Public shows of affection between friends or lovers are relative rarities on the streets of Tokyo, with not much to be seen beyond the holding of hands. In fact even that isn’t so common, which made the scene below all the more special. A bar owner having a chat with one of his customers and then saying goodbye with a warm and clearly heartfelt hug.
A lovely moment played out on a little street that seems to be full of stories, with another I photographed in the same location living long in the memory, so it feels well worth revisiting again.
On a photowalk tour last year, a customer and I were taking pictures of the street, its signs and also a bicycle that unbeknownst to us belongs to the man in the last but one photo. And as he’d turned up early to set up for the evening, he invited us in for a quick look around, as well as treating us to a couple of songs. One a traditional enka number, and the other a far more familiar Hank Williams track.
Having lived overseas for a long time with his foreign partner, he had returned to Japan where they made a home for themselves in a more rural area. Cancer, however, cut his soulmate’s life short, so he took the bold move of selling up and opening his own bar. A place where he has the chance to sing, be himself, and in words of his that also sound like the lyrics from a Hank Williams song, “not feel so lonesome.”