Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tokyo crustacean

When I was in Tokyo last week (sorry, elsewhere, there’s no other way to say it) I wandered around with a borrowed digital camera trying to take the kind of hurried random snaps that will capture forever the soul of a complex and exotic nation.

Alas, I’m a crappy photographer and I have to say I feel self-consious taking photographs in public, especially if those photographs are of strangers.

So after a few shitty attempts at Tokyo night life:

And a crappy portrait of the author taken by a colleague (a little out-of-focus, I normally look better than this):

I decided to give up and fall back on that old standard: funny signs made by people who don’t speak proper English! as well as other vaguely amusing signs. Signs are easy. They don’t move, they don’t look at you accusingly and they don’t require any aesthetic input.

So as I shopped, I snapped. And here are the oh-so-amusing results.

Japan has been plagued by r’n’b and hip-hop created by robots. At last, there is a remedy:

A delightful pair of stickers on a Department store lift that demonstrates to Japanese and foreigners alike that when the doors close crustaceans attack!

Ever hunted for a spare key? Wondered where it went? Wonder no longer… (this Department store sign also explains soil erosion).

And from the tee-hee-hee department:

From a sign on a hotel in the Shibuya district (if you get any rest, you’re not doing it right):

I’m glad to say that it took me a while but I finally found Japan’s dark side beneath all the commercial glitz:

Yes, it was heady few days of profound cultural exchange. I like to think that when I flew out of Narita, both Japan and I were richer for the experience…

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