February 10, 2009
I now have ample time with nothing to do on Tuesday afternoons in the Shibuya area. Naturally I carry my trusty Nikon D80 (edit: Nikon D300 from now on!) with me on these occasions. As I walked around a corner and onto the main street leading toward the Hachiko area of Shibuya Station, from afar I noticed someone gesturing peculiarly to someone else. I got a bit closer and saw that it was a rather creepy looking punter, but with an innocent air about him, trying to convince a woman of Buddha knows what.
February 2, 2009
This was a return to a place upon first leaving I thought to myself, “this was a fell place. I do not wish to return, ever.” Yet one year later I returned to the abandoned mining town in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. The lure this time was a previously overlooked doctor’s clinic that held rumors of such oddities as a “preserved brain” in a jar and decaying surgical instruments. All the rumors, it turned out, were true.
January 28, 2009
I cannot say how many times I have visited Shinjuku Gyoen in 6 years of living in Shinjuku, t least 20. I’ve visited it in all seasons. Obviously the busiest time is hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season and the autumn foliage season. However, my personal favorite time may be in January, when even on a Saturday the park is largely empty and I can wonder about its trees and fields of dead grass unhindered by distractions. I have fond memories of other January visits. One was the last time I saw a friend and co-worker. And now, this final January visit, will also be my last visit ever to the park. It’s my favorite park in all of Tokyo by far and one of the best things about living in Shinjuku (though I wish Shinjuku Ward residents could get in for free).
January 19, 2009
Aya and I happened to be in the Nihonbashi area for a festival, so only by chance did we come across Candle Night at Kandagawa. This was 700 candles floating in cut off 2-liter plastic bottles all put on display by university students to promote environmental awareness (the irony of using so much plastic is not lost on me). We passed by while it was still a bit light out and they were setting up. We were given a flyer and told to be sure and come back after dark.
January 15, 2009
A flickr friend gave me the heads up about the good photography opportunities at Meiji Jingu Shrine on Coming of Age Day, or Seijin in Japanese. It was also a chance for me to finally meet that flickr friend, Vladimir Zakharov, whose photography I have been a fan of for some time. I of course assumed there would be a good number of other photographers there, as Meiji Jingu is perhaps the most popular shrine for such events in Tokyo. I had heard that the girls did not mind posing for the cameras as well. I had no idea how much they did not mind and how much the photographers were willing to give them orders!
January 11, 2009
I met this man at the Toshi no Ichi festival in Nihonbashi. His hat obviously made him stand out. He seemed to be the Man of the area, down with everyone, chatting to the festival organizers, and providing the biggest smile of any on-looker. He could speak a bit of English so we chatted for awhile as well and he gladly accepted my portrait request.
January 9, 2009
I wanted to try something new for my next FACES OF TOKYO SERIES (Takadanobaba, Kabukicho) instead of another set of photos of people just walking on the streets. I had the idea to take photos of people shopping inside stores while I was out on the street. I decided on Shimo-kitazawa as it has almost countless little shops on small side streets, plus the people who frequent this area are usually more hippie/bohemian/hipster. This proved to be a very challenging thing to do from a technical photography perspective and did not turn out so successfully, but I thought I would still share them to show that one should not always play it safe with one’s photography.
January 4, 2009
Once again the Foote Family opened its doors wide to entertain 30+ people for a post-Christmas, Christmas party. This was also a white elephant gift exchange party, which proved to be a huge success. There were about four highly coveted presents that exchanged hands many, many times. The most popular of these was a Cocoa Latte machine. It was swapped at least a dozen times. I ended up with a nice, wooden hand massager turtle. Aya got a glove hand massager, another win for me!