Crowded, noisy and chaotic by day. Quiet and brooding by night, Sham Shui Po (深水埗) is a quintessential Hong Kong working-class neighbourhood in the heart of Kowloon that reflects the metropolis’s dual personalities. Read more
With temperatures approaching 40°C, Shanghai is probably not the best city to visit during the summer. Nevertheless, I found myself there mid-July and, while not safely ensconced in the sanctuary of air conditioning, managed to take the camera outside and enjoy the quieter than normal streets. Read more
I’ve had few opportunities to return to Europe, since moving to East Asia over 10 years ago, so was very happy when I got an excuse to spend a week in Paris this past February. My last visit to the French capital was in 2005 at the ripe age of 21 so I was eager to see the city through my slightly older eyes! Read more
Back when I used to live in Waseda, one of my favourite places to hang out was the quaint neighbourhood of Kagurazaka (神楽坂) which provides a snapshot of old Tokyo with its many narrow alleyways and traditional restaurants. Over the summer I paid a return visit one evening to enjoy the annual Awa Odori (阿波踊り) festival which is held along the main Waseda Dori shopping street. Read more
For a few weeks every summer in Japan the streets of neighbourhoods around the country come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of traditional festivals (matsuri 祭) usually sponsored by a local shrine or temple. Notable matsuri often feature processions including elaborate floats (dashi 山車), which are pulled through the town, accompanied by performers and musicians. Read more
A week after attending the energetic Awa Odori dance festival in Shimokitazawa I was lucky enough to see it’s neighbour’s equivalent rendition in nearby Koenji (高円寺). While the clothes, dances and music were almost identical, Koenji’s is on a grander scale with over 10 thousand dancers from 200 groups performing for around 1 million people over 2 days.
One of the main things I’ve come to love about living in Tokyo is the plethora of traditional festivals which take place in the streets of local neighbourhood throughout the year. The summer months are particularly active and back in August during the Obon festival (お盆) I attended the wonderful Awa Odori (阿波踊り) dance festival held in Shimokitazawa (下北沢). Read more