero-worshiping of the founder/inventor of instant ramen, Momofuku Ando. One thing I didn’t get a picture of because I was starving, was the sort of food court area that had different noodle dishes from all over the world you could sample; I had like 3 different kinds of noodles, all delicious.

The ferris wheel: so right next to the museum in Yokohama was this little amusement park with a great big ferris wheel. Somehow we realized that tickets were cheap (300 yen sticks out in my mind but I could be misremembering) and hopped on. Went up and over the place, got some nice views, and some OK portraits of my traveling companions. I’m holding back the portrait of Sophia, because I know she’d hate it.

Which really just leaves the last photo, of the Atari-logo-shaped building. For some reason, I just really liked the shape of this building. Nice proportions. It’s a stitched panorama, about 95 megapixels. I have a couple from the same spot with the 15mm, but it was a bit too wide, and so I’d have had to crop. This works really nicely.

Posted by Matt on 2019-05-28 00:15:02 -0700

in search of food and other things

So, after we exited the TeamLab building, we were pretty hungry and the building next to it was kind of a mall, so we wandered in in search of food. The mall was a little weird, oddly empty, but I have no idea what qualifies as normal there. The whole thing was like they’d seen the inside of an Olive Garden once, described it to their designer, and said “Go nuts on it.” Faux aging paint jobs, fake marble, tile floors, the whole deal, but executed with this precision and workmanship that made it kind of alien?

One thing I like about visiting foreign lands is looking for the standards. Not just the shape of their outlets but the distance between them, are they grounded or GFCI by default. What materials do they use as standard? What are the bathroom fixtures made of? Doors? Locks? Lighting is interesting because it’s always different, affected by the local fire codes. Local brands of everything made to different specifications, not only the difference between inch and metric, but what do they consider a sufficient width, of say, scotch tape? Endlessly fascinating minutiae. Japan was great for that because even now a great deal of what they use is made there.

Anyway, after the weird mall, we walked down to this area with a lovely view, and took pictures. The Gundam was on the way to the pier near the statue of liberty; that photo is a composite of 6 or 8 images. I didn’t have the wide angle on when the people were there, so I got it in sections and stitched it together in Lightroom. Not sure what the golden cigar is about. Then we found a bunch of street food that would have at least been tastier than the mall food, but alas we had already eaten. I think I got a Pocari because I couldn’t get enough of that stuff.

Then we went to Akihabara in search of electronics components, but it seemed like all the shops were just selling used cameras and computers. Interesting, and not bad prices, but not at all what I was hoping for. Apparently you can hire a guide to get you in the good shops, but unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s hard. We were all exhausted at this point, and just went back to our respective hotels to pass out.

Posted by Matt on 2019-05-23 00:22:17 -0700