Shopping may well be a sort of semi-official national sport in Japan, but for one or two people at least, it still can’t beat the simple pleasure of a particularly good book.
Regardless of the glut of strange glances it may garner.
Despite Japan’s previous Prime Minister, Taro Aso, being a Catholic, the general consensus seems to be that Christians only make up around 1 percent of the population — a lowly figure that, over the Christmas period at least, a few of the few try to boost by the careful placement of some placards.
But that said, prompting people to reflect upon or even repent their apparent wrongdoings in Shinjuku, where carnal sins and consumerism could almost be classed as compulsory, would be no mean feat indeed.
A miracle even.
The combination of always carrying my mobile, and the considerable number of photography apps currently available, has meant that the iPhone has recently become a particularly pleasing plaything, allowing me to bag pictures I may otherwise have missed, or, alternatively, experiment more with those I might not have.
A versatility that can result in opportunities for surreptitious shots of ladies paying no attention to train manners by talking on the phone, with the time-honoured technique of marginally covering one’s mouth really not concealing any of the conversation.
And, on the slopes, when a bulky camera would have unbalanced my sadly still basic abilities, the iPhone is a semi-decent substitute of sorts.
Or, with a few app-based alterations, there is the option of some slightly different takes on well known districts.
Or less well known window displays.
Plus an amazingly bendy building.
Some youngsters happily sauntering home.
And the quaintest little train I have ever had the pleasure to come across.
A journey that was quite possibly filled with more laughter than the one below, as it involves a care worker walking with an old couple on what could well have been their last potter around the park.
When it comes to presents, a spectacularly unsuitable sweater or some sadly predictable socks may well be far from perfect, but it’s the thought, by all accounts, that counts.
Christmas decorations on the other hand, especially those that aren’t done very well or are downright depressing, could well be deemed as very different.
Tokyo Times is owned and run by me, Lee Chapman, a long-term resident of Tokyo who arrived in 1998 for ‘a year or two’, and, for a myriad of reasons, stayed put.
Japan means many things to many people, but Tokyo Times is how I see it. The places. The people. The day-to-day situations. All of it shot using a Leica, a Nikon and a selection of lenses.
My photographs have appeared in the Guardian and Japan Times, plus numerous magazines and books. Should you wish to use any, or simply ask a question, you can get in touch with me here.