This is brief recounting of two men from very different walks of Japanese life, whom I encountered near Ueno Station within 45 minutes of each other. The first, an older and somewhat rugged-looking salaryman, stopped for a smoke on the south end of Ueno Station by a ramp which descends down to the Tokyo Metro…
The second, a monk holding out a bowl for alms on a street corner across Chūō Dori from Ueno Station. Monks with such bowls are a familiar sight in this spot…
I wondered if the monk was a fake, for in Tokyo these men are sometimes convincing imposters who collect money from unsuspecting passersby for no legitimate religious purpose. But about the salaryman I had no doubts. He was who he appeared to be, and I respected the miles I saw in the lines on his face and the battle his hair was losing to age.
Ultimately, however, the contrasts between the two men captured my attention. The differences between their appearances, apparent professions, and between Japan’s new ways and old ways.
(Ueno Station, Tokyo 2015)
It’s always good to have a picture of a place you want to be, just in case the place where you are is not where you want to be…
Ameyayokochō, Ueno, Tokyo 2015
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.
Halloween in Tokyo, 2015 was a gas. I had not been in the city for this holiday since 1987. Back then Halloween wasn’t a big deal in Japan, and you were lucky to be invited to a gaijin friend’s costume party or find an American horror movie from the ‘30s on Japanese TV. Anyway, in 2015 I bopped all over the city, from Nakano to Ueno to Shinjuku and back to Nakano. I was delighted to see many people dressed up for Halloween, and not surprised the Japanese had adopted it and turned it into a marketing revenue stream.
Here’s some of the sights I saw during my Tokyo Halloween…
▲A neighbor living next to the Nakano apartment building I stayed in. He’s not in Halloween costume, but I love his face.
▲Young men on the Yamanote Line platform in Ueno Station.
▲On the Yamanote Line near Ōtsuka. The fellow wearing the bloody white tie spoke excellent English.
▲Costume problems for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man somewhere on the edge of Kabukichō at 11 p.m.
(Various locations, Tokyo, Halloween 2015)
How do gashapon machines (ガシャポン) get filled? How are they maintained? Thanks to these two stout yeomen tending to a herd of gacha machines on a street in Ameyayokochō, now you know…
(Ueno, Tokyo 2015)
It’s Children’s Day in Japan. So here are some children, in Tokyo, Japan. And what I wish for them is that they grow into happy adults living in a better world than the one we’re currently destroying. But the older I get the more likely it seems that they’ll end being some kind of global janitorial guild charged with cleaning up our mess.
Or maybe they’ll have to give up and terraform Mars…
Nakano 5-chome ↑
Nakano 5-chome ↑
Minami-senju Station ↑
Hanazono Shrine, Shinjuku ↑
Akagi Shrine, Kagurazaka ↑
Yamashiroya, Ueno ↑
Takadanobaba Station, Tōzai Line ↑
(Tokyo, Japan, October & November 2015)