Tokyo, My Cut

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Our photographer exposes the energy of Tokyo's street life—neon, anime, jagged architecture—as well as its quieter moments and whimsy.

About the photographer
Originally from New York, Jun Takagi studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and now lives in Tokyo (though he claims, "I'll always be a New Yorker"). His photographs have been published in travel, food, and news publications; find out more at juntakagi.com.

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Photo captions
1 I love that you can go to the beach, get a suntan, and even windsurf at Odaiba Seaside Park, not far from the high-rises and department stores of Ginza. Photo

2 An impeccably dressed Kabuki actress sizes up the competition. This almost 120-year-old Kabuki-za (theater) is to be rebuilt fairly soon. Earthquake safety standards were a little less stringent back then. Photo

3 The sphere observatory of the Fuji TV building in Odaiba—ideal for a super-villain's futuristic lair. Photo

4 The Imperial Palace, right in the middle of Tokyo. Like the royal family, it retains a low-key and timeless presence. Photo

5 Akihabara, where otaku ("fans," and sometimes "fanatics") hang out. In this neighborhood, cute young characters in sailor-type schoolgirl uniforms—possessing super powers, ray guns, and eyes larger than billiard balls—hold sway over nerdy young men. But not this guy. Photo

6 Sometimes, you just want an authentic, scene-free meal. This is a good bet: a bunch of skinny restaurants crammed together in a few alleys on the north side of west Shinjuku. Photo

7 I snapped a shot of these old friends taking a break in one of the alcoves of the Senso-ji temple gates, an ever more familiar scene as Japan's population grays. Photo

8 In ancient times, this statue of Raijin, the god of thunder, must have been a truly frightening sight to pilgrims at the Senso-ji temple. Now his fierce gaze guards a long line of gift shops. Photo

9 A solemn moment of prayer apart from the tourist crowds. I enjoy the quieter moments at the Senso-ji temple and the surrounding shitamachi (old town) of Asakusa. Photo

10 I'm partial to a little romance, and the Rainbow Bridge is one of the few Tokyo sights that always gets me. Photo

11Miru dake desu (just looking). Photo

12 Every time I see this Louise Bourgeois spider at the Roppongi Hills complex, I wonder what they were thinking. The owner, building tycoon Minoru Mori, is famous for developing a wide web of buildings throughout Tokyo. The piece seems a little symbolically creepy here.... Photo

13 On the left is Akibanana (a banana cake's pink-haired mascot), and on the right is the prime minister of Japan, Taro Aso. Everything in Japan has the potential to be transformed into a cartoonish character. Except the royal family. Photo

14 A savory pancake topped with an egg and seaweed, the Ameyokoyaki is named after the street it's sold on, Ameyokocho. It's home to a great street market, from the fish sellers' patter to the "authentic" designer bags. Photo

15 Three young men—smoking isn't allowed until you're 20 years old—taking a tobacco time-out in Akihabara, the anime/computer game center of Tokyo. Photo

16 Compact mirrors at Venus Fort, a shopping mall styled after 17th-century European streets. The Japanese tend to like their kawaii (cute) factor combined with a little high fashion. Photo

17 The Tokyo International Forum building in Yurakucho resembles a fish or a ship. I can't decide. Photo

18 The ancient gate at Shiba Daimon on the road leading to the Zojo-ji temple and, just a little further on, to Godzilla's favorite target, Tokyo Tower. Photo

19 Kabukicho: Neon signs for everything. Mah-jongg, karaoke, moneylenders, Internet cafés, hostesses...everything. Photo

20 Shinbashi Station: that short pause after the cheerful departure jingle, just before the door closes. Photo

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