Looking back to a previous spring, fragments in memory from arriving to Taipei. And waking to a calm Saturday morning in the area around Songshan Station.
That was a pleasant building, especially to a traveller looking for space to breath. However the architecture in the surrounding blocks varies.
All of it typical Taipei though.
The interior cannot be told from the facade; some of these flats will be renovated new-asian-all-pearly style and some will be basic and maybe with bug issues.
What doesn’t change throughout is the energy in all times of day and places, even empty streets. Or temple backyards getting ready for the day.
And impeccable alleys that become a maze of people, shouts, money and food a few hours later (aka Raohe night market).
The autumn arrival as it’s happening – downtown Athens.
Two years ago these days … this traveller was in the middle of her only massive cultural shock ever.
Landed on Tokyo to spend two months and overwhelmed by the amount and totality of design, beauty and purpose everywhere around; within a week I lost weight, got a bunch of white hair and wasn’t sleeping well; it took me days to simply start catching the subway and go sightseeing.
Don’t get this wrong: the feeling was ecstasy. The whole time. Continuously. I was under constant bombardment by high standards.
A few photos of the mind-blowing flat and view. It was warm and fuzzy, it had a bathroom unit and a kitchen unit, and the elevated metropolitan express highway was passing only a few meters from the third-floor balcony. (At nights I was feeling that some mythical golden river kept streaming by.)
The Carrot Tower in Setagaya is where Pokemon come from. The 22nd floor houses Game Freak headquarters.
While the 26th floor boasts a public sunset viewing lounge.
In the old Omonoia subway station the future is now and it’s pale blue.
Flashbacks of basking in the weekend streets of Gung-dong. One of the many dense nightlife areas. All them being countless cafes, bbq’s, chicken places, karaoke and video rooms, arcades and cosmetics shops thrown together in the midst of old residential areas.
Outworldly new residential areas. But never too far away from the above-mentioned.
My visions of spring under way in the campus of KAIST polytechnic.
Read on for the many facets of this synthetic diamond…
The top tip is: just go. It won’t be the futuristic Babylon that you expected but more the projection of the 80s which dreamt of it, and it will be unparalleled (also might not stay this way forever).
Walking down some well-documented neighborhoods -Shibuya, Akihabara, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and the like- is enough to dose you on vertical neon, food stalls, high fashion, sararimen, shrines, crazy trinkets, nylon umbrellas. Assuming you’ll evening stroll through one or two of those, here are a few extra, focused, things to look up or under for.
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Alleys jammed with tiny izakayas, real sararimen nests.
Celebrated ones: Piss alley in Shinjuku, Nonbei in Shibuya, around and under the railway bridge at Shimbashi.
The artificial islands and the bay
Where you realize that everything solid in your field of vision is manmade.
Radio Center electronics mall
Radio Center is a sensation. A small passage close to Akihabara metro station (35.698316, 139.771861). And an old, half-used, three-storied narrow building next to it. Grab it while you still can.
Read on for artificial skies, vanishing rivers and more bittersweet fluff.
Strolling in Eretria, Evia island.
Detaching in Amarinthos, outskirts of Eretria.
Sometimes I have postcard memories.