The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


Six and Counting

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I missed most of the craziness around the iPhone 6 launch in Tokyo yesterday because I had a prior commitment early in the morning but even as I wandered down to Ginza in the afternoon there was still a long queue outside the new Apple store there and crowds of people looking at the new tech in the shop itself. (image above)

I love my iPhone and think it is a great tool to help me in my work but cannot understand why anyone would want to wait outside a shop for hours, even days, to buy one. These launches have now become event that people go to as much for the experience as the product. They dress up, camp-out and seem to have a good time. yet that are there to buy a product and happily part with a lot of money because a company says they should.

It is all a little bit scary that these festivals of consumerism are so important in the calendar now and attract such large numbers of people to the wishes of a corporation. I saw many tradition festivals, called matsuri,  setting up for the weekend as I walked around yesterday. The Equinox arrives on Tuesday and the Japanese people often celebrate the arrival of Autumn by carrying a mikoshi around in a noisy procession. Not saying the religion that created these colourful spectacles is any less of a unhealthy mind-control than consumerism, it isn’t. But it is certainly seems more fun and is considerably cheaper than joining the hoards of iphoners.





Lake Maninjau

Lake Maninjau

Feeling the air of Autumn now in the morning. A different smell and taste here when you wake up. Where I live the mountains are not exactly close by but on certain mornings you are very aware of them.

I spent a lot of my twenties in the mountains both in the UK and abroad. Cold, hard snowy peaks or forested slopes all over the world were places I sought out. Mostly the exposed rocky ridges of temperate ranges where I would test my nerve on climbs  to be true but later, as my ambitions drifted eastwards towards Asia, I found myself in tropical forests too. The air is very different in the jungle but there is an unmistakable familiarity to any vertical geography and even in the crater lake of Danau Maninjau in Sumatra, Indonesia above, despite the palm trees and monkeys, the fishermen and the hideous insects, I felt at home.

This is an old photo I took one morning when I walked down early from the lodges I was staying in the middle of the forest. I wanted to shoot a bit around the edges of the lake itself and enjoyed the refreshing, early-morning temperatures as I descended through the trees that a few hours later would be humid hells. I loved the moist, cooling lake breezes when I arrived and the light as the sun burned the sky and brushed detail into the forested slopes that surround the lake . Maninjau is an amazing place and if you ever have the chance I highly recommend going there.

Off to work in the very urban Tokyo now


Busman’s Holiday

London bus in Piccadilly Circus

London bus in Piccadilly Circus

As all holidays and breaks tend to be for a photographer.

One month ago, exactly, took this shot in London. We were walking to Westminster from Bank,the sun was setting and it was hard to keep track of a wife, two sons and a niece in the crowds.
Am actually surprised this image came out so well as I think I barely broke my stride while taking it.

It is a classic shot of Piccadilly Circus however and though there is no journalistic story attached it is a nice travel shot of London and a good memory of a good day. I like Tokyo but there is something very special about the light and atmosphere in London on a summer evening. Wish I’d had more time to explore around with my camera. maybe next time.

The walking was hard for the little people in our group so we caught one of these iconic forms of transport for part of the journey and managed to bag some front seats on the top deck. A pretty perfect day to tell the truth.

Off out into the delights of Tokyo now.



A Moment Please

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New website on its way soon.

Got to find time to set it all up before the great unveiling. Please be patient.

If you want to see my portfolio at this moment please visit my archive site.

The best images, so far, of 2014 are in this gallery.

Will update you all as soon as I can.



Happy Birth/Made Day

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September 3rd is apparently the “birthday” of the famous manga and animation character, Doraemon. It is hard to say how old he is exactly, as this robotic cat was made in the future, 2112 to be precise, so this year marks his 98th before birth. It doesn’t make sense if you think about it to much so don’t even try.

Doraemon is easily one of Japan most popular and recognisable characters, and the fans get a big kick out of finding the details of his birth date repeated throughout the traits of the character. For example he was born on 12/9/3  (which is how the Japanese write the date) and he is also 129.3 cms tall. His weight is 129.3 kgs and he can run at 129.3 kilometres an hour (if scared that is) and jump 129.3 metres (again when running away from something). Even the diameter of his feet is 129.3mm.

Doraemon first appeared in manga magazines in 1969. Around 1,350 episodes were published over the next 10 or 15  years, including several stories that stretched to book-length.  An animated television series arrived in 1979,  followed by several movies.

I am not really a fan of Japanese manga but of course I recognise the character and his importance on the shared memory of many Japanese people, mae and female alike. From what i’ve heard the stories are very funny and have a good moral undercurrent that tackles important subjects like bullying that children may have to deal with in their real lives.

And to be honest I found myself wearing a smile almost as big as he kids were when I saw all the Doraemon models crowding the park below Roppongi Hills Tower the other week. He is kind of cute.

So Happy Birthday Doraemon!



Airport Samurai

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A day waiting at Haneda airport for my family to arrive back in Japan.

They are spending another day in a hotel in Vietnam though as the airline slowly brings them home, minus two cases so far.

Haneda International Airport has won awards for decor and themes which recreates an Edo-era village where the shops and restaurants are.

Today they also seemed to have an Edo-themed festival on with people walking around in period costume including the ninja above; dance performances and festival games and snacks.

Fun day really wish my boys could have seen it but they do get to see Ho Chi Min City at least.





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