Return to Tokyo

“I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses … taking pictures of your feet.”

Charlotte, from movie Lost in Translation

I lived in Tokyo for ten years from 2001 to 2011. Shortly after the Dotcom crash, I moved there to pursue my first Japan-based design job. I raised a family there and lived in the suburbs. For me, this sprawling city actually feels small, with all the familiar places and faces. But not being Japanese myself, there’s also a strangeness in the culture and language that I know yet don’t completely understand. I speak the language but not perfectly, I know the customs but not as someone raised there. It’s as if I wasn’t connected to a part of my body. These photos chronicle my return to Tokyo during the pandemic in spring 2022. I walked the city with my camera and around every corner, I had familiar yet strange encounters.

2 thoughts on “Return to Tokyo

  1. Phil says:

    Nice collection and variety of subjects. Use of film is interesting, for me anyway. Dots, Nicknack House, and Arrow shadow are my three top pics, but others are also interesting. The graininess of the beer signs are like my own memories.

  2. Lance Shields says:

    Thanks for your kind words. Phil. I’m also attracted by the dots, nicknack house, and shadow shaped like an arrow. I guess that’s why I took it. It’s always hard for me to choose a favorite and even to know what photos are actually “good”. At the end of the day, it’s really just intuition, which of course changes over time. The ones I like after 3 months aren’t always the same ones when I first saw them.

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