Tokyo is a huge city, 13 millions live in the capital and you reach 35 millions people if you add the suburbs. So while walking around, you will see millions of looks : traditional, classy, street, vintage, normcore, gothic and the list is endless. Some of the looks can only be rocked in Tokyo, otherwise you will be stared at like you are an alien.
Some of these pictures of the people of tokyo are slightly out of focus or not so well exposed, but street photography is really hard (I need a 24 or 28mm lense), I had to deal with tough lighting for most of my stay in Tokyo, and I wanted to show as many people as possible.
(Scans by Carmencita)
The Tsukiji fish market is a place you must definitely visit while in Tokyo. It’s the biggest wholesale market in the world and it’s really impressive to see. If you are ready to wake up really really early you have the possibility to see the tuna auctions which starts at 5am (we were not ready to wake up that early). From 9 to 11 you can visit the market itself. You must be very careful because the alleys are not very wide and you have to watch out for the people who are working there so that you don’t bother them. At 10.30am some workers are already packing their gear and you can see some people cleaning huge knives they use to cut the fishes.
The place is extremely clean (you are in Japan remember) and I was very surprised not to smell the fish or seafood odor I was expecting. And even at 9am in the morning I really wanted to taste the food that you can find there. Just after the market we had the freshest sushis possible as breakfast. It was great !
I am very pleased with the pics I shot with my Leica. I had Portra 400 rolls and because of the light I had to shoot at apertures from 1.4 to 2.8. I managed to get some good shots even if focusing is not always easy at these apertures especially when the subjects are always moving.
Scans by Carmencita.
After the first post about the streets of Tokyo shot with my Leica, here are some pics shot with my iPhone. When I see the pictures i really regret not having my 5D and my 24-105 lens. Shooting with only primes is challenging and frustrating because sometimes I had pictures in mind that could not do because of the gear I had with me. But I know I will go back to Japan one day and I won’t do the same mistake twice.
In the streets of Tokyo, you walk a lot, but really a lot. You better get some comfortable shoes because we walked around 15km a day during two weeks. While walking in Tokyo, you will come across many different neighborhoods, which have completely different atmospheres. Some places are modern, loud, flashy and always crowded, some areas are very quiet with a more traditional architecture.
The contrast you can find between two neighborhoods is always surprising and it’s one the things that I like so much about Tokyo.
All pics are shot with the Leica M6 (scans by Carmencita). I guess I will make a similar post but with iPhone pics only.
When you travel to Japan, you must prepared to discover things in the japanese culture that will feel or look really strange to your european eye. I was prepared for that, but was definitely not expecting to see something like the dog-owner meeting that we saw in Yoyogi Park. This park is next to the Harajuku district and on Sundays the people of Tokyo are going there for a picnic with the family, they jog or just chill under the sakuras…
We wanted to see the famous rockers who are there on Sunday but we couldn’t find them. We kept on searching to finally find this dog-owners meeting between the Yoyogi Stadium and the park and it was just crazy/amazing.
Hundreds of dogs and their owners were there, you could find little photo studios with complete light setup and everything to shoot your dog, people were selling dog food and all kind of fashion accessories for your pet. And we also discovered how dogs in Japan are treated by their owners.
They carry them around in strollers, they dress them. I saw this dog with a Supreme box tee and told to my girlfriend “look this one even has a Supreme t-shirt” and the owner was next to me and looked at me very proudly saying yeah Supreme (Supleme with the real japanese accent) with a huge smile on his face.
Dogs in Japan seem to be treated like kids and visiting such a meeting is the perfect place to hear the famous japanese word “kawaii” all the time !
During a trip like this, the unexpected discoveries are the best way to discover a culture.
Scans by Carmencita Film Lab.
I finally received the scans from my trip to Japan so I can start to post some of the pics I shot there (I shot 342 pictures with the M6 and 699 with the iPhone). I won’t post the pictures in chronological order but rather by themes or place we visited.
This first post is about Nara, which used to be the first fixed capital of Japan during the 8th century. The park and the temples are a UNESCO world heritage site. Compared to the madness in Tokyo and Kyoto, Nara is a very quiet town and many temples are located in the huge park close to the station so you can visit everything only by walking.
In this park there is around 1200 deers (considered sacred) walking around completely free. You can buy special crackers to feed them and they seem to love it.
There is many temples to see in this park. The Kasuga-taisha (the red/orange one) is worth the visit as all along the path that leads there you can find thousands of stone lantern which creates a very nice atmosphere. These lanterns are lit only during two festivals (beginning of February and mid August).
The temps that you must absolutely see is Todai-ji. It’s the biggest wood construction in the world (in the past it was 1/3 of the current size bigger but was destroyed during civil wars and the rebuilt). Inside you can also find the biggest bronze statue in the world, the Buddha is 15m tall, and trust me it’s really impressive. Next to this Buddha there is 2 huge wooden stautes of Koumoku-ten who are protectors of Buddha’s realm.
Scans by Carmencita Film Lab
It has been almost two months without a post on the blog for various reasons. Since a few weeks I’m back in France after two amazing weeks in Japan and I am still waiting for my dozen rolls to be processed by Carmencita Lab. I should get them by end of next week and can’t wait to see if I managed to get some decent shots.
These are drinks bought from vending machines that you can find around every corner in Tokyo. You have cold and warm (the tiny cans) drinks. In average these drinks costs around 120¥ . I wanted to try as many japanese drinks as possible. Every time I was thirsty I tried a different one and shot them because from the beginning I had the idea of this picture.
More pics from this great trip will come in the following days with a mix of pictures shot with the Leica and with the iPhone as I did not bring my 5D with me.