The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Money talks

Or rather it doesn`t. I went to the the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday for some…ahem….stock shots. And it was so quiet, so peaceful, serene even, with none of that brash, ballistic noise I`ve seen on TV and in movies about Wall Street and London. Hard to believe that over 700 Trillion Yen`s worth of stocks and shares get traded through there each year; (if it`s a good year anyways), but then maybe I`m out of date and the energy of the yuppie years is not true anywhere, anymore.

It was obviously a rich place though, the traders my not have been wearing red braces and talking arrogantly into their cell phones but they oozed confident wealth. I guess the reason such people are paid so much is they had better not be intimidated handling large wedges of cash, especially when it is not their money.

Standing on the stylish and oh so minimalist viewing deck, looking at the share price whizzing around on the display called the ticker tape or gazing down through the glass cylinder at the traders sitting silently at their computers it did feel strange. This world is unknowable to me and though I nominally understand the culture and can even connect to it at some genetic level it was like watching animals at the zoo.

Money movers (corporate gamblers) are far from an endangered species unfortunately, and many people now feel inclined and justified in taking a few pot shots at them (metaphorically speaking of course) as the economy struggles but I did almost feel connected to them in a “capitalists in the mist” sort of way as I watched them watching me take pictures. Maybe because they are Japanese and thus friendlier, or maybe traders are more humbled worldwide these days but I have always hated the people of that world of easy wealth and these people just didn`t seem to fit that image. Outside in the cafes and noodle shops I saw traders in expensive suits nursing their 200 Yen coffees over manga comics and others slurping their 600 Yen bowls of noodles down at cramped, and almost rustically unhygienic tables only inches from where I too ate my noodles and I realized that somehow they had become human again.

Maybe it isn`t a good year in the markets though.

Interesting that gains are written in red and the loses in green!

More images of Tokyo Stock Exchange at my archive here.

Later Damon


2 responses

  1. I was there for a job the other month, was deadly quite as well. Think it’s the same all the time.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:04 am

  2. Pingback: Get On Yer Bike « sungypsy blog

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