As is the case throughout most of Asia, the intersection of the traditional and the modern is apparent almost everywhere in Tokyo.
Buddhist monk begging for alms near Tokyo subway line. Women in traditional dress stroll in Tokyo neighborhood after dark.
Yet Tokyo is not unlike a large American city, with little league baseball... and men reading the sports page while riding the subway to work.
Young women in Tokyo also tend to be more modern than traditional. The request below for women to do their grooming at home is posted next to schedules in the train station.
The influence of anime characters on young people also seems to reflect a turn away from tradition, in a uniquely Japanese way.
In the Shinjuku district, quite a few young women or 'touts', dressed like little bopeep, a French maid, in schoolgirl plaids or some 'anime' type character, can be seen handing out flyers on the streets for various clubs, businesses or products. Oddly enough, many of the anime characters and advertising images in Japan seem to feature very caucasian looking characters - note the Barbiesque blonde in the ad below for 'Kiss Me', a brand of eyeliner.
However, working in a silly uniform, passing out flyers, can be boring, and competion is stiff.
Inside a store selling all things 'anime'. Anime characters show up in Pachinko parlors where customers play a Japanese version of pinball.
Not surprisingly, the preoccupation with western notions of beauty are evident even among the touts on the street.
This fellow is one of many people I saw in both Tokyo and Thailand, passing time while in the traditional 'Asian Squat' - a common behavior that is practiced throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, in place of sitting or standing. And women in the traditional kimono are still common on the Tokyo streets.
Gate into the gardens at the Imperial Palace.
A couple comes to get married on the palace grounds.
Ceremony and tradition are still alive at the palace.
Back at a little park in the business district, modernism continues it's 'assault' on traditional Japanese culture.
Part 2 of Tokyo 2009 will be coming soon. Stay tuned.