Brick Lane, Sunday – Cultural Contrasts

london, Thoughts on Life

I had a plan to take some street portraits last weekend.

Plan vs. reality…    Friday late night – no camera, saw lot’s of cool people. Saturday – camera, got soaked in the rain. Sunday – camera, saw no cool people…

But I do have a couple of interesting images to share from Sunday.

The first is a hackney carriage mobile coffee shop. Isn’t it a perfectly cute package of a traditional London icon and modern city culture?

Sometimes I regret the dilution of traditional culture. I remember visiting London when I was really young. The vibe that Camden used to have. The greasy spoon cafe’s. The old vans and cars. The time when London really had it’s own style. Nowadays, huge swathes of London are ‘generic international city’ zones with international chains like Pret etc.

On my last trip to Tokyo I was so annoyed to see a Fernandez & Wells store open in Omotesando. A coffee / light food etc. chain from London. I desperately don’t want to see my favourite parts of my favourite cities diluted to the same look, feel, behaviour, culture.

Development and change is good, but we desperately need to support individual style, culture, small businesses etc. and stop proliferation of generic, bland chains everywhere. There is a place for these in demand businesses, but surely they don’t need to take over every corner of our cities.

Rant over…  :)

As usual around East London I also saw some of the ever changing street art. I saw a load of people taking selfie’s in front of some art below one of the rail bridges near Shoreditch High Street.

I was thinking it’s another interesting contrast. Street art must be at least in part about making an individual statement, customising an otherwise regular wall into something unique.

Are selfie’s not the opposite?

Self portraits that by the nature of the phone camera / angle tend to look similar and are usually taken from a shallow perspective of showing off.

Are selfie’s so unartistic that maybe they become a valid candidate for contemporary art!

OCD photography tip – it’s so important for me to get the bridge line starting from the corner :)

 

 

Changdeokgung Seoul Korea (Royal Palace)

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Ok – so last post I was so excited to visit china and do some tai chi…  well… it didn’t quite work out. So, I’m in Seoul, Korea now.

Shenzhen was more developed and interesting than expected, but after a week I realised it wasn’t the right kind of chill atmosphere to enjoy tai chi. And with early morning and late evening lessons there just wasn’t enough non-shopping activity to keep me entertained.

Instead I hopped on a plane and came to Seoul to see a friend. I’ve been travelling about 8 weeks now and I felt like I could really do with seeing a familiar face. I’ve also been dreaming about Korean Chicken and Beer for about a year.

This is my second trip to Seoul. On my first trip I went to one of the Royal Palaces; Gyeongbokgung – it was so beautiful. So on this trip one of my first stops was Changdeokgung; another royal palace, that happens to be a UNESCO heritage site.

I wanted to share some pictures of Changdeokgung. I spent a few hours walking around the palace and secret garden.

From about 200 photos I picked 22 out that I am really delighted with. Keep your eye out for the Racoon; perhaps one of the last of a long line of royal Racoons.

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This place is really super photogenic. It’s a bit packed with people as you can see in the photo with the large palace building. However there is a large part of the complex that most tourists seem to skip. If you ever go then start by heading into the former administrative area. Many of the lovely pics were taken there; so peaceful.

And isn’t Autumn just so fantastic!

I have to admit I’ve was in love with photography in 2014 and 2015, but this last 6-8 months I’ve been losing interest a little. But this trip around Changdeokgung has sparked the desire in me to continue.

I plan to make some other posts about other aspects of Seoul soon. It’s a top city.

Sendagaya Jeep

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The highlight of the day was a classic jeep spotted in Sendagaya (千駄ヶ谷), Tokyo (東京)

I saw this on the way from the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym to Omotesando. The metropolitan gym has a training room, pool and finess studio available for public use for 600 yen per session. It’s great for visitors who don’t want the hassle of a membership.

Here’s the Jeep

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