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.