Returning to Tokyo

    After far too much time away, I’m taking the opportunity of a Thanksgiving break to return to Tokyo for a few days. It’s wonderful how familiar and homely the place still feels after all this time.

    On Monday, having an hour or so before catching up with my friend Nao, I stopped by Shibuya, and–indulging my professional curiosity–checked out the new Apple Store.

    Staircase

    The Apple staircase starts to feel somewhat of a retail institution

    One of the fantastic things about Tokyo is the myriad interesting architectural features that can be found thoroughout the city, new (like the Apple Store, and the ever-changing faces of Ginza) through old. I am particularly fond of the pervasive almost-Brutalist architecture and how it ages.

    Windows


    As is always the case, the afternoon spent with Nao was one of good taste and design: we stopped by an au store to check out the 15 year anniversary reimagining of the INFOBAR–a cellphone design that was already on its second iteration when I was living in Tokyo. It provides a real breath of fresh air in today’s homogenous world of all-screen phones.

    INFOBAR 3

    Afterwards, we explored the area around Nao’s home, near Shinagawa, and took in some of the creative pieces there: I’ve come to really appreciate street art during my time living in San Francisco, and it was fun to see the local take.

    Street Art

    During our time together, we also had the opportunity to discuss one of the fascinating projects Nao is working on–it is a true pleasure to be able to share life with so many inspiring and creative people.


    On Michael’s encouragement, I’ve brought my DSLR along for the ride and am enjoying experimenting with just a 50 mm lens. I’ll be publishing my photos along the way.

    Mount Umunhum

    Mountains

    Lukas and I took our bikes to Mount Umunhum and tried out some mountain biking: down one of the trails, and then back by way of the road. I’ve recently been enjoying SoulCycle spin classes, but this ride definitely gave them a run for their money, making the downhill moments all the more rewarding.

    It’s nice to enjoy a little of the Californian lifestyle, and the scenery is truly beautiful.

    Radar tower

    The old radar tower–closed now due to peeling lead paint–offsets the scenery with a striking, almost brutalist cube.

    Calendars

    Each year, I produce calendars for family and loved ones, featuring photos taken throughout the year.

    Typically, I use the built-in support for creating wall calendars in Photos for macOS. In Vienna however, Junko and I wanted something a little smaller, so I turned to the desk calendar from Shutterfly. Following an email informing me that they were discontinuing the product, I realised it was time to capture and share the various calendars I’ve produced over the years.

    Shutterfly’s preview generator–as used in their web-based editor–is fully parametrised and can be encouraged to produce much larger renders which I’ve turned into previews and PDFs:

    Print projects can also be exported from Photos as PDFs: