三社祭 Sanja Matsuri 2012 浅草 東京

Finally got around to this post !
I’m sorry that it took this long to get this done but you know that the WiFi in Aomori was not that fast to upload all these photos.

Sanja Matsuri which means “three shrine festival”, it’s one of three biggest Shinto festivals in Tokyo area. The festival lasts three days and it is held yearly on the third weekend of May.

The festival is for the honor for Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, three men who founded Senjo-ji Temple.

Sanja Matsuri is mostly about people carrying portable shrines called Mikoshi for three days but on the third day they bring out the three biggest Mikoshi which makes the other mikoshi look small.
That what the festival is famous for but I loved the part that came after which was all the parties, Japanese people drunk everywhere and lots of fun and making new friends.

You could even see a lot of Yakuza there who are some of the biggest supporters of this event. I got some amazing photos of them.

Everyone should add this event to their bucket list!!

I’ll be making two different post of this festival because the amount of photos I have from there.
First one which is this post will be about the festival and the second one will be about all the food and drinks they had in there!

In my flickr you can find 170 photos from there so check out more in my flickr site ! Ari Helminen in Flickr

I’ll do my best not to make this post too long.
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I saw japanese school students posing for a photographer so I decided to snap a shot too.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Beautiful Sky Tree.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

One of the best festivals in the world !
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This is probably the cutest thing I saw at that festival.
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) at Sanja Matsuri. Yakuza is part of the Japanese culture and way of life. Without Yakuza many of these beautiful festivals would not be around any more. They were nice enough to pose for couple of photos after they were done with carrying the Mikoshi.

I took a lot of photos of them because I love their tattoos and just because they are Yakuza. See more photos of them in my flickr page.

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You can see that I wasn’t the only one excited
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

People tired after all the carrying.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
Doing this all day will make you tired.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

if you were wondering how many people are in this festival, during the three days 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year. You are wondering what that looks in a photo ?
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I’d love to try carrying this all day. Probably I would die half way tho but would be an experience.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Couple more Yakuza photos. Sorry that there are so much, I’m just so happy I got these photos.
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Was a very beautiful day for the festival.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

All through the festival there were these wagons with singers and players which made the mood of the festival so much better.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

Here are some close up photos of the people who were carrying the shrines.
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
This guy was cool !
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not surprising that legs hurt after everything.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
Let the drinking start!
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I truly hope that you liked these photos! check out my flickr to see much much more.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

If you liked these photos, “like” my facebook page !

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Sky Tree & Party in Shinjuku

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This day was awesome because I had a party with my friends whom I haven’t seen for a while and also I visited the mall of Sky Tree Solamachi with my girl.

Since my girl wasn’t in Tokyo for the grand opening of the sky Tree she wanted to visit there before we left to Aomori and after 40 minutes walking around the shops there I had to take her to get that smoothie/shake shop I found on my last visit there.

I had my favorite which of course is Strawberry shake
Strawberry shakey in Sky Tree
and she had the pineapple one.
My girl enjoying her shake
I preferred mine tho since mine was more sweeter 😛
Pineapple shakey in the Sky TreeStrawberry Shake

Later that day we went to omote sando to shop some clothes and after that we went to Shakeys pizzeria. (you know I love that place)(we don’t care about the pizza that much but the onion rings are the best)

Lunch at omotesandocaesar salad !tasty onion rings

In the evening we had our party at a Izakaya called Wara Wara in Shinjuku.
Always happy to see friends and make new ones at these parties !
Party at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

This is actually kinda funny, I normally love wasabi but this evening my throat was hurting so eating it was a little bit more difficult than I thought.

1st. This is me with the Wasabi before I ate it. ( you can see there is quite a lot of it)
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
2nd.Ok so now it’s in my mouth, all good so far..
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
3rd. Here it got me since I could not swallow it and the hotness was getting higher and higher. Luckily I had a nice cold beer in my hand to help.
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

Normally, like now I could eat that piece of wasabi and not blink an eye.. just saying 😀

Here are some food photos of what we were eating.
Party at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
Don’t you just love these things at the izakayas? 10 minutes after the tray arrives to the table, it’s empty.
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

If any of you are ever in Tokyo while I’m there and not busy, send me a message and you might get invited to one of my great parties 😀

for the last note, have you noticed that in Japan they have changed the sprite can for “older” looking design. I normally don’t drink sprite but the cool looking can made me get one.

New sprite cans in Japan

Curry Ramen in Asakusa

My friend Matti who is Finnish-American had his last day in Japan so we wanted to eat something special and I happened to see a limited time offer of Curry Ramen.

It was actually very good 😀 When I get back to Tokyo I need to have it once more.
Curry Ramen in AsakusaCurry Ramen in Asakusa
Doesn’t that just look delicious !

The waiter took a photo of us and you can see that cool advertising poster in the back as well.
That’s myself, Matti and Juan ( I think it is written like that 😀 )
He didn’t want to be in the photo and I wasn’t sure how he felt that I would post it here so I blurred him a bit 😀
Ramen with friends !
Half Finnish Half American !

After my friend left to Narita international. I went back to the hostel to clean my bed area a bit since my fiance was arriving to Tokyo that same day.

In the evening I took my girl to my favorite bar at Asakusa called err.. Shot music bar asakusa (or something like that). When I get back to Asakusa I will make a video for you to find it since it is kinda hidden in a small side street second floor.
best bar in Asakusabest bar in Asakusabest bar in Asakusa

Great music and all drinks 600 yen except some special imported beer.

Who was watching AKB48 2012 election yesterday ? 😀

Happy life in Tokyo

These couple of days were great, Cat cafes and delicious food !

Coming home after a long drinking night in Tokyo is always interesting. First train comes around about 5am-ish and in that train you can see a lot of weird things.

I arrived to Asakusa at 5.40am and the streets were so quiet and peaceful, very good time to take photos.
Early morning in Asakusa
I went straight to sleep but I did saw people getting ready for the Sanja matsuri.
Early morning in Asakusa

In Ginza there is a famous waffle shop that I never tried before and now I understand why there is a long queue everyday. They were deeeelicious and Cheap !
belgian wuffels in Ginzabelgian wuffels in Ginza

I’m absolutely mental about Ice cream ( you should know that already), in a hot day in Tokyo I normally eat 3-5 ice creams and most of them are macha (green tea) ice cream.
Eating macha ice cream

One of my weird traditions is to go to Shakey’s pizzeria and after I’m full I go to the cat cafe !
Shakeys pizza is a good place to go if you want ok tasting pizza, very tasty onion rings and 300yen drinks.
ps. that place is very cheap.
Shakeys pizza in ShinjukuShakeys pizza in ShinjukuShakeys pizza in Shinjuku
Here are some very cute photos of the cats at my favorite cat cafe at shinjuku called Calico.
Cat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near KabukichoCat cafe Calico near Kabukicho

In the last post post I wrote about the best Japanese fried chicken place (唐揚げ)
that is located in Asakusa. The chicken is very cheap so one evening I ate a lot of it 😀
浅草の唐揚げ浅草の唐揚げ

M.O.S Burger is best fast food restaurant in the world. Just look how tasty it looks ! When you visit Japan you have to go to eat there even once !
M.O.S. Burger in AkihabaraM.O.S. Burger in Akihabara

I went to the famous One Piece event in Roppongi Hills which was great but the entrance fee was 2000 yen and you could not take photos inside there and it was in the same floor as the Tokyo city view but you could not enter to that side without paying 1500 yen more so I gave up and went only to see the One Piece event. It was worth the money but I would have been happier if I could have taken photos inside.
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills
Long line of people getting the tickets to the event that was held in the 52nd floor if I’m not mistaken.
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills
I did get a lot of One piece merchandise from there tho 😀
One Piece exhibition in Roppongi Hills

If you are going to the Solamachi mall in Tokyo Sky Tree you have to check out the kyoto green tea ice cream shop ! Look what I got and you understand why.
Macha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずきMacha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずきMacha Azuki ice cream in sky tree, まちゃ あずき
Also when you visit the tokyo Sky Tree you absolutely have to buy a Tokyo Banana Tree from there, they sell these almost everywhere in there so would not be too difficult to find.
Tokyo Banana Tree (famous souvenir from the Sky Tree)

As a nice end to this post, here is a homeless man with an expensive Finnish design bag called Marimekko. 😀
Homeless man with marimekko

I hope you liked this post ! check out my facebook page “photographer ari helminen” where I will add details about my trips, life and photography.

Mysterious days in Tokyo

Goood Moorning from north Japan!

I’m now in Aomori prefecture in a small town called Hirosaki visiting my fiance. You can imagine why I haven’t been able to update my blog for a while. I have been taking a lot of photos daily but uploading them to my sites is a bit difficult because of the upload speed of the wifi here (Thank you Docomo…) :D.

I can upload photos I take with my pocket camera Sony but very slowly. I did get some photos up that I wanted to share with y’all !

My friends friend showed me this amazing place to get Karaage (唐揚げ) which is Japanese fried chicken. It’s in Asakusa very close to the Sakura Hostel Asakusa (I’ll give you better details later).
I have eaten Karaage in many different restaurants and cities in Japan but to be honest this place in Asakusa has the best Fried chicken I have ever had and the reason is because this place has like 30-ish different flavors, including habanero,honey mustard, sweet chili and much much more!
Tasty Japanese fried chicken, 唐揚げ

While I stayed in Asakusa I used the Ginza line daily and often I could see the train packed with Japanese students like this. Most of them know how to be nicely there but sometimes they are just making way too much noise.
Ginza line full of students

Wanted a hamburger so I went to the trust worthy place in Harajuku called Wolfgang puck express. Lunch time is the best there because it is so damn cheap.
Wolfgang puck burgers , Harajuku

This is something you have to try 😛 The official Sky Tree ice cream! You can find it in pretty much all the convenience stores, I know that at least Family mart has them.
Official Sky Tree ice cream !

Best drink in Starbucks macha frappuccino
Starbucks Akiba, Macha frappuchino
Green tea donuts !!! that would go well with macha frappuccino 😀
Green tea Donut !

Be careful at the metro!!
Be careful in the train

Going to drink with some friends at Asakusa.
Going drinking with friends

I have a crazy amount of photos from Sanja matsuri but I can’t upload them because of the wifi speed so you will be able to see them on 26th of june and a lot more!

Here is me in the festival clothes at the Asakusa Sanja matsuri !
Sanja Matsuri Ari Helminen

I’ll try to keep adding more photos taken with my sony later today again ! 🙂

Grand opening of the Sky Tree

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I decided since there are couple of million photos I took at the Sanja matsuri festival that I will share with you what happened today first the grand opening of the newest addition to the Tokyo sky line called Tokyo Sky Tree.

I have had some wifi problems the past few days as well but I try to keep things moving !

So this morning I went to the Sky tree opening and it was not a suprise that it was full of people. I was in line for about 30 minutes until I got in side (it may not sound much but it has been raining a lot all day).

I love that place, It is officially my favorite mall in Tokyo! All the great stores and everything! I love it ! I took couple of hundred photos with my pocket cam for you. I didn’t want to bring my big camera because it is raining.

You could barely see the sky tree from ground level so I was imaging the people who had the ticket to go up today, they must not have been able to see anything else expect clouds up there.

Standing at the line 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
People were already queuing in front of their favorite stores when I arrived.
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Soon as I saw these I went a bit nuts and bought couple. (Luffy from an anime called one piece, phone strap that I collect)
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Cute mascot that I tried to hug ! 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
I got free cookies !! I know you are jealous 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
This dude was funny, I spoke with him a bit!
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Way too much people rushing in to the Disney store
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Sky tree Toothbrush
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
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Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Upstairs errr like 12th floor or 11th there is a big exhibition area from the Chiba Institute of technology that you have to visit ! I went there without known what to expect and they were showing this cool robot that is in fukushima power plant fixing things.
Grand opening of the Sky tree , TokyoGrand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
You can drive it yourself as well ! It’s pretty easy since the controller is very similar to PlayStation 2 controller.

I know I know ! you want to see what I ate right ?? ok here they are 😀
Macha frappuchino with macha ice cream and macha flakes. ( Green tea with ice cream and other stuff) DEEEELIcious ! you know I love Macha !
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo

After that I ate this amazing Strawberry smoothie with a lot of strawberries ( I love strawberries).
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo

My dream drink is Macha strawberry frappuchino with strawberries mixed with macha ice cream on top.
Grand opening of the Sky tree , TokyoGrand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo

Here are some other mixed photos for y’all !
this looked great in Starbucks
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Sky tree food ! 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
People waiting to get in to the restaurants.
Grand opening of the Sky tree , TokyoGrand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
This place reminds me of Kyoto for some reason.
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Beer pyramid !!! Can’t wait for the next earthquake to make that go down 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
I wish I could have went up there !
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
That girl in the middle of the photo is freaking me out a bit since she is almost like staring in to your soul 😀
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
More mascots for y’all !
Grand opening of the Sky tree , TokyoGrand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
Some of the lucky folk who got to go upstairs to the observatory
Grand opening of the Sky tree , Tokyo
You can see much more photos in my flickr ! check em out !

I’ll start going through the Sanja matsu photos soon I hope! ( there will be a lot of Yakuza photos) 😀

Hope you enjoyed reading about my day as much I liked it 😀
Thank you for visiting my site and check out my Facebook page “Photographer Ari helminen

Odaiba the best place in Tokyo ???

yesterday (16th may) I went with my french friend to Odaiba to see the amazing Gundam (for people who don’t know it is a big robot from a famous anime) at new mall that just opened.

Let’s start what happened at the morning, I woke up and had a serious hangover going and I was just sitting at the hostel lobby and watching to the emptiness (I’m sure some of you know that feeling), then my English friend made Pakistani curry which was delicious !
Pakistani curry in JapanPakistani curry in Japan

It helped my hangover a lot and with it I got energy to go to Odaiba.

Took some shots at Asakusa while we were walking to the station.
Himiko is always a beautiful boat to see in the Sumida river and always when you see it you should take a photo.
Beautiful Himiko
Could it be?!?! Could it be possible !!! the cutest dog in Asakusa (I gave her the title !)
cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !cutest dog in asakusa !
You know me.. Always when I get a chance to take a photo of a Japanese school girl I take it.
Japanese school girls

I need to start taking more photos in the stations and metro! I know it is kinda a bad manner but I’m pretty fast taking a photo without people noticing.
mysterious Ginza linemysterious Ginza line

Took the Yurikamome train to Odaiba which is always fun
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba

When we were walking on a bridge and you could see bit by bit the amazing gundam, I got more and more excited. I been a big fan of it for a while and I have wanted to see that real size gundam for years and years ! I was so so so so so so so happy hah ( I know I sound like the weird guy ever..)

can you say that this thing is not cool ?
Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Beauty of OdaibaBadass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !Badass Gundam in Odaiba !

Took some other great photos in odaiba that I’m sure you’ll like. I also got a one photo that I’m especially proud of !
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba
This is that photo that I’m very happy about.
Beauty of Odaiba

We decided that we did not want to pay other 315 yen to use the yurikamome train so we just walked through the rainbow bridge and I got some nice shots there as well.
Beauty of Odaiba
Beauty of OdaibaBeauty of Odaiba

I hope you enjoyed the photos ! Now that tomorrow Asakusa has a huge festival coming up I will take crazy amount of photos there !