Reisefotografie

Japan Tokyo Shiba Restaurant at night by Sebastian Motsch

01 Tokyo | Shiba

Flag JapanDay 01 | Tokyo

01.05.2019   |   Narita Airport   |   Tokyo Station   |   Shiba

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Japan Miyako-jima Shimajiri Mangroves | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

04 Miyako-jima | Shimajiri Mangrove Forest

Flag JapanDay 04 | Miyako-jima

08.05.2017   |   Shimajiri Mangrove Forest

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2017 Japan Miyako-jima Cape Nishihennazaki | Travel Photgraphy by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

04 Miyako-jima | Cape Nishihennazaki and Ikema Ohashi

Flag JapanDay 04 | Miyako-jima

08.05.2017   |   Cape Nishihennazaki   |   Ikema Ohashi

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2017 Japan Miyakojima Sunayama Beach | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

04 Miyako-jima | Sunayama Beach

Flag JapanDay 04 | Miyako-jima

08.05.2017   |   Sunyama Beach

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2017 Japan Tokyo Yarakucho Station Sunset | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

02 Tokyo | Sumida River, Minato Park and Yarakucho

Flag JapanDay 02 | Tokyo

06.05.2017   |   Sumida River   |   Minato Park   |   Yarakucho

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Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

02 Tokyo | Tsukiji Fish Market

Flag JapanDay 02 | Tokyo

06.05.2017   |   Tsukiji   |   Tsukiji Fish Market

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Sleepless in Tokyo

Flag JapanSleepless in Tokyo

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published at Speedhunters.com


When opening the mailbox, there is a postcard between the bills and the advertisements that I already fished out curiously on my way to the apartment door. Where was it posted and who sent it? The dim light of the cold winter day makes me want to see a holiday greeting with palms on a beach, a lighthouse amid towering waves or a sunlit attraction. I turn the postcard to the front page and see… black. The entire surface is printed in a deep black, which in some places is weathered by mail sorting machines. Printed in one of the trendy neon colors it says ‘Berlin bei Nacht’ next to a crescent moon and a couple of stars.

Two decades later, during a nocturnal foray through the Japanese metropolis, I am thinking of this trend of the ’90s, whose remains can still be found sometimes in the back corner of a postcard shop. Who does not remember sending or receiving such postcards? Today we post status updates and Instagram stories on Facebook instead of sending postcards to family and friends.

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Unable to close even one eye, I lay awake in the tiny Airbnb room and quarrel with the jet lag. The inner clock has not yet adapted to the local time zone, although I have slept well during the long flight and the body is refreshed. But wait, jet lag is a good thing, isn’t it? It makes it possible to explore foreign cities when the locals sleep. Who knows what waits to be discovered at this time of the night?

Before finishing this thought, I’m already dressed and stand outside the tiny house in the narrow street. Left or right? It doesn’t matter. Those who have no destination will not get lost. When the lights switch to green, I start walking.

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Tokyo is a huge metropolis, but contrary to many other major cities around the world, most of the inhabitants sleep at night. Moving quietly through the residential streets, I admire how close the homes are spaced. The distance often corresponds to the width of a German license plate. It is a prosperous area, judged by the amount of European cars parked in open garages and integrated carports.

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Again and again, there are little details, like the anime figures glued to the dashboard of a Volvo 850 wagon, which bring a smile to my face. While approaching the end of the alley, I can hear a sound from the crossroad. Rapidly rotating tires mingle with the silence as if an invisible DJ gently fades in a new tune. A Toyota Hiace ambulance flashes past, without sirens out of consideration for sleeping residents and the flickering red light is reflected off a parked R33 Nissan Skyline.

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As I move on, I notice the transition from residential to a more commercial area with shops between the houses, with neon signs illuminating the parked cars. A shoe salesman has set up his goods on the covered corner of a house, which will disappear again in the trunk of his W140 before dawn. Since I’m the only passerby far and wide, I wonder who the nice elderly gentleman sells his shoes to. Unfortunately, we do not find a common language to clarify this question. When I tell him that I’m German, he smiles and directs the conversation, which consists of just a few words but many gestures, to his vehicle and we quickly agree that it is of outstanding quality and perseverance. He is really happy that I want to take a picture but doesn’t want to be part of it himself.

The kind gentleman directs me to turn left while imitating the sound of a V8 engine and simulating steering movements. A hearty laugh and a polite bow to say farewell encourages one man to wait for customers and the other to continue walking. I follow the direction indicated and, crossing a fenced bridge, notice that the expensive public parking lots are mostly empty at night.

The homes give way to luxurious shops. In front of a building with spectacular architecture, I take a picture of a Nissan Cedric taxi waiting at the traffic light and muse over the beautiful picture. Otherwise, the streets in the area are empty. I have time to let my thoughts wander.

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In Japan, other people’s possessions are respected rather than stolen. Therefore even expensive aftermarket wheels are stored in open garages and high-value supercars are parked outside.

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Most private underground garages are not equipped with access barriers, providing me the opportunity to take a look at the parking deck of a large apartment complex. Many new hybrid models, rows of minivans and kei cars.

But what is that? In the far corner hides what will become one of my favorite pictures of this journey. Peacefully, a lowered full‐size Dodge van and a lifted Suzuki Jimny share a niche. The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Only in Japan.

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A few blocks down the road the sounds advertised by the shoe salesman are audible, immediately evoking memories of another continent. I smile from ear to ear, because the scene is so surreal. In between the typical Tokyo taxis, dozens of shiny American cars cruise with burbling exhausts.

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A weird but wonderful contrast that accompanies me all the way to the world-famous Shibuya intersection. Upon arrival, I indulge in the unique atmosphere and enjoy watching the nocturnal hustle and bustle with a glass of matcha and rest the tired legs.

The subway suspends service at night and because my budget doesn’t allow for a cab ride, I walk back to the tiny house and fall asleep fully dressed.


Sebastian Motsch

sebastianmotsch.com   |   Instagram drivebysnapshots

[This story was published on Speedhunters.com in September 2019.]

2017 Japan Tokyo Tower at Night | travel photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

01 Tokyo | Tokyo Tower

Flag JapanDay 01 | Tokyo

05.05.2017   |   Minato   |   Tokyo Tower

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2017 Japan Tokyo World Trade Center Happy Window | travel photography by Sebastian Motsch (2017)

01 Tokyo | World Trade Center

Flag JapanDay 01 | Tokyo

05.05.2017   |   Shiba   |   World Trade Center   |   Tokyo Tower Sunset

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Wahiba Sands Sunrise Oman | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Wahiba Sands Sunrise

Sleeping in the desert is special. It is so quiet at night that you can hear airplanes that are flying at altitudes up to 18.000 ft. The alarm clock woke us up about an hour before sunrise in our bedouin tent and we put on all the sweaters and jackets we had.

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Wahiba Sands Desert Wonders Camp Oman | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Wahiba Sands, Desert Wonders Camp

The drive from Ras al Jinz on New Years Day was relaxing and rather uneventful. Many people argue that driving through the desert is dull and boring – and that they would rather fly. To me, it’s the other way around. Every time I fly over a desert, I keep thinking I’d rather be down there driving…

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Oman | Sur, Ras al Hadd, Ras al Jinz

Oman FlagOnce again, we had an early breakfast at the hotel and headed out to explore the natural harbor of Sur with it’s famous Dhow wharfs and the beautiful lighthouse. Unfortunately, the Sur Dhow Museum was closed for renovations and we had to peek over the walls of a wharf nearby. It was quite interesting to see the ships being build with ancient tools and materials.

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Oman Road Trip | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Al Bustan Palace, Shangri-La, Bimmah Sinkhole, Wadi Shab

Oman FlagAfter getting up early we left Al Wadi Al Kabir and drove over the mountain to see the famous Al Bustan Palace. The roundabout is amazing, with a pool in the middle sporting a full-size Dhow. The water fountains are arranged cleverly in a way to resemble the bow wave of the ship. The driveway to the Al Bustan Palace Hotel is lined with trees and makes you forget that you are in a barren landscape. We didn’t manage to get into the (supposedly awesome) seaside garden of the hotel, but made up for that at the Shangri-La Resort, a couple of kilometers away.

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Oman Road Trip | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Muscat, Mutrah and Qurum Beach

Oman FlagOn our first day in the Sultanate of Oman, we had a look at some of the various sights in and around Muscat. Driving from our Hotel in Al Wadi Al Kabir to the old part of the city via Sidab Street yielded some stunning views of the rough mountains and the glistening sea.

Leaving our car in one of the free parking areas, we walked towards the palace of Sultan Quaboos bin Said al Said – on polished stone sidewalks, mind you. They create nice reflections, but must be a nightmare when wet. In a country with an average of 100 mm of rain per year… who cares about slippery conditions? Dust is a concern, however, and therefore the sidewalks are kept clean all the time.

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Oman Road Trip | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Starting 2015 with a road trip in a new country

Oman Flag

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain / The innocents abroad

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Roquetas de Mar Spain Impressions 2013

Roquetas de Mar | 2013

Roquetas de Mar | Impressions

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Bamberg 2013

Bamberg | Landesgartenschau 2013

Flag GermanyLandesgartenschau Bamberg 2013

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Switzerland Sustenpass | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Road Trip Switzerland | Sustenpass, Furkapass, Grimselpass

Road Trip | Switzerland 2013

Meiringen   >>   Sustenpass   >>   Furkapass   >>   Grimselpass   >>   Innertkirchen


Sustenpass

Furkapass

Grimselpass

 


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Paramotor Roadtrip UK 2013

Road Trip UK | Along the coast with a paramotor | Day 5

Flag United KingdomAshington >> Bamburgh >> Edinburgh >> Anstruther >> Perth >> Dunblane >> Edinburgh

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Paramotor Roadtrip UK 2013

Road Trip UK | Along the coast with a paramotor | Day 4

Flag United KingdomDumfries >> Newton Stewart >> New Galloway >> Dumfries >> Ashington

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Tacla Taid Anglesea Transport Museum 2013

Tacla Taid Anglesey Transport Museum | 2013

After a scenic flight along the Welsh coast, Charly landed his paramotor in Newborough  – very close to the Tacla Taid Anglesey Transport and Agricultural Museum. Obviously I couldn’t resist the chance to have a quick look around the museum.

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Paramotor Roadtrip UK 2013

Road Trip UK | Along the coast with a paramotor | Day 3

Flag United KingdomPrestatyn >> Newborough >> Penrith >> Whitehaven >> Dumfries

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Paramotor Roadtrip UK 2013

Road Trip UK | Along the coast with a paramotor | Day 2

Flag United KingdomSouthampton >> Cardiff >> Tenby >> Aberystwyth >> Harlech >> Prestatyn

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Paramotor Roadtrip UK 2013

Road Trip UK | Along the coast with a paramotor | Day 1

Flag United KingdomLondon Stansted >> Folkestone >> Hastings >> Eastbourne >> Southampton

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens South Africa | photography by Sebastian Motsch (2012)

Road Trip South Africa | Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

17.04.2012   |   Day 07   |   Capetown


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