Jul 022010
 



 
Towards the end of the day the Tokyo mass transit becomes rather crowed as the last trains are the last chance to get back home quickly and cheaply. So like on virtually all lines the cars of “my” Keiō Inokashira Line leaving Shibuya turn into cattle cars with people packed in as tightly as possible. I took these photos of the next-to-last train while I was actually waiting for next, the last, train as this one was already too crowded for me when I arrived at the platform… but still people kept entering into the completely filled passenger cars.

This train car was pretty much already full, so people queued up on the platform for the next train.
This train car was pretty much already full, so people queued up on the platform for the next train.
Still people entered the car by simply walking backwards into it.
Still people entered the car by simply walking backwards into it.
Surprisingly, with the passengers crammed like sardines the doors closed without external assistance.
Surprisingly, with the passengers crammed like sardines the doors closed without external assistance.
 Posted by at 23:59
Jun 302010
 



 
The Japanese football team got into the round of sixteen of the 2010 FIFA World cup. Unfortunately, their match against Paraguay was at 11 p.m. local Tokyo time on a Tuesday night (where the last trains leave downtown well before 1 a.m.). Nevertheless I went to Shibuya crossing after having heard that there would be public viewing on the large advertising screens. When I arrived there were already a few thousand football fans gathered on all sides of the scramble crossing but traffic was still ongoing. However, each time the pedestrian crossing lights turned green, the people would roar and run towards each other in the middle of the intersection, dance and jump around while shouting “Nippon, Nippon!” and leave the intersection again after the lights turned red.

Unfortunately, it became clear that there would be no public viewing at the Shibuya crossing as the advertising screens continued to show their regular commercials. After half an hour after I arrived at Shibuya, a large number of Japanese police turned up and began to control the crowd. First they tried to talk the people out of their dangerous behavior, but in the end they changed the flow of traffic by changing the sequence of the traffic signals and herding the crowds with yellow police tape.

Since it was drizzling all the time and with the fun activities curtailed, I left the crossing and went to watch the game on a tv screen in an izakaya in Dōgenzaka. After a long and rather uneventful game Japan lost 3-5 in the penalty shootouts and I had to walk home in the rain.

Spirits were running high and the Shibuya crossing was a large party zone every time the people ran on the intersection.
Spirits were running high and the Shibuya crossing was a large party zone every time the people ran on the intersection.
These Japanese guys were dressed up as some kind of ninjas with their DIY masks.
These Japanese guys were dressed up as some kind of ninjas with their DIY masks.
The Japanese football fans were really excited about the game against Paraguay.
The Japanese football fans were really excited about the game against Paraguay.
Despite the intervention of the police these two Japanese girls were still in a festive mood.
Despite the intervention of the police these two Japanese girls were still in a festive mood.
Japanese soccer fans celebrating with the white-and-red hinomaru flag.
Japanese soccer fans celebrating with the white-and-red hinomaru flag.
People gathered in front of a small restaurant watching the game in the light rain.
People gathered in front of a small restaurant watching the game in the light rain.
In this goalless match the Japanese fans were hoping for a game-winning goal all the time.
In this goalless match the Japanese fans were hoping for a game-winning goal all the time.
As the evening wore on, each free kick was accompanied by intense invocations.
As the evening wore on, each free kick was accompanied by intense invocations.
The penalty shootouts provided lots of tensions for the Japanese football fans.
The penalty shootouts provided lots of tensions for the Japanese football fans.
 Posted by at 04:20
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 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 062010
 



 
Not just shoppers and cosplayers flock to Harajuku on the weekend, but also many other street musicians go there to practise, entertain the passers-by and promote their work and projects. Here the guitarist Shunsuke Watanabe (渡辺駿介) of the Japanese band Bals (バルス) sits in the vicinity of the Harajuku station and performs some live guitar music.

 Posted by at 18:05
Jun 062010
 



 
I miss the bulk of the cosplayer which gathered on the Harajuku bridge on Sundays. A couple of years ago, there were lots of young people coming here to meet their friends and be seen by other people. Many dozens would “costume play” in public and be open for photography. Recently only a very small number of cosplayers come to Harajuku bridge and most of them are not that friendly or good anymore.

However, I do check the location from time to time and this Sunday some very interesting cosplays were on display. Without any doubt this old man took the cake when it came to cosplay design and presentation. He was dressed up as some kind of bespectacled old woman with a huge headdresss with dolls and live goldfish earrings. I don’t know if he is cosplaying an actual anime/manga character or if this cosplay is of his own design, but he is quite famous for it. His name is Eijirō Miyamae, but around here he is know as the “Harajuku ojisan” (原宿おじさん) and it was a pleasure to take some pictures of him.

Old Japanese guy in elaborate cosplay with live goldfishes.
Old Japanese guy in elaborate cosplay with live goldfishes.
Eijirō Miyamae wearing his female cosplay and a big hat covered with dolls and other small figurines.
Eijirō Miyamae wearing his female cosplay and a big hat covered with dolls and other small figurines.
Close-up of the Harajuku Ojisan cosplayer and his goldfish earrings.
Close-up of the Harajuku Ojisan cosplayer and his goldfish earrings.
 Posted by at 18:02