For the four years I lived in Tokyo (1988-1992), my blood put me on the fine line between being a gaijin (outsider) and an insider. At one moment, I wanted to float on the dream of oriental mystery; in another, I wanted to step into the steamy sento without calling attention to myself. My life in Tokyo was a search for balance.
I took long, ambling walks, my Nikon F3 in hand. I rarely found the exotic or zen simplicity. Instead, I found the drama of the mundane. (Meanwhile the foreign press was covering the Diet, the Recruit scandal, the negotiations with Russia over the fate of the Sakhalin Islands…) The streets became a stage; the urban landscape, a set. Pedestrians were actors. Waiting at a traffic signal, loitering in a park, climbing a staircase, eating a McDonalds teriyaki burger were all forms of improvisation. I met food vendors, homeless people, buskers, and radicals. But more often shoppers, salarimen, and students.
The more I saw, the less the landscape seemed a contradiction. Tokyo was evolving. Western fashion, architecture, and advertising grew like ivy, snaking around the roots of native customs and rituals. In the maze of the city, I wandered and wondered, waited and composed. I made photographs which I believe capture a Tokyo finding an equilibrium.
I visited the Harajuku Hokoten near Yoyogi Park many Sundays to capture the street musicians and their teen fans.
The Tokyo—Inside&Out series are toned vintage silver gelatin prints, about 8x12" images, printed on 11x14" paper.