American dreaming

The weary king of a used garment nation…

An older gentleman dozing in his van while a summer breeze animates an American flag and the late morning sun illuminates the multitude of second-hand clothing he had for sale at the Alemany Flea Market in San Francisco…

(Alemany Flea Market, San Francisco, California 2017. See my other work here and here.)

Tokyo laundromatters

“I’m down at the laundromat trying to get my washing done.” –The Pretenders

Part of my S&R Tokyo Series

When I travel to Tokyo I stay in an apartment building in Nakano 5-chome. There’s a small laundromat a five minute walk away that’s not only convenient for quickly doing several loads of wash, but is also on occasion a great place to photograph people. Behold…

He seemed like a college student to me, but my Japanese is bad so I didn’t ask…

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The big issue

Homelessness ain’t just an American thing…

Part of my S&R Tokyo Series

He was selling The Big Issue Japan on the south side of Nakano Station, so despite his immaculate appearance I knew the man was homeless. Only homeless persons are authorized to sell The Big Issue on Tokyo’s streets. It’s a legitimate way to earn money to mollify the effects of the predicament they’re in. My wife was with me and I described to her what the man was doing and why.

She immediately said “I hope he doesn’t have to be out here selling that paper for very long.”

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The blood-red Shimbashi dress: a photopoem

In Tokyo, the mama-san is smarter than you…

Part of my S&R Tokyo Series

I am the gorgeous dress

of your beauty,

and I have loved you for a very long time.

You are nothing to me

if not

the reflection in which I see myself

and the glitter of my age

that has sparkled in

all the ice cubes

in all the drinks I ever poured in Tokyo’s slush-fund winters.

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Golden Guys

“Where streams of whiskey are flowing…” –The Pogues

Part six of my S&R Tokyo Series

One November day in Tokyo my wife and I were walking through the normally quiet and deserted midday streets of Golden Gai in Shinjuku. Suddenly I heard voices singing loudly to a very mainstream-sounding J-pop song. I followed the raucous sounds to a little dive which, unlike the other dives around it, had its front door wide open. Inside a bartender and three customers were joyously boozing it up and singing like contestants trying out for a television talent show.

And so, after calling my wife over to have a look we unexpectedly found ourselves sitting in a teeny Golden Gai bar ordering drinks at 12:30 in the afternoon.

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