Spilling out into the mass of dark haired commuters at Shinjuku station, I knew that Japan would be like no other country I had ever explored.
1 month, no real plan and no accommodation, just a good mate and a dodgy set of directions to a motel in Tokyo. After 1 hour of walking, we found it, only to be told that we wouldn't be getting a room for the night. Alex and I stepped out into the cool breeze and walked to the Green Plaza Motel across from 'Koban Police station.' This is where, hopefully, we would get to sleep for the night. A few exchanges in broken Japanese and we found ourselves couped up in our first capsules. Sleep deprived and stressed, I stared up at the ceiling, wondering what the hell I was doing there. Exhaustion took me and I slept like a baby. The next morning, we poked our heads out of our 'rooms' to see hundreds of snow flakes, falling and covering the inner city. In that moment, all my negative feelings evaporated and I watched. Alex stood still as ever, experiencing the sight of snow for the first time.
The remainder of the trip opened my eyes to a beautiful culture, un tainted by the western world. Japan felt like a big, exciting contradiction. Future and past collide, tradition meets new ideas, kimonos and leather jackets blend as one and seemingly, Japan maintains a perfect balance of order and chaos. Actually, ordered Chaos. That's how I would describe Tokyo. A city that assaults the senses but knows when to slow down. I observed and often found myself stuck in rush hour. Moving too fast, but rush hour is only temporary and when it came time to slow down, I could take in the beautiful subtleties that make Japan and its people so inviting.
I travelled through Japan in epic company. A battalion of fair skinned brothers, taking on and embracing this new world. Kel, Ku, Lix, Cone and eventually Luke, Whitey, Sav, Jarryd and Tay. What a defining trip. Through Tokyo, to Hakuba, Nagano, back to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. 1 month, 1 camera and a wealth of new experiences.
The following is a little photographic journey, better late than never. I hope you enjoy.
- All images (bar 1 of me by Kuyan) taken by Jellan Merlant-Pilonchery | Clash Studio