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.”
So lovely! Thank you sharing this it made my day! 🙂
You are welcome, and very glad to hear it. These moments made mine too.
A beautiful moment captured and presented flawlessly.
Thank you very much, It was lovely to be there at that moment.
The photos underscore the poignancy of the story beautifully. Heartwarming to learn that he is rebuilding his life. Thanks!
Thanks a lot. Yeah, it was lovely to chat and see him content and enjoying what he does.
I hope that he has given you hope about your own life.
Thanks a lot, Richard. Yes, it has. What happened will always be with me, and some days are really hard, but there is also a whole world out there to live my new life in.
I am so pleased to hear that you see ‘a whole world out there to live your new life in.’ You can treasure the memories of and miss your wife and also engage with the world once again. Your photos are an example of that. I bet she would be pleased that you are doing these things.
Thanks ever so much. That’s very kind. And yes, she really would. Exactly what she told me to do.
Lovely images and words. Hugs are not something one associates as much with Japanese folks as, say, Americans. But, funnily, enough I’ve received quite a few of them — from Japanese friends as well as people who I became friendly after sharing some time at a bar/izakaya! 😀
Thanks a lot.
Haha, yes, bars and izakaya are a separate world altogether. Much friendlier than the world outside them!
Yeah, thankfully such reticence is not the case with everyone. Just so much societal pressure in public, otherwise it might be quite different.
I can imagine folks leaving the area swiftly as it was starting to look huggly.
Haha, yes, such goodbyes certainly aren’t for everyone!
Indeed not – a woman I barely knew made a lunge to hug me many years ago and my unfortunate reflex was to take a large step back. Suprised she fell (safely if not gracefully) infront of me. We both learned something that day. I’ve grown more appreciative of friendly hugs in my old age – and besides, lack the agility to avoid any unexpected ones 🙂