Yokoso Japan #4: Life is a cartoon

Japanese signs are far away from Western style. Even when it’s about something that could kill you, there is a cute puppy to tell you warning.

Parisian pink rabbit is a… well, what is that animal?

I’m sure I’ve seen you in a manga before!

Hello, I’m Elphi the Elephant!

Hello, fell free to use my elevator!

Hello, I’m an orange and it makes me happy!

Hello, I am Strawby the strawberry!

Hello, I’m a … Well, am I a monster?

Hello, I’m a dog (and a construction worker as well).

We told you, don’t play with the elevator when you have a dog, a leash, your grandma and a jumping rope.

Hello, I’m Alga the seaweed!

Hello, I’m a cop and I protect people!

Smoking is a little bit weird in Japan. Basically you cannot smoke outside but can smoke inside most of bars and restaurants. To be honest, you can smoke outside but only in some designated area. So, what is wrong with cigarettes? Cancer? Well… If you read signs, you will note it’s not about health but mainly about carrying a hot butt across the streets and… you could hurt someone! So don’t forget: don’t walk and smoke …but feel free to smoke 3 packets of cigarettes when having fun in a bar (yes, Japanese people smoke a lot!)

I’m a poor lonesome cigarette, please adopt me!

Falling in love (again) with James

Samedi 8 mai 2010, je viens de réaliser que je vais voir LCD Soundsystem pour la cinquième fois en concert. Acte manqué qui trahi mon adoration pour la musique de James Murphy, compositeur de talent et chanteur aux cordes vocales cassées. En y réfléchissant bien, LCD fait partie de ces rares artistes qui savent mixer le rock et l’électronique; qui m’ont fait aimer la guitare, moi qui vomissais le rock dix ans plus tôt. Le tout en deux albums seulement …trois si on compte la bande-son pour Nike 45:33 …quatre avec la BO de Greenberg …cinq si on ajoute le nouvel opus tout juste sorti hier. James Murphy est un homme orchestre (cf. les crédits à la fin de chaque album) qui explose en live lorsque, accompagné de vrais musiciens, il envoie le meilleur de sa musique. Cette soirée au Bataclan n’a pas dérogé à la règle et, après une excellente prestation de Yacht en première partie, nous avons dansé 100 minutes avec LCD. À la sortie, mes vêtement trempés de sueur et mon large sourire suffisaient à exprimer mon bonheur.

Playlist de mémoire:

  • Us V. Them
  • Drunk Girls
  • All My Friends
  • Losing My Edge
  • Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
  • I Can Change
  • Someone Great
  • Tribulation
  • Pow Pow
  • Movement
  • Get Innocuous
  • Yeah
  • New York, I Love You

Yokoso Japan #3: Vending Machines

5 millions of vending machines in the streets of Japan… You will never be thirsty again.

Just insert between 100 and 150¥ and guess what you gonna drink!

Weird white Fanta that tastes like milk… or drug, I don’t know.


Have you noticed some prices are blue and some are red? Yes, you can get cold or hot coffee in a can!

Good news: drinks are not very sweet. Bad news: Everything tastes like chemicals.

Can’t you read this is Fanta?

Japanese Red Bull is made in Austria just like everywhere else.

You can buy cigarettes as well… but need an RFID card to prove you’re more than 20 years old.

Being a sick child in Japan must be easy as most of drinks taste like drugs (remember this pink syrup we had when we were kids?)

The worst drink I had: kind of a milky sour sweet water…

You can even buy batteries…

Yokoso Japan #2: Tokyo Architecture

Ikebukuro: view from my hotel room

(click to enlarge any picture)

Buildings next to Ikebukuro Station

Marunouchi: Tokyo International Forum designed by Uruguayan architect Raphael Viñoly in 1996.

Ginza: a bulding behind luxury street Chuo-dori

Ueno: thin buildings on main street

Ueno Park: Gallery of Horyuji Treasures designed by Yoshio Taniguchi in 1999

Taito: residential area
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Azumabashi: Asahi Super Dry Hall designed by Philippe Starck in 1989 next to Asahi Tower

Odaiba: new buildings in front of Tokyo Harbor

Fuji TV Headquarter in Odaiba designed by Kenzo Tange in 1996

View from Odaiba bridge


Roppongi: detail next to National Art Center

Tokyo Tower: a 332 meters orange Eiffel Tower

View from Tokyo Tower

Ebisu Garden Place: Joel Robuchon restaurant in the background

Shinjuku: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building designed by Kenzo Tange in 1991

Harajuku: house

Harajuku: Chanel, Bulgari & Moma building on Omote-Sando