Japan is about its people as much as it is about its sights, sounds and food. I am quite clumsy when it comes to taking portraits and am clearly in need of more practice. Food can be manipulated to look photogenic, but you can't do the same for people. It takes skill (and often times, speed) to capture the essence of the subject. Also, I was a bit shy photographing random strangers, as much as I wanted to. ;) Well, for what they are worth, here is Japan and her people, through my lens.
Whether in Kyoto or Tokyo, there were people people people everywhere. This was on a Monday afternoon, non-peak hour.
The flamboyance that is Harajuku! I ♥ Harajuku so much I went back twice. :) This is where you will see kimonos and cosplay co-exist. Yes, you can dress as a cartoon character and no one bats an eyelid.
Bleak, wet, windy and very cold. The weather was inclement and Disney Sea was certainly not the Happiest Place on Earth. Rain and theme parks just don't go together. I'd say it was the worst day of our time in Japan. Still, I'm grateful to these exuberant drumming chefs, for bringing some cheer on a gloomy day.
The ever elegant women of Tokyo. Groomed, coiffed, always well put together. The men were no different. Suited up or in casual togs, they all sported perfect hair, with wispy edges and movement. I salute the beautiful, fashionable people of Tokyo for being magazine-worthy and making it look effortless. Think about it ... it's easy when you have a team of stylists working on you, but to look runway-ready on your own effort, that's really something.
A homeless man makes do with cardboard and garbage wrap for warmth. :( He was not there when we walked past earlier in the evening, and the next morning, he was gone. Yes, there are cracks beneath the beautiful face of Japan. It was an eye-opener for my daughter and a sombre end to our night out. :(
At every convenience store, there would be men like these, all engrossed in their, er, reading? Ahem.
In Kyoto, on a crowded bus. It seemed everyone descended upon this ancient city during that special Autumn week. We were there on a Sunday, the last day of the week-long "Open Days" at the Imperial Palace. I am guessing it was perhaps the best time to view the foliage? Whatever the case, I shall not complain. Crowds are awful, but they are to be expected whenever you travel during a peak. Sure, I could come back in winter and brave a smaller crowd, but what will I see? Naked trees and a sun which sets at three.
In Kyoto, walking up the narrow road, uphill to Kiyomizu-dera. Some chose a more comfortable journey up ...
The rest of us just trudged on.
At Kiyomizu-dera. I jostled with the crowd as we made our way through the temple gates. Quite like magic, a vision appeared before me - a geisha! Instantly, everyone started going into a camera frenzy, not unlike the paparrazzi. Click, click, click .. oohs ... aahs ... looks of admiration. The geisha kept her head bowed, eyes low - mildly embarrassed by the commotion she was causing - and gracefully inched her way out.
Her fellow geisha, on the other hand, was happy to pose for the crowd. I was beside myself. I wanted to stretch my arms heavenward and yell "YATTA!", a la Hiro Nakamura. I so badly wanted to see a geisha, but knew in my heart the chances were close to impossible (we already decided we were not going to Gion due to time constraints). So what were the chances of running into one? Yet here I was ... staring at not one, but two geishas ... posing for me, right in front of the magnificent Kiyomizu-dera, looking resplendent in their traditional finery. It more than made up for that dreadful train and bus ride to Kyoto. YATTA!
Inside the shrine, we saw these two pretty little girls in their lovely kimono, with gorgeous hair to boot. Oh, they caused a commotion too!
Nanba (難波) - eclectic, fun, vibrant! I'm coming back here as soon as I erm, find the moolah. There were buskers dotting the streets but this one stole the show. He was playing "Lambada" and had the crowd tapping their feet to the Latin beat. Awesome!
I personally like this photo very much because it sums up the reason why holidays are special. It's the luxury of time. We can stand outside the senseless rush and watch the world go by. :)
Japan 2010 - Autumn Foliage