The World at my Feet

Following the workshop I did for kids last week, a bunch of us took to the streets on the same theme.

My wife has this strange obsession…. it’s useful one though; looking for money on the pavement. Once she finds some, even if it’s a single Ten Yen coin, she can’t stop looking down at the floor. The effect is kind of the same once you start looking at the ground for interesting photographic subject-matter. A few minutes of doing it and you’re hooked. You soon realise that there is a whole world at your feet;a world of interesting colours, textures and paraphenalia that normally you’d just walk past or over and ignore.

It doesn’t really matter where you go to do tackle this theme as there is interesting stuff to find and photograph within a few metres of your house. But, it’s always nice to explore new areas so I took people yesterday to an area I first found and explored a year or so ago, with Aya – a photographer friend of mine here in Tokyo.

We started yesterday’s walk at the north exit of Nippori station and headed – as a proper photographic start-point – for the railway level-crossing up near Miwakishima station. From there we basically plied the streets of the neighbourhoods down towards Uiguisudani. It’s a curious, mixed neighbourhood even by Tokyo standards. There is no zoning in Japan, the kind that splits residential from industrial in a lot of other countries so you often get very mixed usage neighbourhoods. The streets we explored yesterday were even more mixed than usual and quite run-down in feel. Low-rent housing, rooming-houses all mixed in with light industry, run-down shops and dilapidated residential properties.

Along the way we also found what for me was a first in Japan; a vending machine that sold beer, sake and whisky and into which you inserted your driving licence as proof of age. Kind of ironic, really…. remember your licence for the machine, but remember not to drink and drive :-)

People who came on the walk are still in the process of submitting their images but here are a few we’ve already had sent in from Tony Cannon:

Six of Paul Church’s images are here:


Here’s one from Justin Choulochas’ Flickr pages:

The world at my feet | Tokyo, Japan


…and here are some of mine:


All in all a great day out, some great images made and four people switched on, now, to the wonders of the world at their feet.

Thanks to Mia, Justin, Tony and Paul for coming on the walk and joining me in looking a little daft to the passing locals, as we all stared and pointed our cameras at the ground.

About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

We also welcome submissions of photos and articles for this site, so please get in touch via our contact page. Thanks. © 2015 All Rights Reserved

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