Posts tagged “Photos

The Misconception of “Tokyo = Japan”

This topic has been on my mind for quite some time especially after living abroad and hearing from my non-Japanese friends talk about their travel experiences in Japan. Especially after the 3.11 crisis, one of the first reactions I noticed was the foreign concern over whether or not Tokyo was affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Second impression was people saying “Oh Tokyo is not affected, phew then everything is cool”. I agree, Tokyo is the capital city; center for Japan’s politics, economy, culture and society and if Tokyo was hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami, the effect on Japan and the entire globe would have been detrimental(hence the nuclear reactors were strategically tucked away in a local environment but we can talk more on this later). But from my experience abroad, besides a small number of Chinese people who have come to  love the flower gardens in Hokkaido, most people will definitely start off in Tokyo and maybe visit Kyoto to see the “ Real Japanese culture” if they have time. I think it’s right to say that most people can’t name another prefecture other than Tokyo or Osaka. From this concept  it is not a mistake for foreigners to think that Tokyo is what Japan is all about. But from this 3.11 crisis and the effect of the Tohoku region to the rest of Japan has taught us that a much more balanced country with resources spread across the entire country is desperately in need.  But domestically speaking, why is everyone moving to Tokyo? This summer I have spent much of my time traveling around the local scenes around Japan and I can clearly see that not only the birth rate in Japan is in decline but it’s even more severe in the regions outside of Tokyo. “The youths have all left and found a new living in Tokyo and Osaka” said one of the shop keepers in Miyazaki prefecture.

This trend of human resources, information technology centering in Tokyo has stopped the development of other areas in Japan. When in times of crisis I can’t stop but to think of how the US has New York as its financial center and Washington DC as the center for politics; China has Shanghai and Beijing … you get my point. But this nuance of “If I go to Tokyo, I can make something/prove something for myself” ideology still exists today especially within the youth. It’s also interesting to note that the flexible and easy passage to Tokyo, making it possible for anyone in Japan to relocate to Tokyo. For a comparison with China, it’s not that easy for a Chinese person living in a third tier city to move into Beijing just because there’s more opportunities in Beijing. You need to have enough money saved up to get by in Beijing. Either way, this crisis has taught us many lessons and this idea of centralizing everything into Tokyo needs to stop now and regional government bodies need to step up. Is another round of Tokyo re-bidding to host the 2020 summer olympics really necessary? I’d prefer seeing Hiroshima and Nagasaki co-host it more than anything. Surprisingly enough I run into people who are surprised that the city or Hiroshima still even exists today…

I don’t know the GDP break up of Korea off the top of my head but Seoul as the financial center and capital could be similar to Japan as its proximity to the North Korean border(DMZ) has always been a concern to many of the Korean specialists that I have come into contact with.

Around Shibuya Station in Tokyo in the afternoon with busy traffic

A platform at JR Shibuya Station

The JR Subway Map at Shibuya Station. Most prefectures surrounding Tokyo have benefited from the proximity to Tokyo and its relatively cheaper real estate.

[Photo Essay] Intro: Beijing Electronic Music Festival 2011

In its third year, INTRO 2011 is China's largest electronic music festival featuring China's very best electro DJs and international artists. Held at 798 just like last year, this two-day festival with 80 DJs proved to live up to its expectations bringing in over 20,000 Chinese and expatriate music lovers raving all weekend long. I didn't get to capture too much of this event but here are some snapshots that I came out with. Nonetheless. if you're in Beijing during this time of the year, it's a party that you cannot miss. I'll be adding more throughout this week.

[Photo Essay] Dalian Beat

Located in Northeast China in at the tip of the peninsula in Liaoning Province, Dalian has served as the major seaport in China as it faces Bohai and Yellow sea. From a historical standpoint Dalian has gone under the occupation of the British, Japanese, and Russians. With the surrender of Japan in 1945, Dalian was passed to the Soviets which they eventually returned the land back to China in the year 1950. Since then, Dalian has seen much changes and has become one of Asia's largest shipping center. Dalian has a unique feel unlike most other cities in China as the hills within the city reminds me of San Francisco and you rarely see anyone on a bike or bicycle. The numerous number of squares and natural parks along with Russian and Japanese architecture makes Dalian a destination definitely worth visiting. This photo essay is an attempt to capture Dalian as it is today.

Breakfast time in Dalian by the main railway station. The area around the train station was crowded with people at this time.

Russian Street is the first avenue ever built-in Dalian. Now under slight construction, as you can see in the image, this road is mainly a tourist attraction with shops along the sides.

You can see that the architecture in this city doesn't resemble China and has a much more European feel to it than anything.

Gorgeous dogs. With some cities in China being limited to have only one dog per house hold and larger dogs being limited nowadays, this person seems to have it all.

Unused fountain at the end of Russian street

Out of the many squares in Dalian, People's Square is the largest and is the most popular. The green grass caught my attention right away with government buildings surrounding this entire area.

Flowers at Peoples Square

A female police officer navigates traffic around Peoples Square. The TV tower is in the background.

Policewomen on horseback is much more of an attraction than anything of practical use.

Street shops line up on the staircases. People are busy doing their weekend shopping while vendors kill time playing cards. I mostly saw antiques sold here.

Ruso-European style architecture. Again, no bikes or bicycles on the streets.

Dalian Olympic Square: the first ever Chinese athlete to compete in the Olympics was from Dalian.

Soccer seems to be really popular in Dalian.

Mother and son take a walk in the park.

Almost everywhere you go, you can't get away from this blue fence in Dalian. Dalian Subway is under construction like many other cities in China.

The streets of Liaoning Normal University

A little boy rides his 'horse' at Xinghai Square: a popular destination for younger people and families to spend their afternoons in the sun.

People enjoy all sorts of activities and hobbies here.

The amusement park was packed with visitors on a Sunday afternoon.

The weather conditions in Dalian is supposed to be one of the best in China and attracts visitors from all over China.

Seagulls flying around the port makes for a perfect photo opportunity.

Playing with bubbles.

At Xinghai Square. One of the most luxurious apartments in Dalian stand in this area.

A man observes families and friends searching for shells and seaweed on the dock.

The seaside was full of people and couples enjoying the afternoon.

Luxurious housing on the seaside on Xinghai Square.

More luxurious house in the seaside that are being constructed.

There were hundreds of newly built residential towers like this one in the city being constructed.

Sunset reflection on the bay by Xinghai Park

A ferris wheel at Xinghai Park.

Let the dancing begin.

Chinese dance groups shows their talent at Lushun under the cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms just make everyone happy here in Lushun.

[Photo] Guam in December

December in Guam is filled with Japanese tourists. Local tourism industry is adapting to Japanese needs by speaking Japanese and reverse localizing their culture and food into flavors that the Japanese find it more pleasing. Picture taken at Tumon Bay.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

[Restaurant Review] Megaburger, What a Real Man Eats

Without further introductions, just take a look at the size of this 5pound megaburger from the Butcher’s Steakhouse in Beijing. Are you ready to take on China’s largest burger?

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

[Photos] Top 5 Photos from Japan

Hey all,thank you for taking your time and visiting my site! As I leave for Beijing, China tomorrow I’m filled with excitement. I want to update this site as much as I can covering wide range of topics that include culture, linguistics, politics and music! Trust me they all come together somehow. But as I prepare for my big day tomorrow, I want to start off this site with some pictures I’ve took so far in Japan in the last 4 weeks that I’ve been back. After graduating from college I finally had the time to just hop on a train and travel within Japan just for the sake of traveling.

Well, here’s my top 5 Favs of June!

“My Grandma’s Old Shop”

During this break I traveled from Tokyo all the way to the southern part of Japan, Miyazaki Prefecture to see my grandma. She told me that she used to run a store, in Japanese called Ara-mono-ten, which sold goods like what you would see at a Crate and Barrel or a William Sonoma. Basic tools that a house wife would need back in the days. She said that this concept was still very new and she sold a lot! I got this throwback photo from my grandma's old photo album from the 1950s.

“Koi Fish at 5 Color Lake in Fukushima Prefecture”

This trip to Fukushima prefecture wasn't really planned but my friend wanted to go here so we decided to hit up the city of Kooriyama. I really don't recommend this city since when night falls, people seem to disappear and the only people on the streets were hookers and hostess bars. It' s quite rare to find a city like this in Japan nowadays. But since we wanted to see the famous 5 color lake in the outskirts of the city we decided to stay. After a couple of hours of taking the train and the local buses we ended up with straight up nature. The 5 color lake reminded me of the World heritage Site in China of Jiuzhaigou. The color of the lake was turquoise, as the sun light creates this magic. The one in China was a lot bigger in size but none of them had Koi Fishes in them! aha! None the less it was beautiful.

“Masamune Date’s Grave

It's not too often in the states to visit historically known individual's graves but in Japan I guess it's a pretty common thing to do. I visited Masamune Date's grave. Masamune Date was a great Japanese Samurai also known as "one-eyed dragon" for he was a tactician who won battles with one eye. This picture was taken around Masamune's grave. Masamune's grave itself was colorful and all but I really like the surrounding environment which gives out a really Japaneezy feel.

“Slam Dunk’s Author, Yasuhiko Inoue’s Exhibit in Sendai

This photo was taken outside the Yasuhiko Inoue exhibition in Sendai. If you guys know who he is you must've read the entire series of "Slam Dunk" and "Real". If you haven't I really recommend you go to Barnes and Noble now and get a copy because this guy is a world wide phenomenon. His art is unbelievable. I like it when art and the city come together in public.

“Don’t Mess with Hiroshima Carp Fans”

As the name of  this picture states, you really don’t want to mess with anything Hiroshima: food, people, chicks, etc.. well especially HIROSHIMA CARP FANS. After getting back to Tokyo I visited a friend over in Chiba prefecture. And what do you know? There’s a baseball game going on. Chiba Lotte Marines vs. Hiroshima Carp. Baseball in Japan is huge. Maybe more popular than soccer and sumo wrestling combined. Well anyways, these cheer leaders or fans or whatever they are, are crazy. In the states if one were to go to a game, one would grab a beer and buy some over price polish hot dogs and sit back and enjoy the game. But when you go to a Hiroshima Carp game, they make you cheer their way.. which usually is a combination of non-stop yelling and standing up and down. They have trumpets and cheers for every single player on the roster. This photo was taken from the outfield and the guys with the red outfits are the intense Carp fans drumming and trumpeting the hell out of the stadium. Fun times.