The ugliness that surrounds

Some days for me Tokyo is so soul-wrenchingly ugly.
For example, this is what I passed on the way to Hama-rikyu Gardens.


Most days, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

10 thoughts on “The ugliness that surrounds

  1. but this is not ugly!! I love a Tokyo like this, look at the rich architectural landscape, the lovely lego building construction in the background, (in Shiodome aren’t you?), and if you rotate 180 degrees, you get to see the new Dentsu building of Jean Nouvel and some other building in front which is as nice.
    Then you have the express-overway which is one of the things I like most about Tokyo, cos we don’t have any like that back in France and England, this is so neo-Tokyo (call me a bit otaku here).
    Hey! cheer up Nadine, I hope your day continues better than it started. 😉
    More shiodome pics here:
    take care,

  2. Yeah, Paul, I agree with you. Tokyo has two sides of lovely–the urban and the traditional. I love them both.
    I especially like this capsule hotel–the lego-ish one. It’s been there a long time and was one of the first in Tokyo. Girls aren’t allowed, though, so I’ve never been in it. ;-(

  3. Nadine- you’re on an ugliness kick aren’t you! Sometimes it hits me that Tokyo (to say nothing of my haunt, Saitama) is so unremittingly ugly, but most of the time I’m still in the “it’s all so bleepin’ different” stage that I don’t really take notice of it. In some ways I’m trying to prolong that stage, like a dream, so I don’t have to deal with the living nightmare of being surrounded by so much concrete and ugliness…

  4. For me, Tokyo is both aesthetically intriguing and downright ugly, depending on my mood. There was definitely a period, three or so years back, when my eyes were open to everything around me and I was keenly photographing the nooks and crannies of Tokyo in all its magnificently ugly splendor – the concrete buildings, expressways, sharp angles, and an ultra-sanitised aesthetic dominated my work. Now, I have to say I’m either oblivious to it or appalled, especially when I come back to Narita from some beautiful European city, for example. It would be great to have a fresh eye for it all again, like most of us did when we first arrived in Japan!

  5. There’s an interesting book from Atelier Bow-Wow, Made in Tokyo, about the prevalent architecture in Tokyo, which they named “Da-me” architecture.
    Basically the book’s authors, claim that although Japanese culture demands constant change and improvement on small scales, such as in fashion or consumer electronics, it paradoxally accepts dubious design in the urban context.
    I also think that the Japanese obsession of getting the most out of small spaces is rather negative, because it tends to blind them about the broader picture.

  6. Joao– on your last sentence, if it’s an “obsession,” then it is one borne out of necessity. there’s only so much space to go around on these islands.

  7. I’m with Nadine. The picture posted has positive elements in it, but overall, most of Tokyo is rather unpleasing to the eye. Too much going on, not unlike bad modern art.
    Your mileage may vary.

  8. Thats pretty beautiful. If you ever took a drive down Toronto’s suburbs, its a total eyesore compared to the picture you posted.

  9. Hmmmm…….. its not the first time you’ve complained that Tokyo is ugly. If its that bad, why don’t you just leave and go hme?!

  10. I’ve been living in Tokyo off and on, over a period of 34 years, for 21 years now. When I was young I asolutely loved Tokyo and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Now that I’ve spent some time in Oregon, Boston, and New York (besides lots of traveling) my views have changed and at times Tokyo does seem oppressive and appallingly ugly. Especially after Oregon. But Tokyo isn’t empty or dark or heavy with any sense of decrepitude. There is none of the sense of hopelessness and indifference that New York and Boston have (witness the “Big Dig” in Boston, and the awful, war-ravaged-like neighborhoods of the Bronx and Harlem). And one great thing about Tokyo, which European cities hide (I’m German, from Hannover) is the honesty of its garbage, wires, framing, and daily appliances being out in the open. They don’t sweep them under the rug. And one thing I always appreciate is just how *quiet* Tokyo is for such an enormous city.
    Really, there is no need to live in Tokyo… there is a rich world of towns and villages and mountain valleys throughout Japan.

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