The bar itself is interesting, as is the rather curious mix of customers, but a slightly sinister looking man in a trilby always takes some beating.
Food and Drink
This bar is incredibly photogenic, but as ever, it’s the people that make it truly interesting. And this man, with his wonderfully expressive face, is another lovely example.
For more photos of this bar and its fascinating array of regulars, my slowly growing series can be seen here.
In February of last year, I took this photo of a man enjoying a quiet sake or two just a few metres from the hustle and bustle of noisy Ueno. At the time, black and white seemed to work best. A look I’m still very happy with. But recently, when re-evaluating The Drinkers section of my portfolio, I decided to see how it looked in colour. Like similar experiments with a Shinto priest and a young woman feeding a pigeon in an alleyway, the results are interesting, if not always conclusive.
The Priest portrait I now prefer in colour. No doubt about it whatsoever. The woman in the alleyway depends on what mood I’m in when I see it. And with this one I can’t make my mind up at all. There’s an extra warmth to the colour image that I like. It makes the man seem more content. At the same time, however, the more ageless element of the photo is lost somewhat.
What is for certain is that I got very lucky with the shot. Shortly after taking it, those wonderfully grubby windows were scrubbed clean. And sadly, with the grime went a considerable amount of the bar’s character.
The sight of drunks staggering about or even passed out on the street is not exactly rare in Tokyo — especially so during the end and start of year party seasons. Somewhat surprisingly, the vast majority of them manage to get away with little more than occasional glances from passersby as well. But that said, at the stage when all motor functions have failed and back up help is called for, then those glances do tend to stretch into stares.