Dispatches: Walking Tokyo

workes_mt-fuji_fuji-japan_120216_mg_0395Condensing a little to finish up finishing out that trip to Japan….

Our second day in Nagaizumi dawn cold but clear. I got up early and headed out for a walk in the neighborhood.

As I was walking I looked left and *boom* there was Mount Fuji in the distance. Since the previous day was cloudy, we didn’t know how close we were. But it was pretty much right there.

Gary and I had breakfast and check out. Today would be a shoot-and-travel day. We headed back to the facility and finished up the “to shoot” list we had started the previous day. Getting some of the local team on the roof to get Mount Fuji in the background was key to anchoring this set of photos to visually show were the facility was.

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While Gary worked, I grabbed some BTS shots. Once the shoot was done, it was time to head to Tokyo to finish out our trip. Back to the bullet train!

*******

We arrived in Tokyo in the late afternoon and would have roughly 36 hours there.

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A shinkansen conductor patiently waits for riders to disembark in Tokyo.

Tokyo is a wonderful city. Very clean and friendly. Reading the travel websites, you would think you need an advanced degree to get around. It’s not that bad. While you don’t see much English anywhere, many people do speak at least some English and, hey, it’ s people. A smile and a gesture go a long way.

That said, we mostly got around via footpower. Didn’t really navigate the train systems to much, which may have been more challenging. That first evening, we strolled around to check out the nearby neighborhood where we were staying (Bunkyō). As we were trying to decide what to do for dinner, a noodle chef, Ken, helped us out. He saw us peering in his window and came outside to show us how the ticketing system for his noodle shop works.

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Ken’s Noodle House

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Gary navigates his noodles, with Ken (r) in the background.

It was a long day and after dinner, we were exhausted. It was back to the hotel for us.

Saturday dawned sunny and bright and warm. As is my travel tradition, I awoke early and checked out the neighborhood in the daytime.

 

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Noircon t-shirt in Tokyo

I became pretty proficient at getting coffee at 7-11, so I had a couple of those, then headed back to the hotel to pick up Gary. We were going to just take some time to photwalk Tokyo a bit, with the goal to head to Ginza.

So that’s what we did, seeing what we could see.

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A gent we met walking through the Imperial Palace grounds. He has my lens on his camera, and gave me his fish eye to try out. No English spoken.

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Gary shooting his Sony’s outside the Sony building.

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People pay big money to do photowalks with professional photographers. I’ve been fortunate to do such walks in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, Cape Town and, yes, Tokyo, with such folks. Probably my favorite thing to do – strolling around, looking for the light, talking shop and checking out shops.

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Mirror Selfie.

We figured we walked a good six miles that day, back and forth. After a brief rest at the hotel, we headed back out for dinner.

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We eventually settled on a restaurant because…well, just because. We couldn’t decipher the menu and just figured we’d wing it.

That was a good call, though. It’s hard to really explain the whole experience, but we sat down at a small table in a small restaurant. There were about 15 people in there, and we just started to pointing to what other people were eating. An older gent who spoke some English, Sachio, said hello and helped us order. Pretty soon, our table was filled with different grilled fishes, noodles, and rice. Other tables even shared their dishes with us, all with smiles on their faces for the two Westerners.

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Our new friend, Sachio

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Chicken Liver Kabobs

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More new friends, including our chef in the background. And the ubiquitous NY Yankees cap. I see that everywhere I go.

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Hard to believe “Chef Guns” is 72. (c) Gary S. Chapman

It was a pretty incredible evening and a nice way to end our trip. We would fly home the next day, bringing an end to our Asian excursion. It was a great week in China and Japan, but Christmas was coming, and it was time to get back to the Great State of New Jersey!

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Beautiful light in the lounge prior to takeoff.

(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Happy Holidays From JSP!

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Merry Christmas &  Happy Hanukkah

From All of Us Here at JerseyStyle Photography!

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Holiday Noir: Trouble’s Out of Sight

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God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay….

What did you ask Santy Clause for Christmas?

A new lid for your dome?

A nice topcoat?

Some ice for those ears?

Not me.

All I want is some cabbage for the money clip in my pocket.

And a carton of Lucky’s.

I’m a simple mug. Don’t need much to make me happy.

But hey, it’s the Christmas season.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

You know what the song says…

Put your troubles away,

And have yourself a merry little Christmas…

(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

 

 

In The Field -Nagaizumi, Japan

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Nagaizumi Taxi

OK, so Gary and I made it to Japan. From Xi’an, China to Narita International Airport, onto a couple of trains and then ending up in the shadow of Mount Fuji….Nagaizumi, Japan.

We arrived in town in the early evening. Grabbed a taxi at the train station and made our way to the hotel. Nagaizumi is good sized but not like Xi’an at all. In fact, there is a marked difference between Japan and China to me. I’ve been to both three times, usually on the same trip. Landing in Japan is like being able to breathe again, and not just because China has a smog problem. It’s just a…feeling.

By the time we got to our hotel, it was dark but still early evening. Remember, we had been up really early and were beat. We met up in the little restaurant that the hotel had, had some dinner (the hotel makes their own curry, which Gary had and said was great), and that was that. Off to our small but nicely efficient rooms for some rest before day 1.

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Day two started the way Day 1 ended…in the restaurant and in a cab. I didn’t even get up much earlier to go walk around – just too tired. Didn’t even try on the yukata that came with the room.

We were only about 10 minutes from the facility, so the drive there was short. It was an overcast day so we couldn’t even see where Mount Fuji was in relation to where we were.

After a tour, though, we got started with the day’s shooting.

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When I wasn’t shooting Gary shooting…I was doing some portrait work.

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Never works, though, when the pro gets in your shot.

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Better.

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In our scouting, we both liked the industrial looks that we got on the roof at one point.

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Unfortunately, other than Gary getting a portrait of me, we never were able to come back to make it work.

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(c) Gary S. Chapman

One thing we were getting good at…all the gowning up we had to do to access certain areas. Gary looked like a character out of Monty Python And The Holy Grail at one point.

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Yes, it was that green.

We were done by late afternoon, enough time to head back to the hotel, download and back up the work, then take a short walk up the street for dinner. I was thrilled to put “Bikkuri Donkey” on my expense report. Bikkuri Donkey is a bit like a TGIFriday’s, for lack of a better description. Our choices were limited though.

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Front of the house – Bikkuri Donkey

Back in the hotel, I climbed out on the balcony (literally – the window could crank open, but I had to step on the desk chair to get out there) to survey my view. Between the colors and the hotel across the way, it was like some Nagaizumi Noir.

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Sounded like it too…

(c ) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016