Around Da Block 3

March 26th, 2013By Category: Photography


Da block I live on is kinda interesting. I remember going outside of my house a few times and seeing a few ladies running. I watched for a while and they were actually running laps around the building for exercise.

I also noticed that there is an old guy with a walking stick doing the same thing sometimes.

A few days ago I took the elevator down to the ground floor and saw him. I looked back and said good morning to him, he paused, looked at me for about 5 seconds then said good morning back. The delayed reaction kinda made me giggle to myself. I wasnt sure if he was scared or just shocked to see a foreign dude saying hello to him in Japanese.

This morning I decided to go outside and try to find food when I spotted him walking 2 floors below me. He was headed towards the far right. Each floor in my building has 2 elevators at the far end of the hallway, and a staircase in the middle.

I went down two flight of stairs to the floor that I saw him walking on and coincidentally he was standing there stopped by the entrance of the staircase for some reason. I said hello to him again, but this time he replied promptly in English, “Good Morning!”. This time it was me who had the surprised face. He had a really beautiful English accent.

He then threw another curve ball at me and asked me if I could help him. You see, he normally uses the railing as support to walk, but the middle of the hallways where the staircase is has no railing so he has to pretty much walk without support.

I said, “Sure” and he replied, “Give me your hand”. I gave him my hand and helped him walk through the valley of no railings. It was pretty scary, if i had gone too fast or too slow I could have end up hurting him.


We made it and he thanked me, I told him he had a beautiful English accent, and he modestly said “No no, I learnt English 40 years ago, and now I have forgot it all. You see, I used to be an architect and through work I had to go on business trips to places like America and UK.”

Since I am learning to draw hearing him saying he is an architect got me kinda hyped, those dudes be doing some 1mm accurate drawings and shit for interiors and stuff.

He said that he also speak a bit of Spanish because he went to Spain, and started speaking to me in Spanish. I was like cool you speak a lot of languages, and he kinda just kept going on in Spanish. The only word I was able to make out was the word Venezuela. I asked if he had been there and he also replied in Spanish….

It was starting to get a bit ridiculous so I was like, “Umm, I dont actually understand Spanish…” then he started to speak English again. I laughed and said he traveled the world, and he said no, it was only for business not a holiday and how he had been to Nigeria Lagos and a few other spots in Africa.

I mentioned I had seen him walking quite a few times and he said “I am doing rehabilitation. I have some brain problems that causing my body some troubles.” And also mentioned that because of that he hasnt been able to work (pretty sure he is old enough to be retired).

I looked down and saw some sort of pin in his foot. I didnt wanna go prying too much so I didnt ask anything about his illness. He told me his rehab consists of doing about 8 laps around his floor everyday and it took him about 1 hour ( i did a lap and timed myself walking at normal speed it took me 2mins 30secs to do a lap).

I asked him what he normally does for food and he said that he eats indoors, I asked him if he would be interested in going like Jonathans or something to grab a bite sometime and he apologized saying he would like to but he isnt too confident about being able to go that far (ldo).

We spoke a little more and he said he had to finish up his exercise so maybe we can talk again next time. I thanked him and wished him good luck.

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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  • leslie nguyen says:

    I enjoyed reading this experience, thanks ~ The joy of meeting new people randomly…

  • Aki (Martina) says:

    its a great story, i think ther is nothing better in helping and making friends with people i hope that you 2 will make it one day to out to eat, but maybe you can cook for him..than he does not have to go tofar…aim, ahppy to read that there are still people out there they sre not doing things for other people without expecting anything back just kindness…i wish you a great day and a good time Namaste ( i wish i could be in Japan too i love this country so much diversety)


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