the grime and the glory
On Sunday I got two unexpected opportunities to take pictures of my hotel that are normally unobtainable. One place is pretty, and the other is decidedly not so. However, both are interesting and unique to a Japanese hotel, I think.
I got to work early on Sunday, which is normal for weekends, and had breakfast in the employee cafeteria. Adjoining the cafeteria is a small smoking room, which is the only place where hotel employees are allowed to light up (outside is also off-limits). The percentage of people who smoke is higher in Japan than in the U.S., I believe, so it makes sense that this little room is almost always occupied by someone, if not packed with a little crowd. Sunday morning was different, though; for the first time there was no one in the smoking room, and I was the only one in the cafeteria.
So I took my chance. I knew that I had only a matter of seconds until someone else came in and wondered why I was photographing the smoking room, so I moved quickly. Actually, I moved a little too quickly and blurred most of the shots I took, but I don’t care that much. I’m just too pleased with myself that I actually managed to take them.
From the perspective of the cafeteria eating area. The wall and ceiling right above the door seem slightly darkened, perhaps, but it isn’t really that noticeable.
Oh, but the floor . . . wow. Kind of scary. Not quite as inviting as a nice “Welcome” mat, is it?
Whoa! That’s a lot of . . . brown. Somehow I don’t think this room used to be brown.
I’m glad to have my exposure to second-hand smoking reduced, but I must say, I feel sorry for the people who take their breaks in here.
Well, there’s another reason why I’m grateful that I don’t smoke.
The other place that I got to photograph, the wedding chapel, is so starkly different that it’s a little surprising these two rooms share the same hotel. On Sunday afternoon sunlight was shining brilliantly into the chapel, and it was just shouting at me to take its picture. Conveniently, we happened to be waiting just outside the chapel for our subjects to arrive for a photo shoot. So I picked up the digital SLR that we use as a backup, acted like I knew what I was doing, and snapped three shots of the shiny marriage hall.
There are two sets of doors leading into the chapel.
The sunlight from inside is so bright that it makes the pretty, well-lit walls outside seem dim.
The circular entranceway makes it easy to take artful-looking pictures.
Unusual but beautiful lighting. During wedding ceremonies the curtains are drawn to reveal scenic greenery and classy buildings outside.
This chapel resembles that of a church, but church services are not held here. Many surprising things taken from the U.S. are popular in Japan, and getting married in a Christian-like environment is one of them. I am told that it’s primarily a Disneyland-like experience for most of the people who get married here, though. Something foreign and Western and fun. I suppose that the cross somehow no longer represents an instrument of death in this place.
I’ll conclude this entry with three random Conrad pictures.
A more picturesque view from Hamarikyū. This was for work, so I used a nice, big, heavy camera to take it. I’ve come to like nice, big, heavy cameras.
That is the actual name of the building in which Conrad Tokyo is located. It is big and complex, containing lots entrances and different companies. Many people looking for Conrad get a little lost along the way.
Inside the employee locker room. As long as objects from the perspective of Health & Safety aren’t being messed with, putting stuff on top of the lockers doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Tuesday, 2007 October 30