Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Streets of Marunouchi 丸の内 #1

Marunouchi is a commercial district of Tōkyō located in Chiyoda between Tōkyō Station and the Imperial Palace. The name, meaning "inside the circle", derives from its location within the palace's outer moat. I am fascinated by the city streets in Tōkyō, especially at night, and reading their landscape literally and figuratively. The streets in Japan are bathed in language: signs, sounds, warnings, advertisements and symbols. For a visitor it is not just the language, which is also layered and difficult, but also symbols and methods of communicating other than standard language that prove interesting. For instance I sometimes see signs without any language that are intent on conveying some warning or meaning but to me they are a mystery that even a better understanding of Japanese language would not demystify.

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