People Photos from Japan!

And so, I’m officially back in Japan! Well, blog-wise only of course. My body is in boring Singapore and I use this blog to take me to where I want to be in spirit.

And let me bring you guys there too – through the products of my street photography, featuring the people of Japan!

But oh, my photos are dead lousy so pardon me. I was using a very old Olympus point-and-shoot see, and it’s rated one of the worst on CNET. And even among the terrible cameras, this one is the king, and by that I mean it’s the worst, not best, of the worst.

And on top of that, I’m a rookie photograher too.

And oh, all these were taken at a time when I didn’t approach others for permission. I swear I’m not being voyeur; I was just shy. I just wanted to capture the culture and everyday life in Japan and I believe people photos are the best way to accomplish this.

So now that I hopefully have your understanding (and sympathy LOL), let it roll.

Traditional Japan

Geishas in Asakusa Temple Tokyo (2)

Asakusa: What could be better than geishas and kimonos? And better still, at a temple?? They appeared so suddenly and were walking really fast – I had to rush in front of them without looking like a stalker!

Young and Trendy Harajuku

Let’s fast forward to the modern stuff shall we, cos this is where all the excitement lies! Well it’s actually because my Geisha pic is the only traditional shot worth showing…

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He’s promoting an outlet but with his lively charisma he certainly can promote himself too!

Japanese lady in Harajuku Tokyo Teenage girls in Harajuku Tokyo

(Above) Not everyone in Harajuku has good fashion sense – for example, the people in these pictures and ragged ol’ me who snapped them.
Left: a rather senior lady attempts to look young. Her clothes don’t match her but well at least she tried.
Right: these two were the only girls I saw who didn’t wear makeup. I’m tempted to think that they’re foreigners: ask any Japanese woman; in general they wouldn’t dare go out without touching up.

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Ah, now this is what I call REAL fashion!

Young Japanese teens in Harajuku Tokyo (1) Young Japanese teens in Harajuku Tokyo (2)

(Above, Left) Fashion faux pas by the guys too! But this is from the viewpoint of my own unfashionable standards…
(Right) Now these guys looks better IMO! Especially the one on the right!

Fashionable young Japanese guy and girl in Harajuku Tokyo

This guy’s cool too!

Costume cosplayer in Harajuku Tokyo

Regardless of gender, this pink costume is a very colourful choice..

Scenic, Romantic Hakone

Natural scenery and romance make a good couple; they really go hand in hand.

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I’m not so fortunate in people photography because more often than not, I’m always behind my subjects.

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Again, their backs to my face and camera.

Young Japanese couple in Sengokuhara, Hakone, Japan

I’m luckier this time! Well only half lucky; the boyfriend’s ruining it. But I still LOVE this pic!

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Students arriving in Hakone, probably for a school trip. They look unhappy and bored though, like, “Sigh, Hakone for the 20th time.”

Of Trains and Stations

Trains are the perfect place to capture the locals’ daily lives but it’s difficult to do so nonetheless. I mean, it has to be a discreet job. So I apologise for the lack of quality in some of the photos below. Being discreet means holding the iPhone at weird angles -_-

Fashionable metrosexual Japanese guy in Tokyo, Japan

Metro guy outside Tokyo Station. He’s wearing a stylish fedora hat which matches perfectly with 70s slacks and a chic leather bag to go with his coat. Gawd I almost sound like a fashion mag.

Japanese policeman in Shinjuku train station Tokyo

Japanese policeman standing guard in Shinjuku station

Stressed Japanese salarymen workers on train in Tokyo

This is one of the very first photos I took right after my arrival. It instantly exposed the reality beneath prosperous and modern Tokyo: the people are very unhappy and stressed. And oh, this was taken at 11pm – the Japanese work super long hours!

Japanese girl on train

Kirei ne!

Salarymen

The male white-collar professionals in the train photo above are called ‘sarariman’ in Japanese which is a direct translation of ‘salaried men’. This in turn has morphed the original English phrase somewhat and we now say it as ‘salarymen’.

Young Japanese salarymen in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

If you’re unfamiliar with Japan you might think that salarymen look glamorous with their suits and briefcases.

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However, the truth is the complete opposite. Due to a stagnant economy, an increasing number of young Japanese find it really hard to get a job. And when they do eventually get one, the pressure is tremendous. This park is in Marunouchi, the central business district of Tokyo. Stressed salarymen take a break from it all.

And that’s all folks! Stay tuned as I get my gear fully revved in Japan mode and whip out more entries on this amazing country!

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12 comments on “People Photos from Japan!

      • As much as I love Japan, I think the max I can do over there is a month or so. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life and I can’t imagine leaving it for an extended period of time. My first and second trips to Japan were only 6 days too! It’s amazing how much you can cram into such a small time period when you set your mind to it.

      • Well if I were you I’d have left, I can’t be at a place for too long. And it’s fun cos that’s what travelling is all about 😉 But then again life in the US is a lot happier than in Japan. It was a stressed sea of faces when I was in Tokyo last year.

  1. Interesting photos. You’re definitely good at capturing moments. I love it how you tell stories for each photos like you’ve known them for so long. =)
    My favorite is the boyfriend-girlfriend photo of course, but the one that you captured from the back. seems more mysterious and sweet,. =)

    • Thanks! Though you’re giving me a lil’ too much credit cos I’m still a rookie haha 😛 Ah yes the young couple from the back looks much better in real life, the photo doesn’t do them justice..

  2. Ruzhi Chew,
    Salute to Japan government & peoples,
    Built their country, determinant in technology, but also living with their own culture, and keep their environment.

    Warm regard from Lampung, Sumatera, Indonesia.

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