We noticed from our hotel window yesterday, that people were setting up a market in the Shinkuku Gyoen Park behind the Tokyo Government Building, so we strolled over to see what might be on sale. As you would expect in a flea market, the little spaces marked out on the ground for individual stalls all contained a variety of second hand clothing, jewellery and assorted junk. It took all my mental energy not to invest in one of the scale models of the Volkswagen Combi Vans or the plastic back scratchers that were on sale at bargain prices.
We had a pleasant walk through the park and spent some time people watching. This man spent a long time photographing sparrows and we couldn’t work out why he might have found them so interesting. My Aunt Hatsu told tell me that towards the end of WW2, people in Tokyo were so hungry that they resorted to eating sparrows as food. Perhaps this man remembered those days!
After lunch I went on my second photo tour which was held in the Hama-Riky Gardens near Tokyo Harbour. This very large garden (park) is a typical garden built by a feudal lord in the Edo period. Its large lake is actually a tidal pool and was a site for wild-duck hunting. The surrounding gardens are built to resemble the places where the Shogun originally lived and are very traditional in their design and layout. The moat and some of the fortified walls still remain.
In these modern times, the gardens are surrounded by skyscrapers and modern buildings. Therefore the theme of the photo tour was focussed around capturing the ‘old and the new’. Not only that, but Japanese art is very different to Western Art. In the West, photographers are taught to fill the entire frame to maintain interest where in Japan, artists and photographers include a lot of negative (empty) space. Our photo guide challenged us to photograph the gardens in a Japanese style, but I am afraid that I am too much of a traditionalist to make much of an adaptation. My best attempts were these photos.
Our tour continued on through some of the nearby commercial buildings and it was very interesting trying to capture the various angles of this modern architecture. One of the most interesting buildings was the Tokyo Exhibition Hall. We thought that the government was very daring to give the architect free enough rein to create such an interesting building.
Today was our last day in Tokyo and we were fortunate to be able to spend a few hours with David, Yuki and little Orin. He has grown a lot since we last saw him as a four week old baby. We all had a cuddle and left him to have a nap in his pram. After lunch and a long chat, we headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags annd get to the airport. David and Yuki were continuing on to do some shopping.