The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Above average

My height that is!!! At six foot, or 180cms in metric, tall, I am about average for someone my age in the UK. Of course here in Japan this makes me slightly taller than most people which is great for looking over their heads at festivals and such like but until today I never thought of it as a disadvantage.

I actually got out shooting today! A lucky day indeed: free time combined with good weather and made possible mostly by a sick wife in bed with a terrible cold. Now that may sound a little harsh (and it is) but it did mean that she had no previous designs on my free hours and so off I went to Sugamo in Tokyo to take pictures for a personal project I`ve been “working on” for months.

Sugamo is called the old lady`s Harajuku and if you live in Japan you`ll know what that means. Basically it is one of those areas of Tokyo that becomes a kind of cultural/hobby ghetto. There are many: costume play in Harajuku; Otaku in Akibihabara; Yakuza in Asakusa and gaijin and their hunteresses in Roppongi .

Sugamo is full of old ladies, and all the shops, cafes, daytime TV crews and other spiritual charlatans that cater for them.  And, here`s the thing, old ladies in Japan are really surprisingly short; I felt as if I was in Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. However inconspicuous I tried to be (as a six foot tall gaijin walking around in a Thai, Red Bull T-shirt with a big camera around my neck) I discovered that if I wished to take pictures of the people around me I had to crouch and when you crouch people always ask what you`re up to. This of course made some good contacts but the candids were harder to get because I didn`t want to see only the top of people`s heads.

Just thought I`d share that little observation with you.

A Fun day, good to be out shooting again.

The picture above is from a short, earlier visit to Sugamo. The “priest” is rubbing soap on the old ladies hands to cure something. Yeah that`s what I think too.

Talk later



4 responses

  1. They’re small, but (as you know) you stand in their way when it comes to getting a seat on the subway. Boney elbows.

    October 18, 2007 at 1:37 am

  2. dammit! you DON’T stand in their way!

    October 18, 2007 at 1:38 am

  3. Obattlions, yes the exception that proves the rule about Japanese women`s demure politeness. In really big hats too!!!

    October 18, 2007 at 3:37 am

  4. A short visit…ha, ha.

    October 29, 2007 at 8:55 am

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