This Japanese Lomo user met four other photographers from all over the world in Tokyo, 2010. We met through the photo sharing website, Flickr, and decided to meet up one day during one summer vacation. We explored Yanaka Ginza Street and this article is about how people can enjoy the Japanese hot summer through a traditional shopping street in Tokyo!
Back in Summer 2010, I was going back to Japan for a summer vacation after school was done. Because of my addiction to Flickr, I was going through photos all the time, and met this user named Mitarque. I told him I was going back home for the summer, and he suggested that we meet up for photo walk!
Once I got home, I enjoyed some fun family bonding. We went out for fresh fish from the market and took photos, it was such a happy time with my family.
Back to the lomowalk, Mitarque and I set up the date, and I was so looking forward to it!
The night before, he told me that there would be a couple of other members from Flickr. (What a surprise!) They are from Italy, Seattle, Malaysia…my goodness, what a multicultural photo walk! I was so hyper that night, and tried to sleep because we need a good night’s sleep before going to a fun photo walk!
We met up by Tokyo Station. The location for our meetup is called “Gin No Suzu”, its direct translation is "Sliver Bell’, which is also how we got our group’s name.
Mitarque, who was sort of the event’s leader, is originally from Tokyo and he introduced me to Din, Hiro, and Gian. Din is from Malaysia, Hiro used to work in Seattle, and Gian is from Italy. As soon as I arrived, I can recognize them pretty easily, because they were carrying their cameras. LC-A, TLR, Kiev, etc. CRAZY!
We left Tokyo Station and took the Yamanote Line bounce for Uguisudani. We got off the train, and walked towards our destination, Yanaka Ginza. Throughout this trip, we all shared our background info, where we are from, why we love photography, what we are up to this summer vacation, etc.
I was shooting with my Nikon SLR, but most of the other members were shooting with medium format cameras, that made me want to shoot with medium format afterwards. (This day made me purchase a TLR and shoot more medium format photos since then.:) Soon as we took our cameras out, everyone simply started shooting whatever subject they felt like.
This small shopping street is always fascinating to me, because it is a culture of its town. We can observe many different things through stores, items, language, people, mood, etc. Unfortunately these small stores and shopping streets seem to be disappearing lately due to the appearance of bigger shopping malls and stores. I hope these smaller businesses can sustain their shops and its culture, so we can keep our historical lomo location in good old Tokyo.
Rice crackers, a deli, souvenirs, all the goods are displayed so beautifully, I was like “Yes, this is the Japan I know.” It was also a moment for me to get my cultural identity back through this photo walk.
We had a lunch break at this Chinese cuisine place on the street. We had two tables, one was for us, the other was for our cameras. (Crazy isn’t it?) We had the lunch special. We had a photo talk, fresh Chinese food, it was just like heaven. (Plus, it was so hot outside, the AC in the restaurant kept our life cooler.)
We continued our photo walk at Yanaka Ginza. We found a street vendor selling snow corn! I had not had snow corn for a long time! We all enjoyed snack time on the street. (Gian, thanks for treating me to a snow corn, it was so delicious!)
Lots of photo opportunities on the street. people crossing the street, the residential area, flowers by the concrete fence, everything was just so photogenic. When we were resting, this butterfly landed on Din’s hat. In Japanese culture, during the middle of August, we have a festival called Bon Festival. Our ancestors come home during this season, so we thought the butterfly was his ancestor greeting him in this hot summer.
Gian had to go due to his schedule. We took more photos before he left.
Afterwards, we headed to Oshiage, which is the area of our new monument, Tokyo Sky Tree! It was my first time to actually see the Sky Tree, and I felt the new generation in Tokyo.
We continued our photo walk, and stopped to rest at a café.
Days are usually longer during the summer, but evening was coming, so we continued shooting until it got dark.
With the sun setting, it was time to go home so we all headed to the subway station.
Our technology lately helps us keep in touch with faraway friends so easily, that we’ll certainly meet up again.:)
Yanaka Ginza is a lomo location perfect for showing your guests from overseas around, because you can share the traditional mood and atmosphere to get to know Japan better with your friends as well as share some photographic moments.
I think it is great to share our hobbies through Lomography. Analog photography does open up our artistic feeling, and it is also great to share our culture and multiculturalism through our photographic community online. I wish you can make many great connections through Lomography as well, and if you do, then great! And, if you get the chance to visit Tokyo, please do try going Yanaka! It is such a cool place to be!
If I get a chance to go back home this summer, I’d love to go again. If you are interested in meeting up with me for a photo walk, please feel free to contact me! We shall enjoy our lomo time.;)