To see a world in the grip of a cell phone

With everything that phones now offer, especially those of the smarter variety, it’s increasingly difficult not to constantly check, let alone use them; the likes of the internet and social media offering a whole other world to immerse oneself in — a call that countless millions, myself included, simply can’t resist.

And yet despite the incredibly common sight of seeing someone miles away on their mobile, this man’s obvious concentration, and his complete and utter obliviousness to the world going on around him, is absolutely fascinating. Although clearly nowhere near as fascinating as whatever it is that’s on his phone.

Tokyo phone user

A kimono-clad commute

A good few years ago, this kimono-clad old lady would have simply blended into the crowd; her clothing and age making her just like many other people. Now, however, on a platform surrounded by less traditionally dressed travellers, she not only stands out, but somehow looks completely lost. Or, at the very least, lost in time.

Japanese woman in a kimono

A little glamour in a less than glamorous alley

Tokyo has no shortage at all of glitzy shopping centres; busy and bustling emporiums where big brands and carefully crafted elegance are commonplace. But actually, far more common are those of a less refined nature — regularly even verging on the ramshackle. Places where plenty of people still shop. Particularly for food and the like. And where those who perhaps don’t still have to pass on their way to and from those aforementioned areas.

Tokyo alley

If only every day was like Sunday

Not long after the post-earthquake blackouts started playing havoc with Tokyo’s transportation system and businesses, there was some brief talk of a shift in working practices as well as attitude. Gone would be the likes of unnecessary overtime, plus, perhaps more realistically, the system of set holidays which sees the whole nation supposedly relax by congregating en masse on a myriad of motorways. And instead, sensible working hours along with staggered time off would see people working less, but at the same time, more efficiently. A move that as well as increasing workers quality of life, would also conserve electricity.

Not much more than a month later, however, such moves seem moot. The postponement of power cuts, and the gradual return of something not far from normal, appear to have quickly put paid to any possible changes.

Changes that could have improved peoples lives in so many ways; even at the very simple level of sights like this on a weekday rather than exclusively at the weekend. Something that would almost certainly make the fella in the photograph happy, along with anybody fortunate enough to see him.

Tokyo on a sunday

Ueno character(s)

They definitely don’t have the same fame and following as those in Shibuya and Harajuku, but Ueno’s old-fashioned shops do have more character. And without a doubt more characters.

Like this old fella for example. A man who may well have had to hire somebody younger to help out, but it’s still hard to see him ever leaving — at least while he has the legs for it.

Ueno old man

A way of life which undoubtedly works for him, and in many ways, Ueno as well.

Ueno old man