With trains regularly rattling by behind us, and lots of people walking past, this ramshackle old alleyway was definitely an unusual place to drink. In fact, its unique characteristics made it feel like the absolutely best place to drink — no two ways about it. A spot so special that the photos really don’t do it justice, so I’ve also included a bit of audio to try and better recreate the atmosphere.
Ron Ouwerkerk says
If it was raining, I would claim that you stole this scene out of Blade Runner! Life imitates art? Or art imitates life? Awesome photo!
Thank you! Yeah, a bit of rain would have really added to that look. Will be back when the situation is safer, so might get those shots then.
Hard to say, but a bit of both perhaps?
Only in Tokyo….and maybe a few other big cities in Japan!
Yeah, not too many places like this, which made it all the more special.
I’m getting strong Blade Runner vibes. I really like these!
Cheers. Yeah, I’m with you on that. Such a good place. It exceeded my expectations and then some.
This is very cool I can guess it was a great experience drinking there. I can’t believe how close the train sounds……..
It was. Without a doubt an incredible location. And yes, the trains were both close and loud!
Such evocative photographs which, with the brilliant addition of sound, bring the scene so close it almost hurts not to be able to step out and walk there.
There is something appealing about the sound of passing trains, and the sounds the level crossings make. I used to stay in a place that overlooked the Piccadilly line near Barons Court where it is above ground. The trains stopped at midnight, but then the work crews and “secret” trains began, so it was never quiet, but I somehow never felt is was an unpleasant sound and never lost any sleep – even in summer with the window wide open.
Thank you. Good to hear the addition of audio adds to the photos. Hard to do this place real justice, but this is as near as I can get.
I’m with you on that. We live very near to a train line, and being a light sleeper, I was worried it could be a problem, but it never has been. On the contrary really, as like you said, there’s something quite appealing about the sound.
Nani Hoaloha says
I believe the Blade Runner scene was modeled after an alley in Sukhumvit Thailand
It’s interesting that despite all the associations/connections to Japan, a key visual influence was from Thailand.
Once an Expat says
Damn, wonder if these ramshackle places sprung up from the ashes of WW2 and never went away? As to the first photo, have a hunch my walk in closet is bigger that the stand up eatery.
That’s a very good point. You’d have to think so, wouldn’t you? It definitely has the look and feel of a place that has naturally evolved, rather than being purposely built.
Both photos are from the same bar, but following a similar theme to the alleyway itself, it’s a real mishmash of different tables, areas and serving spots. There’s even a tiny seating bit just past where the fella in the first photo is stood. That’s also where the solitary toilet is…
Stunning pictures. I really like the top one with the incandescent light and its colors. What are those two lines of wooden blocks at the top? Nafudas? What are they for? The poster of the girl on the right reminds me of the one in Midnight Diner, Season 1, Episode 2. Is she a Karaoke Singer as well? I’ve been admiring your work for almost ten years now and it’s getting better all the time. You are a master of narrative photography.
Thank you. That’s really nice to hear and very kind of you.
Those blocks are the menu. Or part of the menu anyway. Each one has the name of a dish written on it. Lots of little places also use paper instead. But basically once the item has sold out, the block or paper is turned over. A simple but very efficient system.
The poster is of the actor Igawa haruka. She’s currently appearing in an NHK drama, as well as doing ads for booze!
As per usual, superb photography; thank you.
(even if I do find the sight and sound of a television in such an environment grating; shrug)
All good things happen on (and underneath) the Nambu Line 🙂
Thank you, and you are very welcome. Photographing places like this is an absolute pleasure.
I know what you mean about TVs. Luckily these ones were small, and as a little extra bonus rather haphazardly stuck in place. But yeah, none whatsoever would have been better.
Not had too much joy along there, but this more than made up for that!
Bernadette Loftus says
Although we have become so used to the ubiquity of face masks, I would say that, in any other time period, those masks would contribute to the dystopian feel. Especially, when you know the purpose of the masks. I live in Florida. I definitely feel like we’re living in dystopian times.
Yeah, that’s a very good point. They were never especially unusual here before all this, but now they are simply the new standard.
We’ve been lucky enough to be spared the worst (up to now anyway), but I’ve seen and read about how bad it has been in Florida. I hope you and your loved ones are doing ok. With a competent, caring leader now at the helm, a much quicker roll out of vaccines will hopefully start to make things better.
I really like the auditory element you added your post. Consider doing it again. I’ve been to some photo galleries that would have environmental soundtracks, and done properly they can heighten the experience. Since I won’t be going to any galleries for the time being, it’s nice to see this additional dimension here.
Cheers. Personally I was happy with how it worked with the photos, so it’s good to know it wasn’t just me.
Not something I usually think of to be honest. In fact I didn’t here either, but a mate who I was drinking with took a video, and when editing the photos I wondered how the audio from that would work with the photos. Of course in a lot of situations the addition of sound wouldn’t add anything extra, but knowing now how easy it is to do, it’s something I’ll definitely think about when the moment warrants it.
I loved places like this in Tokyo. Which station was this?
This is perfect! Please do more of these!
Cheers! I’d love to, and will do when the chance arises, but drinking places as special as this are not the easiest to find.
Ian H says
Someone remarked above on the beautiful girl in the poster. For me, the pairing of the two faces makes that shot. He can’t see her, but it’s as if he’s looking wistfully at her and the ethereal beauty, youth, and happiness she represents. In contrast, there he is resigned to his lot on the wrong side of the tracks and of 60. ‘Hey Master, set me up.’ PS: just spent 5 enjoyable mins watching the Suntory booze ads with Haruka Igawa and the customer who has a crush on her. Adds another, perhaps intended?, dimension to your great photo.
Thank you very much, that’s really good to hear. I intentionally made sure both faces were in the frame. I liked the contrast, and that she was looking at the camera in a way. But that was it. So hearing your take on the photo is wonderful. One of the many magical things about photography — the fact that different people can see different things. And you got to enjoy those ads. Even better!