Tokyo is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself, which is something I’ve been trying to document of late in relation to the capital’s disappearing old bars and businesses. But those kinds of changes are nothing when you start going back further in time. Like way back to the1600s for example, when the area below was home to a 100-man gun squad — which given its current guise, feels more akin to fantasy than historical fact.
With 2020 almost done and dusted, it’s time once again to choose my favourite photographs from the last 12 months.
In Tokyo, we’ve somehow been spared the devastation experienced in so many other cities, but with Covid-19 numbers once again on the rise, and Japan lagging behind in regards vaccine approval, we certainly aren’t out of the woods just yet.
Yet despite infection rates being relatively low, daily life here is still different, and just like so many other people, I‘ve personally been hit hard by the pandemic. After enjoying continued success with my Tokyo Photowalks business in the first 3 months of the year, everything came to a jarring, completely unavoidable halt in April when travel stopped and Japan’s borders essentially closed. A setback that all being well will start to slowly ease once vaccinations reach the wider public, and international travel very tentatively returns to something approaching what was once deemed normal.
A testing period that has again been tempered by the simple joy of being out and about with a camera. Long walks and occasional drives have, as ever, allowed me to enjoy a wide variety of experiences, and also embark on a new project of sorts — documenting the end of Tokyo’s rapidly disappearing old bars and businesses. The first one I put together is included in the selection below, but perhaps the most touching up to now has been the death of a lovely old bar owner in the far west of the city. The full story and photos from that can be seen here.
In conjunction with a friend who has the necessary skills and experience, I also have a selection of prints ready to sell, but I’m currently waiting until Japan Post’s overseas service returns to its fully functional best before opening my little online shop. In the meantime, earlier in the year I rather apprehensively set up one of those buy-me-a-coffee pages, so if you think this site is worth the occasional ‘drink’, or even a recurring monthly one, then the option to safely and securely pay for a hot beverage, or better still a beer, is here: https://ko-fi.com/tokyotimes
Anyway, with those awkward plugs now out of the way, here, at last, are the aforementioned photos. These are the images I like the most, or in some cases, the ones that simply mean the most — each with a link to the original post below. A set that wraps up Tokyo Times for the year, so until January 4th, when normal updates will resume, take care of yourselves, and all the very best for what will hopefully be a much better 2021!
After a horribly long year, and quite possibly a stressful morning, it’s totally understandable that this Tokyo salaryman wanted to do little more than lie down and bathe in the (very) late autumn sun during his lunch break. A time to relax, and considering the length of time he was actually lying there, perhaps also a time to fantasise about never, ever returning to the office.