Accumulated | Tokyo, Japan

Music Inspiration: "Sing about me" Kendrick Lamar

It happened. The moment where the blocks of life pin you up against a wall and your left with nothing but faith. The stage of vlulneabity where you've given until all doors have opened and thinking is clear. Direction is visible and all feels right. 

These are the most important moments in life. The breakthroughs that initiate a divine fire to proceed on the path which is displayed upon you. Though they may change in time and in doing so accumulate various things and people, the path in which you walk is yours and yours only. 

 

Bri Lopez | travel vlog 09 | Accumulated | Tokyo, Japan

This definitely took a minute. If you know me, you know that travel has been on the forefront of my long list of things to accomplish. Going to Japan alone was the first step in that direction.  I was fearless in all aspects and not once did I regret going alone or feel that I was missing something.

Japan changed my life.

It was very surreal once I landed in Tokyo and had to figure out how to get to my Airbnb in Setegaya. It was late at night. I had to catch the limousine bus (1300 yen) to Shinjuku where I then caught a train to Setegaya. Once there I had to walk 15 minutes to my destination. It was raining, I had no umbrella, but I was happy. The apartment was super cute and modern and the room I stayed in was a traditional Japanese room where I had to sleep on the floor. My body wasn't too happy. 

After I arrived safely and settled in I was more than ready to get out there with my camera and do some exploring. My first day was spent in Shinjuku, which I have to say may have been my favorite nook in Tokyo. Everything was there from beautiful gardens and temples to this amazing park I slept in to shops galore. All you need is right there. 

I have never felt so alive in my life, literally. I knew nothing of my surroundings including the language, culture, food whatever. I was a foreigner and I loved it. There's something deeply embedded in me where Im addicted to experiencing new cultures and places. The highest off life for me occurs during  my travels in which I for sure know I know nothing. 

After hours walking and exploring Shinjuku my ass was dead tired by 5PM. That 17 hour time difference was no joke. Lawd was I dead. This occurred definitely my first few days in Tokyo before I headed off to the real prize, Kyoto, which Ill share in another vlog and article. 

Its even hard now while writing this to think back and decide what I want to share. The purpose of me becoming a traveling photographer is not to tell you what to do, but more so encourage you to go out there and create your own experiences. These days we are so caught up in wanting to show everyone what we're doing. Its as if if we don't show anyone, it didn't happen. F**K dat! 

My second day out I spent in Shibuya which is extremely popular and populated if you get my drift. My first stop was Shibuya crossing where theres an estimate of 2 million people that travel through there daily. I said daily! Shibuya was very interesting though and Im guessing because it was the second day and I didn't feel as much anxiety from the traveling only 2 days prior. I figured out the train system and I was confident in what I wanted to shoot and explore. 

Shibuya was loud, but beautifully loud. It was the first time where I started to pay attention to how people operated. Everyone had somewhere to be, shops take up most of the cities available space and I also noticed more of the sex shops lingering around when I started to journey through the back alleys of the main roads. One thing I also noticed was how clean and organized everything was. It baffled me that a city with so many people was so poised and conservative when it came to cleanliness and aesthetic. I just kept thinking to my self "damn this place is clean."

My camera was in hand literally the entire time. I didn't put it down for a second capturing both stills and motion. When it came to me capturing Tokyo thus far, I had no "real" expectation of what I wanted to get outside of get everything. There were moments especially in Kyoto where the camera was not involved, but that was rare. This also taught me to be in the moment. Some may say but your a photographer you always blah blah blah.... true and not true. Outside of capturing a moment via something your passionate about, we must be aware that God is beyond the attainable. And images are that. 

The third day I couldn't move. My body had finally given in and I was forced to spend the day sleeping and regaining my energy. The time difference was destroying me. That day I actually started editing the vlog in which you'll see below. Though still a semi productive day, I was kind of mad at myself for not getting out there and shooting. After I pep talked myself I was good to go and made myself a promise that the next day I would go in, capturing that is. Here are a few more images from my time spent in Shibuya. 

On my last day in Tokyo I visited Harajuku. Like most of us, I only knew of it because of Gwen Stefani. Shopping was definitely at the forefront here, however it wasn't overbearing like in the city. It was more of an urban vibe and people weren't as conservative as in Shinjuku or Shibuya. I also noticed many more foreigners here than anywhere else I visited in Tokyo. I also saw way more people of color here, which was refreshing. 

Harajuku aslo had this incredible temple called the Meiji Shrine. Just stunning. If there is one thing I have to say about my trip thus far was the beauty. And not because its new to me, but the Japanese have pride in how aesthetically pleasing things are and I agree. Harajuku felt a bit more like home, with its color, graffiti at times, and a younger more outgoing crowd of people who displayed a deep interest in the arts. 

After my brief moment in Harajuku I had to make my way to Kyoto, which I was excited about because it would be my first time riding a bullet train. Also Kyoto was the highlight of my trip and where I knew I wanted to spend the remainder of my time. Though Kyoto is a major city with lots to see, it was the countryside of Kyoto that was so prominent and available. 

In my next article I will share my Kyoto experience and explain why traveling there alone was the best decision I ever made. The magic I experienced within the solitude of my own presence and God is unexplainable. This trip has initiated a fire that I am aware I can only fulfill by finding myself alone in places Ive never known before. This is why I'm choosing to be a traveling photographer and traveling to Japan alone was me taking a leap and believing in myself and my dreams. 

This is only the beginning.