On the whole, I’ve always found bars more interesting to shoot in than restaurants. In most cases it tends to be quite a bit easier too. There’s the atmosphere for starters, plus the simple act of spending longer in a place makes it possible to feel fully at home. Being a very visible foreigner, and a far from common type of customer, it gives everyone else the chance to get similarly comfortable as well, meaning there’s generally little or no concern when the camera does eventually come out. Staying for an extended period of time also offers more in the way of conversation, and the opportunity, on some occasions, to hear about the sometimes very long lives of those behind the bar.
Of course none of that means old school restaurants don’t have any charm, because they most certainly do — they are just a bit harder for me to photograph in that’s all. Now and again though I do manage to get a few shots away, and below is a selection of those efforts from over the years. Several of them have appeared on Tokyo Times before, but these are re-edits, and location-wise they are a mix of Tokyo and beyond. I should also add that some of them are long gone, but thankfully a good few are still serving up the same delicious food with no changes to the dishes or decor whatsoever.