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.