The photograph below was taken just shy of 7 years ago — a day when 130,000 spectators squeezed into Tokyo Racecourse for the Japan Derby. Not that long ago really, and yet in the current climate it almost looks like another world. All those people, hardly any masks, and, pandemic comparisons aside, an almost complete absence of smartphones.
2014, it turns out, wasn’t half bad, and perhaps appropriately, the winner that year was One and Only.
Such great expressions! I’m so ready to go back to normal life but all those people together is kinda frightening.
Cheers! I can imagine. In Japan we haven’t had the same kind of restrictions seen in many countries, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable in a setting like this.
Wow! This needs to be blown waaay up, printed, and framed somewhere for many to see. There is something comical, yet relaxing about this picture. Your work is definitely amazing Lee 😊
Thanks ever so much. That’s very kind of you indeed.
There’s definitely a lot of fun in this frame, and it really would be lovely to see it printed large. Zooming into smaller faces in the full-sized version is really interesting, so it would be great to do that with the rest of the photo still visible.
It’s sad how crowd scenes in films and historical news reports and documentaries make me cringe.
I’ve just seen quite a long piece on skynews interviewing a tokyo times journalist about the covid situation there and the increasing opposition to holding the olympics.
Anyway, on a positive note that lovely copper-haired lady seems to be pleased and approving that you were taking a photo of her daughter 🙂
Yes, or she was simply very content knowing she had just won a small fortune!
I know eh? Even seeing non-masked close interactions and hand shaking can sometimes feel quite jarring.
Not that I go round asking random people about the Olympics, but everyone I’ve spoken to has been opposed to it — several of whom you’d expect to toe the party line as it were.
Just recently there has also been a truly scathing double spread newspaper ad, and a hospital near me put a sign up condemning the decision to go on with the games. The average man on the street it could be argued doesn’t know the full story, but when a Japanese medical institution is openly protesting, then you know something isn’t right.
The sad thing is, up until the latest wave Japan has done remarkably well with relatively minimal restrictions. But all that is in very real danger of being undone. Partly due to historical reasons, the government was very cautious about green lighting the vaccine, so extra tests were conducted. Probably a good decision in the long run as it should mean more people will happy to get a shot. But instead of using that delay to get everything in place to rapidly roll out the vaccine once it was accepted, it seems absolutely nothing was done, resulting in an absolutely minuscule percentage of the population currently vaccinated. Bad whichever way you look at it, but especially so if the country is soon to a host a massive international event…
What a heart warming photo!
There are no obvious giveaways for location and time, but certainly a time when ‘normal’ was more understood rather than questioned.
Different days for sure.
But where is the photographer in such a prime location, and facing the wrong way too? I am imagining a modified pantomime horse, as surreal as the crowd is.
They really were eh? Without realising it we were all taking an awful lot for granted.
Seeing my pick for the big race drop back like the rest of the bets I’d made, it made sense to at least try and salvage something from the day. And to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t have done any worse if I’d actually backed pantomime horses!
What a great photo! Even without the pandemic the lack of smart phones is striking. With the pandemic it goes to show how much our world has changed. Here in the USA many/most people are very eager to ‘get back to normal.’ I am far more ambivalent, however, about doing this. With so many variants out there I think things are not as ‘safe’ as even the experts would like us to believe. What is happening in the UK right now could be a harbinger of how things could evolve in other countries that have vaccinated a large percentage of their populace. Seems to me that is is ‘better to be safe than sorry.’
Cheers! Yeah, it didn’t dawn on me at first. I was too transfixed by all those unmasked faces. But the lack of phones is quite something. Really quite nice to be honest.
Definitely the best approach I think. No harm at all in being cautious. I know masks aren’t ideal, but the rush to discard them seems rather hasty. Not like wearing one is that big of a deal. The lessons of rushing into relaxing measures too soon really don’t seem to have been learnt…