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Magic Mountains

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Tweet Explaining the Shugendo religion would be a job for a book, not a blog post. But let’s just say it’s a colourful mix of Buddhism, Japan’s ancient Shinto religion, and even more ancient native animism. Shugendo’s adherents are known as Yamabushi – men (and a few women) who undertake arduous ascetic training in the […]


Stars in his eyes

Takayuki Ohira, creator of the Megastar planetarium

Tweet I’ve done a few fun interview portraits recently. This one was of planetarium designer Takayuki Ohira. He started off making papercraft projectors in his bedroom and eventually came up with a professional-grade device that could show orders of magnitude more stars than any other. He’s quite the nutty professor, and a household name in […]


Taking to the streets

Protestors at an anti-nuclear demonstration near the Japanese Diet.

Tweet It took me quite a few years of working as a photographer to get round to a proper project, but In 2012 I started not one but two. This is the second. (The first is here). Hard to believe now with the pro-nuclear LDP just voted back in, but last Spring and Summer there […]


Night and Day (More Parkour)

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Tweet Oh dear, I’ve been badly neglecting this blog recently. Apologies. As a first installment in a substantial backlog, here are a few more photos from my Tokyo Parkour project. (Must get that going again).  They come from two shoots: one in Shinjuku after dark and the other in Shibuya in the early morning. I […]


Yo-yo performer BLACK

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Tweet These portraits were for another inflight magazine story, an interview with yo-yo performer BLACK. BLACK can tell his own story far better than I can, so check out his TEDxTokyo talk below. You’ll understand when you watch the video, but it’s always a privilege to interview someone with a dream and the passion to […]


Cabaret time

Les Oiseaux Noirs Cabaret

Tweet I was in Roppongi recently taking photos of cabaret (and I don’t mean a cabaret club). The main reason I was there was to shoot one of the performers, yo-yo artist BLACK (blog post to come). But I got some of his co-stars too: Lu Nagata, Kiyoshi Ibukuro, Juan and Agatha, Philippe Aymard, Paul […]


Returning to the path

Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage

Tweet Rather a personal shoot for me this one. About ten years ago, after my first stint in Japan, I was thinking hard about what do with my life. I decided to walk the famous Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage – all 1400km. I suppose it worked because after I got home to the UK I […]


Brass monkey time

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Tweet Probably the coldest shoot I’ve ever done. And that includes going to photograph the Arctic ice-flow in Northern Hokkaido. The story was on wakame seaweed in Shikoku. One February morning I was up before dawn to head out onto the frigid inland sea in tiny flat-bottomed boat. I wore just about every item of […]


A day at the seaside

Freediver Ai Futaki

Tweet When I was asked to photograph freediver Ai Futaki, my first thought was ’where do I get an underwater housing?’. Turned out that wasn’t necessary though. Futaki already has a brilliant collaborator in Aaron Wong and the inflight magazine that commissioned me wisely decided to use his underwater photos. (He has some great shots […]


Tokyo playground

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Tweet This was a fantastic commmision. How much more photogenic can you get than people doing acrobatics in the middle of the city? The principle behind Parkour (AKA freerunning) is pretty simple – the quickest, most natural way from moving from A to B. There are a couple of Parkour groups in Tokyo, but it’s […]


Give it some stick

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Tweet My first shot at photos of kendo, at the All Japan Kendo Championship last December. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan ran them in their January issue. I did Kendo for a few years when I first came to Japan, so this shoot brought back a few memories. As usual, the annual event was […]


Pray for Japan

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Tweet Each January crowds of people visit Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo for “hatsumode” - first prayers of the year. I took these portraits right in front of the main shrine. Some people bent their heads for seconds, some for minutes. I was hard not to imagine what people were praying for. Perhaps for a better year in […]


Brrrrr

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Tweet Here’s one way to cool down a little during the Tokyo summer . . . Back in 2008 I took part in a press tour to the Shiretoko peninsula way up on the northeast tip of Hokkaido. It was a fantastic trip, including a visit out to the ice-flows on an ice-breaker. Sadly, global […]


Tsukiji portraits

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Tweet Not only is Tsukiji fish market one of best places in Tokyo to visit, its one of the most photogenic too. A few years ago I did a small project photographing people who work in the market. I have around 100 impromptu portraits. Usually, I just approached people explained what I was doing, asked […]


Sento painter

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Tweet Sento bathhouse painter Toshimitsu Hayakawa was one of the most remarkable people I’ve photographed. Sadly, he passed away in 2009, only a couple of years after I took these photographs. One of the two last sento bathhouse painters in Tokyo, he was in his seventies and still working. He was a modest and kind […]


Children’s Day in Ishinomaki

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Tweet This is the last of the sets of photos I took up in tsumnami-devastated Ishinomaki over Golden Week. The morning of 5 May I drove from Sendai to Ishinomaki with rakugo artist Dianne Orrett and a couple of her Chindon’ya friends. We spent the day together as they performed at the Ishinomaki Mangattan and […]


Wasabi wonder

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Tweet Some photos from a little while ago that I’ve finally got round to posting (that happens a lot!) This is the owner of Marutou wasabi farm. If you are ever near the tip of the Izu peninsula, pay him a visit. He lives in one of the most beautiful Japanese villages I’ve ever seen. […]


Tokyo Sinfonia in Tohoku

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Tweet This is another story from Golden week. I travelled up to the disaster zone with the Tokyo Sinfonia who played several concerts in the refugee centers. This was another privileged experience. Two months after the quake, the authorities were reluctant to let anyone into the centers – least of all photographers. But it was […]


Ishinomaki during Golden Week

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Tweet These photos were taken just under two months after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. I was up in Ishinomaki during the Golden Week holidays to do a story for the magazine on a story for the magazine I edit. To be honest, I had my doubts about whether I should post these, or […]


Chiba surfing

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Tweet Surf’s up. Recently had  chance to visit a surfing “Mecca” in Chiba with my brother-in-law. Beats Sunday morning pushing a trolley around Itoyokado. Time to invest in one of these? (Tokyo Photojournalist on Facebook)    


One week later

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Tweet Even at a time like this, people need music. Perhaps, at a time like this,  they need it more than ever. On Tuesday I received this email from Robert Ryker, Music Director of the Tokyo Sinfonia. It was about a concert that some time ago we’d arranged I’d photograph – I was surprised to […]


Tokyo marathon 2011

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Tweet I took about two hundred portraits of runners at the Tokyo Marathon last Sunday, 100 at the start and 100 at the finish – all with my trusty nifty-fifty. I had a press pass courtesy of EURObiZ Japan. They’ll be a photo story in the magazine soon. I wanted to show the excitement of […]


Sado jizo shrine

Nashinoki jizo shrine, Sado island, Niigata pref, Japan, April 5, 2009.

Tweet These photos are from a trip to the island of Sado in 2009, when I spent a couple of days driving around looking for places and people to feature in the travel story I was writing. I found this shrine a short drive up into the hills. It is named “Nashinoki Jizo” after the […]