My first ever visit to Japan is over and done and for those who wanted to know I have to tell you this: I didn't like it. No, I didn't like it. I loved it. I loved every minute of every day and I can't wait to go back. Half work, half vacation, a one week trip was way too short to do more than scratch the surface. I understand that I really don't understand anything about the country or the people who live there. But still, everything I saw fascinated me like nothing I have ever experienced before. I visited only two cities, Tokyo and Kyoto and here are little taste portions of what I saw.

Tokyo-Yokohama is a city of 35 million people. Thirty five million. I grew up in a country, pretty much the same size as Japan, but a population of only 5 million. And they have 35 million people in this one city!
This is the subway system of central Tokyo.
It may look a bit confusing at first, but it is actually much easier and about one thousand times faster to use than our dear, old CTA in Chicago. Sooo, when Tokyo and Chicago are competing about the 2016 Olympics, this is where we could improve a little bit, I think.

Tsukiji Fish Market was one of my favourite destinations. The fish are loaded from the fishing vessels to the port, cut and auctioned to various buyers. Outdoor market at nearby streets offered delightful experiences to the eyes and taste buds...

Radishes for $5.
Dried kelp.
Fresh squid.
And dried squid.
One fish, two fish...
... red fish, blue fish.
Sake to wash down your lunch.

The tempura is fresh at this diner.
Everybody shops here.

I was lucky to be in Japan during the best cherry blossom time. The cherry tree has a very dark, almost black bark and when it explodes to life with millions of tiny pale flowers, it is a sight straight from the fairy tales. I participated in hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, by sitting under the trees with friends, enjoying the view, good food and cold drinks.
Photographing sakura or cherry blossoms... serious business.
Me and my 3 million best friends at a hanami party in Yasukuni-jinja. Fish on a stick, a delicious hanami food.Pretty girl with her pretty kimono at a hanami party. One day I took the bullet train to Kyoto. To me it looks more like an alien space ship than a train. A kind of a space ship it is, these 300 Series trains run 188mph and the maglevs can reach up to 361 mph (581km/h). Not many possibilities for enjoying the view.

I had a chance to visit Nijo Castle in Kyoto. The Ninomaru park was the highlight of the tour. What should I do to make my back yard to look like this?

Lanterns of a temple.

The sun is setting soon and this restaurant will light up the lantern and open it's doors for business.
According to estimates there are only 1000-2000 geisha left in Japan. A geisha is highly respected, well trained performing artist. Against the common misconception, a geisha has nothing to do with prostitution. An apprentice geisha is called a maiko and the training can take up to five years. This charming young lady might be a real Kyoto maiko on her way to work. Or she might be a tourist who paid $150 for a dress up game. I don't know. I didn't ask. It really doesn't matter, she is charming any way. Restaurants display their menu outside and these plastic models of different options makes selecting so much easier. Oh, why don't restaurants do it everywhere? Vending machines on every street corner sell everything imaginable from cigarettes to beer and soda. Another great idea I wouldn't mind adapting.

I noticed that without any agenda or shooting schedule I ended up photographing two things that interest me the most. Food and people. I've got another 800 pictures, so chances are you might be seeing a few more in the future. I would like to thank the people who made my visit possible and were kind enough to be my guide and source of inside information in Tokyo. If you happen to hear about anybody looking for a photographer in Tokyo, let me know. I'll be there in about 14 hours...