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How an Englishman became Japanese

An englishman on shooting the Japanese way

I’m half Japanese; I do nothing in any way Japanese; when people ask if I can speak it I mumble an indistinguishable konnichiwa and hope they don’t retort with any more Japanese. Even whilst writing this I fear I cringe at my Anglo-Japanese relationship. But as I have been getting older I have been trying to get more in touch with my Asian side. Luckily Japanese restaurants are easy to find in London; and it’s even easier to act Japanese with your friends in such places by always criticizing the food is awful, and in no way authentic, when in reality I have no idea if it is authentic, or how it should actually taste. My palette for sushi is terrible, my knowledge of Miyazaki is limited to a couple of Studio Ghibli movies, my only beer choice in a Japanese bar would be Asahi and my only gateway to learning the culture (without spending money on a plane ticket) is through my grandmother, but she’s proving to be a tad unhelpful as she has forgotten most her Japanese, can speak limited English, and is now married to a Norweigan chap. I’m unsure of how they communicate, I do know they nod alot, and seem to always be watching home and away.

Now the Fuji Natura Classica seems unrelated to anything written here; however, it is a camera I had been ogling over, years before working at the Lomography Gallery Store London. When I finally was able to get it I knew I had made the right decision. For the first time in my life I felt Japanese! I went out with my friend Su to the first restaurant we could find and we took dozens of photos of the food we ate and the drinks we drank. I then started adopting the peace sign pose in any photo, anywhere, anytime with anyone. I started putting the word super in front of every descriptive word I ever said; I stepped into a Toyota AE86, and bought a Hello Kitty watch, my hair grew outwards and I started dressing more fashionably. It was all so magical!

All of these things tell you nothing about the camera; and I see there to be no point in actually telling you anything. It truly is one of the most fantastically daft cameras I have ever owned. I carry it everywhere; it always gives me perfect photos. But it’s not just that, its the little things on the camera – the fact it has a zoom of 28-56mm, possibly the most useless zoom ever made, if you stretch your arm out ahead of you it will give the same effect. It has a pop up flash that is so tiny it wouldn’t light anything unless it was a metre ahead of you. Even it’s name is far too long, and it has an option for a datestamp(!). But these are reasons why I love it. The whole camera has no point, like so many little things I see from Japan, apart from to be something that, once you get, you will have no idea how you lived without it before.

written by markfappleton


  1. ethermoon


    Basically, I would love to have a Fuji Natura Classica Camera!!! Perfect clean shots! and Indoor too!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. stouf


    Great text and shots !

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. emilios


    Awesome article Mark! Cool pictures as well.

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  4. adi_totp


    love your shots!

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  5. a_lion


    Photo 2 is just sublime!

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  6. mikahsupageek


    great shots !

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. eatcpcks


    great shots and funny story thanks!

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  8. wuxiong


    nice writen story....

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  9. nicolas_noir


    Great shots! I've never quite got the zoom on these - the original with the wide angle f1.9 lens sounds super lush, but otherwise not being able to turn the flash off indoors with slow film seems a bit of a let down really.

    On the subject of date stamps being super Japanese, I've got a Ricoh R10 which is so super Japanese and has the most amazing date stamp - you can stamp things like "Happy days (^-^)" "FRIENDS FOREVER" and, of course, "WORLD PEACE" - I love it :-)

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  10. markfappleton


    ^.^ ^.^ ^.^ ^.^ ^.^ ^.^ I want every photo I take to have WORLD PEACE on it.
    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  11. superlighter


    haha! funny story! and great shots!

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  12. jwebcrafter


    Awsome article. You made my day with your story and pics.
    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  13. fash_on


    so funny :D love how you became so Japanese with your hair growing outwards!!

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  14. ipdegirl


    hilarious!! great story! It fuels the fire of my wanting that camera even more......

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  15. kylewis


    I love this blog it's so full of self depracating humour... you are english! as for the camera I also have one and found your comments so true, it is pointless and to be honest I haven't had a good shot out of it and I have used the right film as well, one can only laugh and return to the trusty LCA!! but the whirr of the zoom and the flick of the flash really makes you think you have something there ; 0)

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  16. takuji


    haha.I bet you will order "raw" fish & chips pretty soon :P

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  17. golfpunkgirl


    ishi wishy dishy sayang!

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  18. freefall21km


    you didn't tell me about this article! it's lovely.
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  19. adamscott


    Half Japanese my arse - try 1/4

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  20. realmustache


    great narrative. love the photos

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  21. porkchopsandy


    Nicely written Mark! You rock!!!

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  22. paramir


    well written! :) I must say I love the results you got with this useless, indispensable camera...

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  23. lindascott


    See you down the Japanese Center cribbing some more culture soon...x
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  24. panchoballard


    Great article, very funny!

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  25. aebarabea


    Haha... great review! I've wanted this camera for a long time also and I love sushi. Maybe I can also become a little Chinese in addition to my full-on Germanness... Just need this camera!!
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