Wonderland in the City
I have the day off and it's a beautiful day.
A perfect day for the beach, really, but the beach is far, the beach is an excursion.
Enter Yoyogi Park.
Nestled neatly within Tokyo, neighbor to Harajuku and a 15 minute walk to Shibuya (perhaps a bit longer if you have a camera), it's the perfect place to hangout before grabbing dinner somewhere or doing some shooting by streetlight.
It's an eccentric place in all the best ways. You're unlikely to find Alice here, granted, but in the wonderland that is Yoyogi, you'll probably see some girls in unusual outfits, some pet rabbits, maybe a (meer)cat or two, and there's bound to be a guy wearing a top hat in there somewhere. Keep looking. I've seen plenty of cool and bizarre things there, met a ton of interesting people, taken photos with them, of them, and shared drinks and laughs together.
I don't think many would disagree that Japan is a country which places strong emphasis on "living to work" and this births a number of social issues including an almost tangible societal stiffness. It's a more complex cultural issue than that, and unfortunately, one of its core principles and strongest merits, politeness, is partly at fault here, too. But this is why I believe Yoyogi and other places that are relaxed in nature are so important to Japan and its people. They encourage them to feel a bit more free, have a bit more fun, and share enjoyment of a beautiful day with others all doing the same in their own ways.
My own personal Yoyogi niche is playing frisbee and drinking gradually warming beers in the baking sun with friends while watching people stream in and out, which can resemble a poorly organized parade of sorts on the best of days. More time has admittedly been spent doing the above than actively taking photos there, but good times have both been had and captured.