Cities In Motion

 [Image description: photograph of the outside of a Go club. The place is empty, but for a single customer and one worker. Harsh neon strip lighting runs the length of the ceiling.]

[Image description: photograph of the outside of a Go club. The place is empty, but for a single customer and one worker. Harsh neon strip lighting runs the length of the ceiling.]

There's no-one to play "Go" with.

 [Image description: photograph of a person sitting at a single table in a restaurant, facing the camera and smoking a cigarette. A server stands to their left, slightly blurred in motion. These two figures are framed by carved wooden partitions, through which other patrons are visible.]

[Image description: photograph of a person sitting at a single table in a restaurant, facing the camera and smoking a cigarette. A server stands to their left, slightly blurred in motion. These two figures are framed by carved wooden partitions, through which other patrons are visible.]

Once a symbol of new Japan, modeled on New York and Paris, Shinseakai, or "new world", is now described as a seedy neighborhood.

 [Image description: photograph of a person walking by the ocean in the evening. The person is silhouetted against the water, along with several trees and small stone structures.]

[Image description: photograph of a person walking by the ocean in the evening. The person is silhouetted against the water, along with several trees and small stone structures.]

Miyajima. The Internet says this shrine in Miyajima is “one of the top scenic spots in Japan”. The shore opposite the shrine is buzzing with people, cameras ready and waiting to catch the perfect sunset, the perfect reflection of the shrine in the seawater. Who enjoys the view?

 [Image description: photograph of a city bridge. High-rise buildings are visible in the background, and a person with long, dark hair is riding a bicycle in the foreground, crossing the bridge from left to right.]

[Image description: photograph of a city bridge. High-rise buildings are visible in the background, and a person with long, dark hair is riding a bicycle in the foreground, crossing the bridge from left to right.]

Hiroshima. Everybody keeps joking about the radiation levels, not realizing they are completely normal. Turning away from the A-dome preserved to remind us of the horrors of the atomic bomb, a woman is riding her bicycle on the bridge that crosses the river.

 [Image description: photograph of the front of a small dumpling restaurant. There are numerous price signs hanging from the awning. A person wearing glasses and a straw hat is in profile in the foreground.]

[Image description: photograph of the front of a small dumpling restaurant. There are numerous price signs hanging from the awning. A person wearing glasses and a straw hat is in profile in the foreground.]

Getting lost in Kyoto.

 [Image description: photograph of a bright sunset through a forest of slender trees. In the dark foreground, a small stone structure is just visible.]

[Image description: photograph of a bright sunset through a forest of slender trees. In the dark foreground, a small stone structure is just visible.]

Kyoto. All the rules we are breaking.

 [Image description: photograph of four people dressed in business suits, standing on a train platform. There is a white sign bearing black writing behind them.]

[Image description: photograph of four people dressed in business suits, standing on a train platform. There is a white sign bearing black writing behind them.]

Salarymen waiting for the train on our way to Kyoto.

 [Image description: photograph of the inside of a train carriage. Only four people are seated inside, all on the left. The doors open onto the platform on both sides of the train. One or two people are walking past the train to the right.]

[Image description: photograph of the inside of a train carriage. Only four people are seated inside, all on the left. The doors open onto the platform on both sides of the train. One or two people are walking past the train to the right.]

Are we in the women's carriage?

 [Image description: photograph of three people sitting in chairs on a train platform. On the wall behind them is a mural of two giraffes.]

[Image description: photograph of three people sitting in chairs on a train platform. On the wall behind them is a mural of two giraffes.]

Surprisingly, the trains in Osaka are incredibly confusing.


Matea Grgurinovic is a Beijing-based Croatian journalist writing mostly about social issues.