Monthly Archives: October 2016

25 Days in Tokyo—4: Tattoos & high-tops

In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs, and this series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries in this series.

It was about 11 p.m. on a Friday night. I was in my short-term apartment rental drinking beer and watching a movie on my laptop. I forget which movie. Suddenly outside my apartment door I heard bumping and banging sounds accompanied by a man’s loud voice speaking Japanese. I grabbed my camera, exited the apartment, and saw this punk rocker guy wobbling around the walkway outside. He was clearly rather drunk, but when he saw me eyeballing him he quieted down and insisted on showing me his leg tattoos. I was fine with that, as I was a bit lit up myself. Then we looked at each other with the unspoken mutual understanding that we were both intoxicated but meant each other no harm.

Then we smiled at each other and said ‘oyasumi nasai’ (‘good night’) almost in unison. Then he went into his apartment, and I went back into mine, and that was pretty much it for the night…

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(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)

Waldo’s beautiful sisters

It was a few days before Halloween in Tokyo, so I think these ladies were going to a costume party. But my Japanese being what it is, I didn’t have all the words required to properly ask them. It didn’t matter, they were happy to be photographed. Because it was Tokyo, they were beautiful, and that wouldn’t change whether they found Waldo or Wally or Wōrī later or not…

Waldo's beautiful sisters, Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015

(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)

25 Days in Tokyo—3: Freedom

In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs, and this series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries in this series.

The first three days I was in Tokyo in 2015, I didn’t wander around the city much. I was getting over jetlag, and a cold I brought with me from California. So I stuck to destinations within about 10 minutes walking distance from the apartment I was renting in Nakano-ku. Fortunately, that restriction encompassed a fantastic little bar called Freedom that I accidentally discovered near a park in September, 2013.

As the exterior shows, it’s a run-down little place. But Mama-san, on the left, and her customer, who was a regular I’d seen before in 2013, treated me with humor, warmth, and respect, despite the fact that, as usual, my Japanese was so bad the three of us really couldn’t talk to each other much…

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(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)

25 Days in Tokyo—2: Alley boys

In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs, and this series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries in this series.

The second night I was in Tokyo I went to a Ministop convenience store near the apartment I was renting in Nakano 5-chome to buy some beer. Nearby I saw these two men in a grubby alley behind an izakaya, probably taking a break from their jobs in that restaurant. Actually, I saw the guy on the left. I didn’t notice the other man until I saw his face floating in my photo when I analyzed it on my computer about half an hour later.

Tokyo is packed tight and always full of surprises…

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(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo 2015)

25 Days in Tokyo—1: Standing guard

In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs, and this series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching scene I saw each day I was there…

Tokyo is always under construction. Something is always being built, rebuilt, renovated, upgraded, repaired, or maintained. So walking by, through, under, or over construction sites is pretty common. And these sites typically employ security guards, usually older men on pensions or limited incomes who need the money or want the work to keep busy. And I didn’t ask into which category this fellow placed himself, but it was clear he took the job very seriously…

Near Nakano Station, Tokyo 2015

(Near Life Nakano Ekimae, Tokyo 2015)

Dance class

His name is Joe and we were both in the same waiting room at Kaiser Permanente in South San Francisco. He caught my eye because he was so nicely-dressed, looking much classier than the anxious people one typically sees in dreary HMO waiting rooms. Joe makes a habit of dressing nicely all the time. He likes to look good because he’s a dance instructor in San Francisco. According to his card, he can teach you the Tango, the Cha-Cha, and the Boogie. I can give you his number if you’re interested…

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(South San Francisco, California 2016. Also published on Scholars & Rogues.)

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