The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Dedication

The man (without the mask) above is Yosuke Ishinabe. I don’t know who the other guy is!!!

Anyway Yosuke is a very happy man today because he could get himself a new iphone 4S. He deserves it to having been camped-out on the street in front of the Apple Store in Ginza since Tuesday. Four days waiting in the same space for a new smart phone is a whole new order of brand dedication. I mean I like Apple iphones and am more than happy that I can now get one on the KDDI network I belong to. I don’t want any other kind of phone, I like Apple products, this computer work well for me, it is clean and simple and does everything I want it to. Perfect, and I have no doubt that the iphone I will undoubtedly  get later is going to do exactly the same.

But at the end of the day it is still just a telephone.

Unofficial estimates put the number of people waiting on the street outside the store at 800. That is only the ones that were there before 8am when the doors opened and Ishinabe San was escorted in to cheers and applause. Indeed I have never seen people celebrate the spending of (large sums) of their own money so completely before. The chanting from the blue-shirted Apple employees before the doors opened was good-humoured and perhaps did steal them for a very busy retail day ahead but did seem a little cultish to be honest. Bit happy clappy, new religion scary. The cult of Apple is growing and though I think it is at this moment benevolent, the power the brand has over people is amazing and in the wrong hands would be worrying.

Some people think it is already and were it not for the fact that Apple seems to care about its customers so would I. Yes it loves their money and guarantees it’ll get repeated donations of the stuff with with annoying policies like laptop batteries you cannot replace and updates and apps that become must-haves and not merely for your continuing inclusion in the zeitgeist either but for the products you buy to continue working. Yet throughout the chill of the night and into the morning Apple staff were out providing drinks and snacks to those customers camped-out in their kilometre-long line, and all free of charge.

Funny old morning.

More images of the iphone 4S release in Ginza, Japan at my archive here.

Damon

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