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Tokyo Days

I took a trip back to Tokyo for the month of April to fulfil my lifelong wish to see the cherry blossoms. Having already spent a month there last September, I knew my way around and had a good grasp on how to get around. I spent some time learning to read Japanese in Hiragana and Katakana, which proved so useful in being able to understand the language better and do things on my own more than the last time.

Unlike my previous trip, this one was focused less on taking photographs and doing tourist things, and more on shooting Parkour (or as they call it, パルクール – Parukuuru) and connecting with the local community. I spent the ‘We Jump the World Day’ with the locals, shot two new videos, spent some time training and feel like I got a better idea on what life in Tokyo is really like.

Here are some of my images from my second month in Tokyo, these posts focus on the daytime, the next will focus on the nights!

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New Japan

While I was in Japan, I did so much exploring and soaked in as much culture as possible. It was a life changing experience for me to finally visit Japan, and I honestly cannot recommend the country enough. The culture is so different in an amazing way!

People are unfalteringly polite and thoughtful, the food is amazing, the transport system is excellent and if you are a little geeky, you will be able to lose yourself for days.

I think it’s actually one of my favourite cities to photograph, just because the Japanese sense of design, even the lived in nature of it, is quite appealing to me.

Here are my final images from Japan!

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Old Japan

I’m rounding out my final two posts from my Japan trip earlier this year. These will be all the images I shot on my 5D Mk3, as previously all my Japan posts have been taken with my Canon G7X. This post features a collection of stills from what I would call the ‘Old Japan’: Temples, nature, shrines and gardens. I had a wonderful time walking around all these stunning places, I really cannot recommend visiting Japan enough in that respect. Most of these were shot with my new 85mm 1.8 lens, which I got just before the trip. Most of my photography revolves around action, and I realised that because of that I rarely get to shoot images with nice blurry bokeh. Therefore I especially enjoyed shooting with it here!

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Singapore

After my time in Bali, I returned to Singapore for a final few days before flying home to the UK. Singapore was so hot and humid, and also quite hazy during my time there. It was one of the easiest places to be in during my asia trip, because everyone speaks english, signs are in english, even the plug sockets are UK ones! The city itself has a pretty interesting hyper-modern feel, it’s pretty clean and the architecture is all very new feeling.

I was lucky to be able to visit my friends Kim, Verena and Aaron, spend some time connecting with the local community, explore a few cool places around the city and finally spending some time to shoot some Parkour. My images follow…

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Bali

After my time in Japan, I decided to fly to Singapore for a couple of days before my final journey back to the UK. Then I realised how close to Bali I was…

I have a number of friends who had already visited the Indonesian island, all of which raved about its beauty and the fact that living as a tourist there is exceptionally cheap due to the currency difference. I also knew that an old friend friend of mine, Tariq Amawi, who I had not seen since 2007, was now living and running his own parkour gym on the island. So I shot him a message, the stars lined up and the next day I was on a plane. Even more ironic, I planned to stay for a weekend, and I ended up staying nearly three weeks.

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Himeji

After visiting Arashiyama early one rainy morning, my return to my hotel took me via Kyoto central station. With it only being 11AM, I realised that I could easily hop on a bullet train and be in Himeji within the hour. So I did.

I spent most of the afternoon wandering around the castle and its gardens, so unlike my other blogs, this is very much a post about one singular attraction. Throughout my time in Japan, I shot virtually all my tourist photos on my Canon G7X, which has time and time again impressed me with its quality and versatility.

So here are a few images from my day wandering around the ‘white egret’ castle!

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Nara

I hadn’t planned on visiting Nara until actually arriving in Tokyo. My friends suggested I go, so during my Kyoto time, I got up at the crack of dawn (to avoid the other tourists) and hopped on a train to Nara.

Wow. If you go to Japan and you want to see the old Japan, go to Nara. Kyoto is nice, but its a big city with lots of tourists. If you make it to Nara for 6-7am, you will literally be the only one walking around some of the most impressive temples I saw during my stay.

Also, Nara is home to hundreds and hundreds of sacred deer. These guys are actually pretty tame near the temples, and you can feed them special deer cookies you can buy from the shops, but the ones who live in the woods are a little more wild.

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Kyoto

After my first week and a bit in Tokyo, I planned to go and stay in the old capital of Japan, Kyoto. It was a couple hours away on the ‘Shinkansen’, more commonly known to westerners as the Bullet Train. That thing is amazing! 275+ kmph, loads of legroom, smooth ride, reclining seats, it really is the nicest train I’ve ever taken.

Kyoto was a really interesting city for me. It has an abundance of temples, basically every other street has a shrine to something, my hotel was like a tennis balls throw away from one.

Kyoto was always on my list for three spots though. Kinkaku-ji AKA the Golden Pavilion, Arashiyama for the Bamboo grove and Fushimi-Inari for thousands and thousands of beautiful red Tori gates. I was able to see all three and more, so here are my images…

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Tokyo

Its been a lifelong dream of mine to go to Japan, so I decided to book a ticket and spend three weeks in August exploring Tokyo and Kyoto, with a day trip to both Nara and Himeji. I was blessed with the hospitality of two Japanese legends, Masaru and Yuutaro, who showed me around the city and introduced me to a ton of culture. They also helped me read things a lot.

Tokyo is a really interesting city, because it is so dense, and the architecture is usually quite cramped. This made for great images and plenty of roof-topping, which combined with the many lights in most of the districts we frequented, resulted in some tourist photos that I’m quite proud of. Then throw in the contrast of the old temples and shrines, and you get a real mishmash of atmospheres. I describe Tokyo as a city where everything feels big and small at the same time, its bizarre.

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Los Angeles

Finally I made it to Los Angeles. Its funny once you get to a city thats so often filmed, and I’ve only ever really had it with New York, but you feel this weird sense of familiarity to the place. The streets look recognisable, the street names I’ve heard in music and movies before, I guess its because its cheap to shoot near where all the studios are, but it was still a bit eerie for me. I had an awesome time though, with so many things to see and explore, ticking tourist boxes and taking photos. California really does have a lot to see and do, especially some killer sunsets and rocky landscapes. Here are my images from LA (and Disneyland), and my last batch from my June 2015 America trip. Check them out!

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North California

Following on from Colorado, I flew to San Jose. It has been a lifelong goal to get to check out San Francisco, and I was able to finally make that happen. We would be heading from SF down to LA over two days, and stopping off at various places on the way. I was blessed to get to stay with my friends Stacy and Errol, a lovely couple who live in San Jose and looked after me during that portion of my trip. North California was really an inspiring place for me, and I also got to visit a few little surf towns along the way, see some rocky californian coastlines and tick off seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. The Canon G7X is working wonders for me so far, Its my favourite pocket camera ever. Check out the images below!

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Colorado

I’m spending the month of June in America, travelling and exploring with my good friend and skateboarding legend, William Spencer. I have a few work matters to attend to while I’m out here, but my main goal is to play the tourist card and see some cool stuff, have some fun and make connections. These images are from my time in Colorado, mostly around South Fork, where I stayed with William and family in a wooden cabin for a week. For my travels, Canon have hooked me up with one of the new G7X cameras. Every photo you see here has been shot on the G7X, then processed on my iPhone. It should give a good idea of the performance of the camera, and what is possible with just the bare essentials. I’ve got two more updates from the USA to come with more of my trip, so stay tuned!

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