Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPresolutions Weekend Hashtag…


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Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPresolutions

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags. For a chance to be featured, follow @instagram and look for a post every week announcing the latest project.

The goal of #WHPresolutions was to convey a resolution for the year ahead through creative photos and videos. Each week, we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.

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Capturing the Energy of (Very) Flexible Folks with Photographer…

Capturing the Energy of (Very) Flexible Folks with Photographer Patrik Monka

To discover more stories from the Spanish-speaking community, follow @instagrames.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Patrik Monka’s (@riomonka) photography is an ode to the power of gymnasts and ballerinas. “I really like the strong poses and the energy they have,” says the photographer and video editor, who is originally from Sweden and based in Barcelona. Patrik carefully chooses the landscapes where he shoots — he wants to ensure these dynamic, flexible models are inspired by their surroundings, too. “The important thing for me is to be positive and inspire others to be positive,” says Patrik. “That’s my life goal.”

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Gearing Up for the Golden Globes with Nominee Mandy Moore To…

Gearing Up for the Golden Globes with Nominee Mandy Moore

To learn more about Mandy’s life, follow @mandymooremm on Instagram.

On the night of the Golden Globes, expect actress Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm) to let loose with her fellow This Is Us cast members — the first-time nominee can’t wait to celebrate. “I think people have been hungry for a story about human connection and the intricacies of family dynamics,” says Mandy of the show’s appeal. “The obstacles and struggles the characters in the show are facing are universal and have really struck a chord in the hearts and minds of fans of the show.” When she’s not filming, Mandy hangs with her loved ones, hikes with her dogs in Southern California and shares lots of everyday moments with her fans. “I love having the ability to share my highest highs and the smallest, seemingly most insignificant moments of my life with a whole group of friends and strangers alike,” says Mandy. “And getting responses in real time is always a trip.”

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Five Countries in 16 Days: On Assignment with Danielle…

Five Countries in 16 Days: On Assignment with Danielle Villasana

Check out 52 Places to Go in 2017 to see more of The New York Times’ (stunning) travel recommendations for this year.

Before Danielle Villasana (@davillasana) found her professional path, she roamed the world. At 18, she waitressed in her home state of Texas to support months abroad in Europe and Africa. “I was in West Africa and I started to really grapple with the question of what can I do as a person to try to make this world a more equal, just and fair place,” says Danielle, now 30, whose experience in the region compelled her to pursue photojournalism as a career.

Recently, she was on assignment for The New York Times, highlighting five of their “52 Places to Go in 2017.” “Travel can really open up your mind to how others live around the world,” says Danielle of her work on the project. “It’s so important to have those cultural exchanges with people so that we realize that collectively, as a human race, we have so much more in common with each other than differences. I try to express that most places are actually very safe and full of friendly people.”

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Relishing the Simple Things with Actor Sterling Brown To see…

Relishing the Simple Things with Actor Sterling Brown

To see more of Sterling’s life on and off set, follow @sterlingkb1 on Instagram.

Actor Sterling Brown (@sterlingkb1) was on his way to work when he learned about his Golden Globe nomination for his role in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, where he played prosecutor Christopher Darden. “It was like putting together a puzzle piece,” says Sterling of preparing for the role; the whole cast did a ton of reading and he poured over video footage, namely interviews with Charlie Rose and Oprah. When he’s not filming, Sterling goes to the gym, plays with his kids and is no stranger to binge watching TV shows — it’s simple pleasures that provide Sterling with joy and happiness. “When I hear my baby boy singing, that makes me happy. When I get to kiss my kids at night, it makes me happy. A good movie. A good meal. A clean house. A clean house makes me very happy. ?”

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Celebrating a First with Golden Globe-Nominated Actress Lily…

Celebrating a First with Golden Globe-Nominated Actress Lily Collins

To learn more about Lily’s life, follow @lilyjcollins on Instagram.

Lily Collins (@lilyjcollins) is still shocked (and thrilled) to be nominated for her first Golden Globe Award (@goldenglobes) — and she learned the news with her number one fan: her mom. “She slept over at my apartment and we woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the nominations live,” says the actress nominated for her work in Rules Don’t Apply. “I couldn’t imagine anyone I’d rather have gotten the insanely incredible news with.” Beyond her roles on screen, Lily finds a creative outlet, and lots of connections, here on Instagram. “It’s always been important to me that my account be a place that properly and honestly depicts my hopes, dreams, inspirations: my life. It’s somewhere I can share my insecurities, struggles, joys and memories.”

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This Grandpa’s Drawings Connect His Family Around the Globe To…

This Grandpa’s Drawings Connect His Family Around the Globe

To see more of Chan’s art, follow @drawings_for_my_grandchildren on Instagram.

After two of his grandchildren moved away, Chan Jae Lee (@drawings_for_my_grandchildren) started sketching for the first time in many years. “My son was worried I didn’t have anything to do anymore,” says Chan, a former high school teacher who used to spend time every day with his family in São Paulo. “I used to draw for my son and his sister when they were young. He had the idea I could draw again and said I should show my drawings on Instagram.” At first, Chan was hesitant, but his sketches became a daily practice, connecting him with a former hobby and, despite the distance, his grandchildren. “I’m a 75-year-old retired grandpa who doesn’t know anything about technology. I was able to start Instagram with the help from my family. It brings lots of joy and connects us all every day. I believe if I can do this, anyone, with the help from their family, can do it too.”

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The Swimming Platform

Great Hard Drive Suggestion

My friend Tony showed me an amazing little external drive when he was out here for our New Zealand workshop. It’s just incredible! So small and functional. It’s called the Samsung T3 and it’s smaller than an iPhone. It comes in two flavors – the 1TB and the 2TB. It’s a bit pricey, but so convenient!

Passport Member-Only Content
Click here to learn how to unlock this content plus many other amazing member benefits.

Daily Photo – The Swimming Platform

And here’s another photo from the same location as yesterday, but looking in the opposite direction. It’s a good tip — always turn around and look behind you. We tend just to walk forward and look forward. It’s a good skill to work on (even I need to work on it…). And I often surprise myself to turn around and see something so different and stunning!

The Swimming Platform

Photo Information


  • Date Taken2016-11-23 09:32:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length43.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

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The Start

Welcome 2017!   Yesterday I wrapped up 3 weeks of leave today and headed back to work.  I never used to be able to take time off at year so it’s nice to finally be able to.  I travel and work a lot throughout the year so I really cherish this time to unwind and catch up at home.  

I got to take care of a few big things that were on my to do list for far too long. The first one has been bothering me forever.  You know that huge box of really important papers that everyone has but secretly you really have no idea what is actually in there?  It’s OK, we all have one.  I actually cleaned my out!  There were so many papers that didn’t matter that were just taking up space and making it hard to find something when I need it.  95% of the papers are gone!  I can actually find important papers when I need them now. 

Another thing I have wanted to do for a long was rework my investments to leverage some of the new technology platforms that exist.  I have never had the time to sit down and do it properly and these things take time to set up.  I spent a ton of time researching many different options.  I read so many blog posts, watched so many videos and listened to so many podcasts.  My wife at one point said I had become obsessed with this.  I think by the end of week one she was very tired of hearing about this and had to listen to me talk about it for two more weeks.  

I spent so much time researching this that I think it’s worth mentioning the outcome here in case it is useful for you.  I actually thought of starting a casual financial blog on investing after all my research.   The MBA version of ShootTokyo.  I thought it could be fun to have a blog on investing experiments and sharing different outcomes vs the thesis.   

I never use affiliate links on here as I am not a big fan of them.   Mostly because of the deceptive ways they are used by many blogs.  This time I’m going to make an exception and use them for a couple of reasons.  I am now actively using these platforms for my investments.  These affiliate links give benefits to both you and me through better yields or reduced fees so using an affiliate link is better than a non-affiliate link in this case.   

The ones I settled on that are really good for me; Betterment, Peer Street, Realty Shares, and Upstart.  I also learned about the ability to move your IRA to a Self Directed IRA which you can invest in so much more than just stocks, bonds and mutual funds.  I had no idea this was possible.  I suggest Googling Self Directed IRA if you have an IRA or 401K.  You will thank me.  I also discovered TransferWise as a cost effective way to transfer money via Tokyo Cheapo.    

I won’t go into the details of these platforms here and why I choose them here as this isn’t a financial blog and I’m not a financial advisor.   Please do your own due diligence if these are interesting to you.   Anyways, feel free to check them out for yourself and I’m happy to take specific questions via my Contact Me page.   I would also love to hear about your experiences with these platforms if you are already using them so please share. 

I also caught up on a million other little things that home that had been piling up.  It’s a big relief to be start the year with all of these things off my plate so I can focus on the year ahead.

Start 2017…

Today’s Configuration: Leica MP with a Summilux 35mm and 50mm f/1.4 on Portra 400 film

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

The one thing I love about Japan is how you can just stumble on things that were right near you all along but you never realized.  I took a different road to Haneda Airport on my last trip and less than 2 kilometers from my house I passed Okusawa Shrine.  I never took this road before and woolah a cool new temple near my house to photograph. 

My new favorite Starbucks, which is one of their concept stores called Coffee and Neighborhood, is just a few blocks from here.  I got there every weekend but just never passed this shrine before as I approach Starbucks from a different side.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Starbucks.  I am however completely open to it.  If you work for Starbucks I accept payment in the form of Americano coupons. 

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

Okazawa Shrine

I’m so happy that Paul Smith opened a store in Roppongi a few blocks from my office which is great as their shops in Omotesando are a hassle to get to from my office.  

They plastered Roppongi Station with advertising so it was hard to miss.  I love their clothes but they just aren’t cut for my body type.  I do love their socks and scarfs.  I have a kickass set of dinosaur socks and many Paul Smith striped socks. 

Paul Smith Tokyo

Paul Smith Tokyo

This is their biggest store globally in terms of square footage.  It’s massive.   Like I said I don’t wear their cloths but love their backpacks and leather goods.   I have a wallet, business card case, case for the millions of membership cards you have to carry in Japan for every doctors office or point card you have, and a cool badge holder for the office.   I wish they made camera straps…

Paul Smith Tokyo

Paul Smith Tokyo

Tokyo Train

Tokyo Train

I walked around a different part of Shinjuku and Yotsuya that I haven’t been to in a long time.   I love how different areas in Tokyo can have such different feelings to them.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Back in Toritsu Daigaku (near Jiyugaoka)…

Toristu Daigaku

Toristu Daigaku

Nakane

Nakane

Back to my Interesting People series from my last post.   My next installment is @wiz.   First of all you have to be pretty interesting to get that as your Twitter handle but you are definitely interesting when the only thing in your bio is cryto-anarchist .  

I ended up sitting next to him while grabbing a cheeseburger one Sunday while working.  We struck up a conversation.  We asked the typical ‘what do you do in Tokyo’ and then got into a long discussion on Bitcoin which is seems to be an expert at.    This is something I have always wanted to better understand.  It’s one of those things that was just confusing enough to me to scare me off.   He was kind and patient enough to explain it all to me and really help me to understand it; what it is, how to buy it, how to use it, and how to safety store it. 

He sold me my first few coins at around $780 a coin.  Since then Bitcoin has jumped up to $1,130  a coin and settled down around $850.  It’s very volatile which makes it super fun to watch and learn about. 

We have become friends since although I do think he looks a bit like Dr Evil and I fully expect at the end of the world, or at least the next financial collapse, he will be sitting behind a keyboard with a smirk on his face and likely a lot of Bitcoin. 

Here are a few FAQs on Bitcoin:

Q: What is Bitcoin? 

A: Watch this.

Q: How can I get Bitcoin?

A: Go here.

See easy!   In honor of this experiment I have created a new shop especially for shoppers who want to pay with Bitcoin or Ethereum.  

Nakane

Nakane

Okusawa

Okusawa

The new Neighborhood and Coffee Starbucks.  It’s a very nice atmosphere compared to a typical Starbucks.  They even have beer and wine.

Okusawa Starbucks

Okusawa Starbucks

Okusawa Starbucks

Okusawa Starbucks

Next in my Interesting People series: Nathan.   He is a Banker from Indonesia via Singapore on this way to Kuala Lumpur.   We try to catch up every time he comes to Tokyo or when I am in Singapore.   I was lucky enough to catch up Nathan and his wife for lunch at the same Cheeseburger place I met wiz.   Nathan and I bound over photography and a lot of other things but his antique watch collection is really starting to impress me.   Another area I know nothing about but have interest in.  Hopefully my Bitcoins appreciate enough I can get myself one.

Nathan Liusvia

Nathan Liusvia

A tired me.   2016 was a long year…

(photo credit: Mayumi Powell)

Dave Powell

Dave Powell

Part of my year end errand running sent me to Nakameguro, my old stomping ground, where I lived for my five of my first eight years in Japan.    That day I won the bureaucracy trifecta with trips to the Meguro-ku Ward Office, Japan Social Security Office and Tokyo Metropolitan Office to renew my drivers license.   The three visits when surprisingly smooth and frustration free which is rare in those places.

Nakameguro

Nakameguro

Nakameguro

Nakameguro

Nakameguro

Nakameguro

Nakmeguro

Nakmeguro

Nakmeguro

Nakmeguro

Mitsui Building in Shinjuku.   Level 9 and Level 55 were my first offices in Japan.

Shinjuku Mitsui Building

Shinjuku Mitsui Building

Tokyo Tocho

I hope everyone got some rest at year end.   Looking forward to a great 2017.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Be well.

https://shoottokyo.com/