Jun 272010
 



 
For this series of street portraits I went to the Shimo-Kitazawa neighborhood in Setagaya-ku this Sunday. It is renowned as a more casual and more alternative entertainment area than Shibuya, so the people were more relaxed and dressed less business-like than the Shibuya crowd. While I was there, the Indie Fanclub festival of local independent rock bands was happening in about a dozen venues, which means my subjects were even more friendlier than usual. Instead of ignoring the camera quite a few people reacted positively, so not all these shots are really candid…

Japanese girl with long, wavy brown hair, fake eyelashes and white shirt with pink vest.
Japanese girl with long, wavy brown hair, fake eyelashes and white shirt with pink vest.
Japanese woman dressed in a classic black-and-red outfit.
Japanese woman dressed in a classic black-and-red outfit.
Casual Japanese couple having a good time walking in Shimokita.
Casual Japanese couple having a good time walking in Shimokita.
Japanese girl making v-sign because she saw me taking pictures.
Japanese girl making v-sign because she saw me taking pictures.
This young lady was in a group of five girls who were happy to be photographed.
This young lady was in a group of five girls who were happy to be photographed.
Three Japanese girls smiling towards the camera.
Three Japanese girls smiling towards the camera.
Japanese guy casually picks his nose while talking with his girlfriend.
Japanese guy casually picks his nose while talking with his girlfriend.
Another style-conscious Japanese couple in gray t-shirts.
Another style-conscious Japanese couple in gray t-shirts.
Grumpy looking rock music fan with Rolling Stones t-shirt.
Grumpy looking rock music fan with Rolling Stones t-shirt.
Mouthbreathing Japanese guy with blonde hair.
Mouthbreathing Japanese guy with blonde hair.
Young woman adjusting her earphones while looking to the left.
Young woman adjusting her earphones while looking to the left.
Girl standing next to her boyfriend who seems to be more interested in his cell phone.
Girl standing next to her boyfriend who seems to be more interested in his cell phone.
 Posted by at 19:53
Jun 252010
 



 
For very small-scale but highly interesting goth events in Tokyo there is the underground network Artism.jp. While the tightly-knit community of performers and patrons is pretty much Japanese-only, foreigners are welcome and so I went to the Gothic Bar Heaven 25 event at Club Crawl in Shibuya to see what’s up with the current Tokyo goth scene. It was a very lightly attended affair, but the performers and bands gave their best nevertheless.

First came Mario † Child (Mario Cross Child), a Japanese duo making a powerful mixture of metal, classic and synthesizer music. As you can see, not only the music, but also their costumes were influenced by Moi dix Mois and similar Visual Kei bands.

Singer Sylph of Mario † Child reaching up.
Singer Sylph of Mario † Child reaching up.
Both Sylph and Mogu were wearing white ruffles and lace outfits.
Both Sylph and Mogu were wearing white ruffles and lace outfits.
Sylph of Mario † Child kneeling on the stage while singing.
Sylph of Mario † Child kneeling on the stage while singing.
Sylph of Mario † Child performing at Club Crawl.
Sylph of Mario † Child performing at Club Crawl.
Guitar player Mogu of Mario † Child.
Guitar player Mogu of Mario † Child.
Sylph and Mogu's performance was supported by a masked dancer.
Sylph and Mogu's performance was supported by a masked dancer.

 

The second band of the evening was ManyCuRe, also a duo, but they were supported by two guest musicians. They played very loud, very energetic punk rock in a rough and entertaining performance.

ManyCuRe with frontman Gou Tragedy at Club Crawl.
ManyCuRe with frontman Gou Tragedy at Club Crawl.
Supporting female bass player of ManyCuRe.
Supporting female bass player of ManyCuRe.
Singer Gou Tragedy of ManyCuRe performing.
Singer Gou Tragedy of ManyCuRe performing.
Male guitarist Tozie Comedy of ManyCuRe wearing a polka dot dress.
Male guitarist Tozie Comedy of ManyCuRe wearing a polka dot dress.
ManyCuRe on stage at Club Crawl in Shibuya.
ManyCuRe on stage at Club Crawl in Shibuya.
ManyCuRe's support bass player moshing while playing.
ManyCuRe's support bass player moshing while playing.

 

The headliner of the event was the Gothic Rock band Ray Trak with singer Lynne Hobday. Their music reminded me a lot of Faith and the Muse and typical 4AD bands, which is quite a compliment. Their beautiful music was underlined by a strong performance by the band and the supporting “Gothic Fusion Belly Dance” by Neo and Min.

A small part of Ray Trak's line-up on stage performing their Gothic Rock.
A small part of Ray Trak's line-up on stage performing their Gothic Rock.
Lynne Hobday and her fellow Ray Trak bandmates.
Lynne Hobday and her fellow Ray Trak bandmates.
Ray Trak's female saxophone player.
Ray Trak's female saxophone player.
The belly dancer Neo dancing and batting her fan.
The belly dancer Neo dancing and batting her fan.
A close-up of Neo.
A close-up of Neo.
Singer Lynne Hobday of Ray Trak performing.
Singer Lynne Hobday of Ray Trak performing.
Belly dancer Neo in front of bass player Hayashibe of Ray Trak.
Belly dancer Neo in front of bass player Hayashibe of Ray Trak.
English-born singer/songwriter Lynne Hobday of Ray Trak singing.
English-born singer/songwriter Lynne Hobday of Ray Trak singing.
Ray Trak's saxophone player with black and white facepaint.
Ray Trak's saxophone player with black and white facepaint.
Belly dancer and singer of Ray Trak.
Belly dancer and singer of Ray Trak.
At the end of the "Gothic Fusion Belly Dance".
At the end of the "Gothic Fusion Belly Dance".
Bassist Hayashibe of Ray Trak wearing a maid costume and a white rabbit mask.
Bassist Hayashibe of Ray Trak wearing a maid costume and a white rabbit mask.

 

Between the music acts several DJs played electro, EBM and goth music to entertain the patrons. As so often, these were dressed up in elaborate goth and cyberpunk fashion and were fun to photograph while they were dancing on the dancefloor or relaxing in the anteroom.

Friendly party girl Asuka on the dancefloor.
Friendly party girl Asuka on the dancefloor.
A male patron of Gothic Bar Heaven making a face.
A male patron of Gothic Bar Heaven making a face.
The late hour took its toll on this anarchy girl.
The late hour took its toll on this anarchy girl.
DJ.U(a.k.a Slave No.1) and Asuka posing in Club Crawl.
DJ.U(a.k.a Slave No.1) and Asuka posing in Club Crawl.
Two tough Japanese goth guys discovering their love for pink bows and hearts.
Two tough Japanese goth guys discovering their love for pink bows and hearts.
Another cross-dressing guy with a blonde wig and white gloves.
Another cross-dressing guy with a blonde wig and white gloves.
The sleepy goth girl and DJ Manik (HimemaniK) behind the turntables.
The sleepy goth girl and DJ Manik (HimemaniK) behind the turntables.
DJ Mikan with blue wig and plastic hair extensions.
DJ Mikan with blue wig and plastic hair extensions.
Another set of DJs at the Gothic Bar Heaven 25 event.
Another set of DJs at the Gothic Bar Heaven 25 event.
 Posted by at 23:58
Jun 212010
 



 
T-shirts are a wonderful source for Engrish in Japan. Western rōmaji (latin letters) are cool and modern, so on casual clothing English is often depicted (virtually no real Japanese wears clothes with Japanese letters). However, sometimes things go wrong, resulting in mangled words or strange misspellings.

This ¥6850 t-shirt has some Engrish nonsense on it:

New! Halume’s Milky Corpolate with a mode
Sweet label Damianne Halume
Design by Pelouse co.ltd.
We want to be a corpolate like a chocolate for our custmer.

 Posted by at 18:36
Jun 202010
 



 
Another one of those remarkable decorations of Japanese shops and restaurants. This ceramic pig was seen in a rāmen-ya on the Shinjuku-dōri in Shinjuku. It’s kinda cute, but at the same time kinda creepy, because for some people the idea of having a pig as a cook is a little bit disturbing…

 Posted by at 20:57
Jun 152010
 



 
I went out to Shibuya (the terminus of “my” Inokashira line) to shoot the lights and people in the evening. I wanted to try to capture the contrast of the glittering lights of the modern shopping and entertainment district Shibuya with the worn-out buildings next to it, so I took only my fast 50mm lens. But while I was exploring the area, it started to rain and I turned back towards the station. Halfway there I rested on a bench provided by an electronics store, reviewing the few photos I’d taken. Noticing the still ongoing rush of passers-by unfazed by the light rain, I started taking pictures from right where I sat. I deliberately unfocused the lens, taking advantage of the nice bokeh (rendering of out-of-focus areas) of my glass.

 Posted by at 22:28
Jun 132010
 



 
I love documenting people on the street. I am a street photographer at heart and I am especially fond of shooting candid portraits of everyday people, showing their style, clothing, and expressions when walking in public. The fashion hub Shibuya with its millions of commuters, shoppers and visitors is my favorite hunting ground for this photographic endeavor where I try to capture my subjects unaware.

A middle-aged man walking across Shibuya crossing.
A middle-aged man walking across Shibuya crossing.
Two young Japanese guys with white shirts and loosely worn ties.
Two young Japanese guys with white shirts and loosely worn ties.
A Japanese girl with long wavy hair giving a fearful look back at me.
A Japanese girl with long wavy hair giving a fearful look back at me.
A man wearing a t-shirt with the image of a Tokugawa (徳川) shogun.
A man wearing a t-shirt with the image of a Tokugawa (徳川) shogun.
A half-hidden woman glancing to the side.
A half-hidden woman glancing to the side.
Stylish Shibuya boy with dyed hair and lightblue jeans shirt.
Stylish Shibuya boy with dyed hair and lightblue jeans shirt.
Japanese guy with yellow sunglasses and matching t-shirt.
Japanese guy with yellow sunglasses and matching t-shirt.
A passer-by wearing a striped t-shirt throws a wary glance.
A passer-by wearing a striped t-shirt throws a wary glance.
A trendy boy with the signature ganguro tan and colorful fashion.
A trendy boy with the signature ganguro tan and colorful fashion.
A young kid apparently being critical of the large advertising screens in Shibuya.
A young kid apparently being critical of the large advertising screens in Shibuya.
Japanese girl dressed in white eating an ice-cream cone.
Japanese girl dressed in white eating an ice-cream cone.
A model and photographer's assistant takes a break and poses for me in Harajuku.
A model and photographer's assistant takes a break and poses for me in Harajuku.
 Posted by at 22:37
Jun 122010
 

This Saturday I was invited to the newly-opened Tabloid studio/club/gallery in Hinode, Minato-ku, where the Art Hotel Nest Tokyo is residing. The fashion designer Yoshikazu Yamagata (山縣良和) and his writtenafterwards label presented his latest fashions designs in a show titled “Crime and Punishment”. I got a good position to photograph the runway and present you here a couple of photos from this event. By the way, the models were wearing white make-up and crude wigs — they really looked like this.

A design of Yoshikazu Yamagata's "Crime and Punishment" fashion show.
A design of Yoshikazu Yamagata's "Crime and Punishment" fashion show.
A rare exception from writtenafterwards' usually white or light-colored fashion designs.
A rare exception from writtenafterwards' usually white or light-colored fashion designs.
Most of Yoshikazu Yamagata's fashion designs were made from wool.
Most of Yoshikazu Yamagata's fashion designs were made from wool.
A plaid coat from Yoshikazu Yamagata's writtenafterwards label.
A plaid coat from Yoshikazu Yamagata's writtenafterwards label.
A design of Yoshikazu Yamagata's "Crime and Punishment" fashion show.
A design of Yoshikazu Yamagata's "Crime and Punishment" fashion show.
A model wearing a short-sleeve shirt from Yoshikazu Yamagata and a braided wig.
A model wearing a short-sleeve shirt from Yoshikazu Yamagata and a braided wig.
An off-white writtenafterwards pullover from the fashion show at Tabloid in Tokyo.
An off-white writtenafterwards pullover from the fashion show at Tabloid in Tokyo.
"Crime and Punishment" was the theme of writtenafterwards' fashion designs.
"Crime and Punishment" was the theme of writtenafterwards' fashion designs.
The fashion show lasted for only about 15 minutes, then all of Yoshikazu Yamagata's models came out for a final walk on the catwalk.
The fashion show lasted for only about 15 minutes, then all of Yoshikazu Yamagata's models came out for a final walk on the catwalk.

After the presentation I walked around and shot a little bit of the other installations from Yamagata’s students of the “coconogacco” class.

A student designer whose name I didn't get, unfortunately.
A student designer whose name I didn't get, unfortunately.
An installation with "The Big Bra" (and oversized panties) from Yoshikazu Yamagata.
An installation with "The Big Bra" (and oversized panties) from Yoshikazu Yamagata.
Yoshikazu Yamagata's actual fashion from the show was for sale at a special after-show backstage event.
Yoshikazu Yamagata's actual fashion from the show was for sale at a special after-show backstage event.
Young fashion designer Yūma Yamamoku (山杢勇馬) in the midst of his installation.
Young fashion designer Yūma Yamamoku (山杢勇馬) in the midst of his installation.
A close-up of the colorful and playful designs of Yūma Yamamoku (山杢勇馬).
A close-up of the colorful and playful designs of Yūma Yamamoku (山杢勇馬).
The new art space Tabloid, which is owned by the conservative newspaper Sankei Shimbun. Note the Hinode station of the Yurikamome line.
The new art space Tabloid, which is owned by the conservative newspaper Sankei Shimbun. Note the Hinode station of the Yurikamome line.
 Posted by at 22:09
Jun 062010
 



 
These pea-sized “berries” are actually the latest trend in solanaceous horticulture: micro tomatoes. Called “maikuro tomato” (マイクロトマト) in Japan, this fruit is the dwarf brother of the regular tomato plant and is said to be even more delicious than the regular stuff. I haven’t seen these fruits before, but in the Tōkyū department store food court there was a huge collection of tomatoes in all sizes, colors and flavors (some produce, like this one, pretty expensive).

 Posted by at 19:20
Jun 062010
 



 
Like any modern democracy, Japan has its fair share of political fringe parties. On my return from Shibuya I came across the loudspeaking truck of the so-called “Happiness Realization Party” (幸福実現党). While the name sounds characteristically Japanese cute, they are actually the political front of a cult-like spiritual movement. Their goals are a mixture of very agreeable policies for Japan’s future, jingoist fear mongering about North Korea and the “Happy Science” religious doctrines and donations acquiring.

 Posted by at 19:10