When I arrived in Tokyo two years ago to pursue a career abroad as a creative, one thing struck me from the beginning: the capital of Japan portraits itself as two different cities. During daytime, the metropole is dominated by all sorts of people, busy salarymen in their formal attire rushing to catch their trains in the complex train system, locals traversing the streets, and foreigners admiring the entirety of Tokyo. In the evening, it quietly turns into a completely different world filled with neon lights, glowing billboards and everyone looking for leisure to forget about their otherwise busy lives.
The cinematic quality of the dreamlike atmosphere in Asian cities was what mesmerized me as a movie buff and as a photographer. While shooting around Tokyo and Hong Kong, I couldn’t help but think of all the great film masters like Wong Kar-Wai (“Fallen Angels”, “In the Mood for Love”) and Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”, “Only God Forgives”). What I looked up to the most was how they skillfully use a bold color palette to capture the rushed life in neon haze and the people moving in between it.
After two years of living in Tokyo, I am still fascinated everyday by all the different sources of light that fill up the streets, even the smallest corners of the city.
Hong Kong is particularly interesting because of its mixture of old, traditional high-rise buildings and vibrant neon signs. Light in all kinds of bold colors are reflected on the facades of buildings and seemingly never-ending rows of windows, creating a unique atmosphere.
If you ever get the chance to travel to either of these two, I highly recommend taking a walk at night in between the small alleys and less populated streets, in order to grasp the beauty of the illuminated urban landscape.
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