It was a dark morning in Tokyo and had been raining for most of the night. On my way to a Ministop convenience store to buy some natto maki and an egg salad sandwich for breakfast, I spotted this kid who was dragging a huge cooler through the rainy streets.
We were headed the same way so I ended up following him for several hundred yards. Pulling the cooler while juggling the umbrella and huge shoulder bag made the kid stop a few times to redistribute and manage his burdens. Finally while passing a small park he stopped long enough for me to take his picture. I was also going to offer to help him schlep the cooler to wherever he was going.
But when he saw me as I snapped this photograph he barked a string of Japanese words which included “no way” and “foreigner”, and I knew immediately that there was no point in trying to offer my help.
(Hydrangea Park, Nakano, Tokyo 2015)