As I would guess is the case for many people, I could trace my personal and professional interests to a broad array of influences. The city and people of Tokyo, however, occupy a special place in having had perhaps the most profound impact on my thoughts on the kind of place I would want to live and general philosophy on what is important in life. It’s a place that offers so much in terms of people to meet, places to explore and experiences to have, all enhanced by an extremely efficient transportation network that, for many, relegates cars to the station of lifestyle choice, rather than necessity. There are rich lessons to be learned from how it has excelled in creating walkable, livable and lovable neighborhoods through transit oriented development.
For three days in the fall of 2012 I revisited Tokyo, running around the city from sunrise until the last train, documenting transit, neighborhoods and all of the bits between, through photography and video. There were several things I wanted to get out of this excursion. I am on the cusp of launching business development activities for my startup company Third Place Media, which will produce multimedia content and communications strategies to help government, merchants, developers and community groups shape the character of their communities, with an eye toward reducing car dependence by facilitating alternative modes of transportation. I wanted to have very strong visuals for use in promotional material and mock deliverables, and I couldn’t think of a better place than Tokyo from which to draw. Secondly, I plan to package these materials into case studies as needed, for use by (US) clients looking for exposure to development approaches in other parts of the world. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I needed to go back to the well and immerse myself in the sheer joy of exploring places (both new and familiar) on foot. I wanted to get another dose of the city that unquestionably drove me to follow a path to my current undertaking. Tokyo delivered in spades.
Over the next month or so, I’ll be sorting, selecting and editing the material, publishing photo posts as they’re ready and a set of short films at the end. There are a few ways you can follow along. If you’re subscribed to the blog or follow me on Twitter (@mjvito), or would like to, then you’re already set. (And thanks, by the way!) Alternatively, just bookmark this post. Each of the items below will become a link once complete, so this will serve as the table of contents when all is done. A few changes may come up as I go, but this is the general plan:
- Train Culture: Welcome Back
- Takeshita Street in Harajuku
- AFURI in Ebisu
- Kamukura in Shibuya
- Miyazaki Shoten in Nishihara
- Palm Shotengai in Musashikoyama
- Togoshi Ginza Shotengai
- Ivan Ramen in Rokakoen
- Bassanova in Shindaita
- Waseda Street Walk from Takadanobaba to Kagurazaka
- Iidabashi Station
- Tokyo Station
- Kyushu Jangara in Akihabara
- Ueno Station
- Ameya Yokocho
- Nippori Station “Train Museum”
- Joyful Minowa Shotengai in Minowabashi
- Shinjuku Station
- Toden Arakawa Line
Finally, here is a very small sample of what’s to come. These photos will reappear later with full explanations as their respective sets are finished. For now, please enjoy this appetizer and welcome to The Tokyo Project.