Although Shanghai now has the largest population of any single urban jurisdiction, Tokyo is still by all means the largest urban area in the world, and has been for some time. The sum of Tokyo’s greater metropolitan population is over 36 million, which still dwarfs its competitors for now. Tokyo overtook New York as the world’s biggest city in the mid-1960s and since then, Tokyo has remained at the top.
In addition to size, Tokyo is rich. Tokyo has the largest total economic output (GDP) of any city in the world, even adjusting for income vs. the cost of living (PPP).
Despite Tokyo’s huge population and economic development, the city cuts a rather unknown visual image in most people’s minds. Images of blinking lights, crowded crosswalks and bustling noodle shops define Tokyo. The skyline is rather nondescript. Shanghai has its iconic, twisting futuristic … Read More »
A surge of Tokyo pedestrians doesn’t shuffle. A Tokyo crowd moves like a current, its unity seamless and sychronized. On a rainy day, from above, the umbrellas of Tokyo drift like leaves in a stream, independent and incongruent, yet guided by a common momentum. Down the narrowest alleys and side streets, these lids flock together like birds, graciously careful to not encroach or collide. Even for the most urbane first-time visitor to the city, swimming in a Tokyo crowd takes guts and determination. Observing it from a vantage point is often more pleasant, and far less embarrassing.
I remember exiting the Harajuku JR station on a Sunday afternoon in September, expecting to photograph the over-the-top fashions of the gothic Harajuku Girls. What I saw instead were hundreds of other downcast, yet eager faces peering from beneath the rims of their umbrellas. … Read More »
The Tsukiji fish market is widely known to be the largest fish market in the world, as well as one of the largest markets of any kind, anywhere. No visit to Tokyo is complete without a smelly pre-dawn wandering. Bring your camera and plenty of battery, as the vivid colors and juxtapositions here are amazing. The market is set to move locations in early 2016 so if you want to see it at the current location, be sure to plan your trip soon.
Remember that bar in Star Wars? Yes, the cantina with all the crazy creatures jamming and fighting. The Tsukiji market is something akin to this, except that the characters are soon to be traveling down an esophagus rather than sailing through space. You will see creatures you could never imagine on a plate. They are squirming, spitting, twisting … Read More »