Been incredibly busy the last week or so. Managed to grab a quick evening shot of Tokyo Skytree while out shooting on Monday.
I like this shot as it was taken from near Edogawa where there are many older, traditional houses and buildings which provide some nice foreground for this iconic, modern addition to the Tokyo skyline
Will be posting back soon.
Around 7,000 people turned out yesterday afternoon to protest the construction of a new United States military base at Henoko in Okinawa.
The protest started at 2pm and ended by forming a human chain around the National Diet Building.
The US Military have a long and troubled history in Okinawa. While it is true the islands’ economy relies heavily upon the presence of 28 military camps and other facilities, most locals would rather they were not there. Plans to move the main US Marine airbase away from the suburban areas in Futenma to the much less developed Henoko, 50 kilometres north, are meeting large and very angry protests. The are chosen for the new base is a coastal area with tourist-valuable coral reefs. It is also a sanctuary for the rare dugong marine mammal. Of course until Shinzo Abe came back to power at the end of 2012, the people of Okinawa had been led to believe that the Americans would be moved out of the prefecture all together to somewhere like Guam. But at the end of 2013 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and then Governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima signed the agreement to build the new US base at Henoko and the resistance started.
Protest have set up a camp outside the proposed site, they take to the sea in canoes and boats to protest the construction and are often met with aggressive and violent suppression at the hands of security by the police and coastguard.
Taking the fight to the heart of the government is a logical step. I doubt Shinzo Abe will listen however.
I went along to take a few photos, as I tend to do at most protests in Tokyo. This one was little different however as I had my two sons with me. A new and eye-opening experience for them for sure (and they were very good too because I didn’t even lose them once in the crowds). This meant, of course, that I couldn’t get quite as deep in among the protestors as usual. Though we did wiggle our way into the main speaking area where many well-known and passionate activists rallied the crowds including Catherine “Jane” Fisher, Mizuho Fukushima and the man in the bottom image, journalist, Satoshi Kamata.
A good day in the end.
More images of the Anti Henoko Base Protest in Tokyo at my archive here:
Got an hour to myself, as my boys went out for Christmas events, so took a quick walk to the nearby train-yard to photograph workmen and women cleaning and fixing the trains. Is always quite interesting here and the light was fantastic.
These might be the last photos I take this year so Happy New Year to all my readers!
One of the problems of having been in the same city for so long is that on photo safaris it is easy to end up in a place you have already been. On Friday, as I was wandering around enjoying the wonderful Autumn light, I found myself in Aoyama Cemetery again.
I was last there about six or seven years ago and the views, as you would expect of a cemetery, had not changed that much. One advantage of being in Tokyo though is that it is never really boring and there are always new pictures to find if you look. As I walked around looking for something I had not seen before I found these two monks talking in the cemetery temple. I didn’t get too close preferring not to disturb them and shot from a distance with the shrine roof and doorway providing a frame for them.
Nice little encounter on a short but magically lit day out.
Busy at the moment, more later.
It is All Hallows’ Eve, an ancient European festival of remembrance that is more or less meaningless to most people these days. But it is known as Halloween and celebrated very energetically in many countries, especially in America (and since the movie ET also in Britain) and even in Japan where the young dress up in costumes and put on rather macabre make-up and parade noisily around places like Shibuya enjoying this totally strange, borrowed piece of culture.
I have shot it a few times and it is fun, the crowds all seem to have a good time and the costumes reference Japanese popular-culture icons and for some reason lots of nurses along with the usual vampires and monsters.
Anyway sending images off to agencies and such like thought I would just share a few portraits from tonight here with you.
It is probably going to be occupying my time a lot over the next 6 years but am beginning to shoot some of the preparations for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The controversial main stadium will be built from and over the remains of the 1964 Olympic National Stadium in Shinjuku. I was there last week looking for some of the preparations going on.
A lot of the work is being carried out behind walls and truthfully not a lot appears to be happening as of yet but am sure I’ll be seeing and photography a lot more activity around the capital as the infrastructure come together.
There are many stories related to the preparations for this Olympics, not least the fact that money is being poured into the event when many in Tohoku are still suffering the effects of the 2011, March 11th earthquake and tsunami. Prime Minister Abe’s assurances at the IOC, and elsewhere in the bidding process, that Fukushima nuclear disaster is under control is also something that has a lot of people wanting to show the world the opposite truth. There are people in Tokyo that are similarly angry at the effect the Games will have on their lives.
Hope to find quite a lot to shoot but for now some images of the demolition and remodelling of National Stadium.