My Tokyo Street Photographer Experience

Sukiyabashi Crossing

Having told this story 3 times in as many days I figured it’s time I put it down for everyone.

I’ve been to Japan twice now, once in 2008 and once in 2009. Jason had also went in 2007. We like Japan, dearly.

The trip in 2008 was partly to take me to the magical land of candy and flashing lights Jason had previously found, and to also visit 2 close friends who were teaching English in Japan for a year. We decided to meet early in our trip in Tokyo for a couple days.

Our Tokyo agenda pretty much consisted of this:

  1. Find Robots.
  2. Go to New York Bar in the Park Hyatt, the bar from Lost in Translation.
  3. Repeat.

Early one evening we decided to look for robots at the flagship Sony store in Ginza. The Sony Building is luckily right outside of Ginza station, but also multiple stories high. Six floors to get to the store, plus 2 basement floors for good measure, as usual there. We meandered circularly up through the floors, asking and finding that the Sony robot dog AIBO had been discontinued 2 years before.

Defeated and hungry we decided to exit. We exited into Sukiyabashi Crossing, the clusterfuck that is the intersection of Sotobori Dori and Harumi Dori. My picture taken, above, sucks so please, use this wonderful picture from Flickr user David Jones to properly understand the scope of this crossing. Sukiyabashi Crossing, Ginza, Tokyo

As you can tell, there are crosswalks EVERYWHERE. It was time to walk, I tried to follow Jason and our friends Ryan and Megan when an older man approached me. He had a camera with a short but heavy lens around his neck, the Canon strap holding it on.

Slowly, slowly slowly it came out “Can I take your…picture?” He seemed 50ish or so, most of the Japanese men I had seen seemed to wear their age better than the average American man so I wasn’t sure. He was definitely more plain than everyone else in stylish Ginza. He was dressed very much like I was, both of us shameful beacons just doors away from the Hermes store. He would not stop smiling this goofy smile.

The awakrdness of the entire ordeal meant I kept giggling and smilling and laughing at my friends laughing at me. He kept lifting his camera up and as I’d giggle he’d pull it away and look at me again and smile. Finally I stood still and he said something, I’m not sure what but I likened it to “Cheese”. Camera up, flash ready, focused tightly on my face, finger on the trigger.

Then, he quickly shoved the camera downward below my face and a flash went off and he quickly bowed and disappeared.

So, now, somewhere in Japan some man has a picture of only my (fully clothed) chest.