Around Da Block 2

March 19th, 2013By Category: Photography

Around Da Block

On my way home a lady with glasses on a bike shouts out “Good morning and Happy New Year”. I look back and say Happy New Year back.

She stops her bike next to me. I look and it is a lady I see sometimes whizzing past on her bike that normally smiles at me.

She says to me, “your wife is really pretty, she looks like a model! Tell her I said that”.

Ok so now my brain is spinning in confusion. Dafuq??? Lol I have never spoke with this woman before, dont even remember her whizzing past when I was with my gf, so kinda caught me off guard. I recomposed and just smiled and said thanks..

Had the Yaschia with me and she asked me if I was a photographer that shoots advertising. I laughed and said no, just a hobby type thing. She asked if I took photos at matsuris (japanese festivals). I said I hadn’t been to one for a while, and then she begins telling me about all the different matsuris around Tokyo for the next 5 mins.

I laughed and asked wtf, how do you know so much about them, she was like she loves going to them and has participated in a few carrying the mikoshi (that shrine thing lots of people carry on their shoulders) thing etc. She then tells me one of her parents are from Aomori and the other from Kyuusyuu (completely different ends of Japan) and that she goes to matsuris in both places, but that Hiroshima (where her hubby is from) the maturis arent that great.

I tell her im from the UK and obviously she does the whole Japanese thing saying about how UK food sucks and I just laugh it off. Like seriously are Japanese people given some sort of special training on what to do when they meet a foreigner?

If from the UK say one of the following phrases:

“UK food tastes bad!”
“David Beckham!”
“Do you like the beetles?”

She asks me what I do for work I tell her programmer, and she says she is a helper in an old peoples home and points to the big building near my house.


She starts walking towards it talking and I kinda just intuitively follow her listening and she begins to tell me her thoughts on old peoples home and Japan.

She says she feels Japanese people arent too good to their parents, that they are pretty much super quick to just dump them into a old people home because its convenient or because they are “too busy with work”.

We stood behind the old peoples building and I said its kinda sad that there is no garden, and she said thats how it is in Japan, they kinda just keep the old people locked up inside and dont give them much freedom. Seems like in Japan old people become senile a lot more quickly than other places so they are kept on some maximum security type shit.

She kinda went deeper and said how she feels the war has affected soceity and spoke about how people pretend to not see stuff, and dont help each other. Also how people kinda just pretend to be satisfied when in reality they are not.

I asked her how long she had been a helper and she said that she has had her helper license for 13 years but only got a job 2 weeks ago because was a house wive…

I asked her if he mum was in the old people home and she laughed saying she would never put her in there. That put a smile on my face 🙂


She asked how should she pose, saying she hates doing peace signs. I laughed because I damn hate that corny shit too. She said, “Ok lets try Usain bolt”. Then after that said asked me “What do they do in the UK?”, and she did a soldiers pose.

Lastly I asked her if I could just take a normal picture of her.

She was actually initially worried that she wasnt dressed up or anything and had no makeup on but I told her its fine that I liked the way she looks. And I am actually kicking myself for having shit for brains and constantly leaving the house without my name cards or phone lol. I would actually love to sit down with her and shoot her with my large format camera.

I guess it was fate that made me bump into her, just gotta hope I get lucky and bump into her again sooner rather than later.

Author of this article

Ade Ogunsanya

Taking portraits of strangers is becoming quite popular among photographers nowadays. I find that I normally see two types; 1) Complete focus on fashion with not much of a focus on technical photography 2) Technically sounds pictures that focus on repetition (taking the exact same headshot over and over again etc). What I strive for is a happy balance that incorporates a mix of good photography using composition and color theory and some elements of fashion.

For me it is more than just just collecting photos. The encounter and interaction is equally as important. The chance to meet new people and put a smile on people's faces is priceless.

If you see me around Tokyo with a big film camera on my neck come say hi and I will take your picture.

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  • Yeah, pretty unfortunate that I have not bumped into her yet since then 🙁 fingers crossed >_<

  • leslie nguyen says:

    Haha to the read. Hopefully you do run into her again. I am also not a fan of the peace signs either. It’s interesting because I have not met a Japanese female who is not worried about what she is wearing or makeup to be exact.


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