01. Our arrival in Yokohama signalled the start of a 9 day adventure that will leave a lifelong memory of fun and good times.
Here is my photo essay from our trip with Fujifilm to Yokohama for the CP+ Show Japan 2015. It didn’t take long for the culture of work hard and play hard to really kick in. Japan is a land of contrasts. The bit’s I saw were mainly made of concrete or tarmac and exhibited a distinct lack of colour. It is not common to see painted buildings or walls. This was well and truly made up for with the rich use of colour in graphics and signage and I used signage as the key to my visual record. Enjoy
02. Top left, Mt Fuji from our breakfast table on the 70th floor. All other shots were taken from my hotel room window on the 56th floor. A view like this is exciting as the light is always changing.
03. The Fujifilm stand was really impressive with many zones. There was a constant demand to try out the X system with queue times hovering between 30 and 40 minutes. I was given a new name that does seem to have stuck.
04. The Canon stand was super impressive with it’s seemingly 8k projector. The picture on the screen in this shot shows the Tokyo tower. A defunct piece of broadcasting architecture that now lives on the receipts of tourism alone. The guy on the Nissin stand seems to have a silver 56mm lens on his Fuji X-T1.
05. It was Chris Weston that kicked off the European delegation of presenters with his amazing wildlife photography. His opening short film was sublime. He embodies the spirit of adventure and is quite good at karaoke too. The girls with the motorbike had the toughest job of all being visual eye candy for equipment testers.
06. Next up was my friend Knut Koivisto from Sweden. He is a portraitist at heart with a truth and honesty in his work that lifts it into the realm of art, and finally Tomasz Lazar, an award winning street photographer from Poland.
07. ‘Random’ hits you at every turn including these vaguely pornograpic animation characters on iPhone cases. In the middle bottom picture are disposable cameras in every guise including Harry Potter branded versions. I’d have one of those as the pictures would have that extra bit of magic in them. and in the shot on the right is ‘dog cam’ with above and below viewpoints.
08. The view of Yokohama bay at breakfast from the restaurant on floor 70 of our hotel is amazing.
09. CP+ takes place in the Pacifico exhibition centre on the waterfront in Yokohama. It’s smaller than the NEC but because the senior designers and brand managers are present from all the major camera manufacturers it is a big event for news stories and product releases.
10. Yokohama skyscrapers are taking over the waterfront and encroaching on old town. A new kind of retail has opened up in the form of Ferrari and Maserati dealerships.
11. The design is striking and the scale is vast. What looks like a rollercoaster or a large marble run is indeed a piece of sculpture.
12. A camera is a fashion accessory in Japan and carrying a camera around everywhere is the norm. The shot top left was taken enroute to dinner with Toru Takahashi the Fujifilm corporation senior vice president. I used my X100t for most of the pictures in this feature as it easily fits in my pocket. I have it set up in a fast response mode using auto ISO, auto shutter speed and the aperture at f/2. A flick of the exposure compensation dial is all that is needed to fine tune a shot before taking. The real time exposure preview in the EVF and on the LCD is a winner on this camera.
13. The metro is fast clean and efficient. Reading or understanding the signage is certainly a challenge.
14. The many flavours of the Tokyo nightlife. Where to start?
15. Security guards and workers are all that’s left on the streets at 3am on a Monday.
16. Old and new. The Japanese way of life is becoming Westernised at a steady rate.
17. This restaurant, Tukada Farm, is run by students and is typical of the gastronomic finds to be had in old town Yokohama.
18. We made quite an impression and got a plate of gratitude and hearts on our beer. It might have had something to do with Valentines day too.
19. Old town Yokohama is a visual delight at night. I visited a micro brewery with my Twitter friend Ivan Doherty and he explained to me the sweeping changes taking place in Japan right now despite a long term flat economy.
20. The back streets excite me at dusk. The hussle and bussle of a modern city seems to have evaded Yokohama.
21. They put that ‘view point’ sign in the wrong place. It needed to be about 5 metres to the left. I think there should have been a coin slot there too so you can switch on the lights that illuminate the white ship. I took the picture bottom right earlier in the evening before the lights went out.
22. Tokyo nights are memorable.
23. On our way out for yet another night on the town. It was a case of follow the leader in the yellow coat. Us photographers often dillied and dallied to grab a shot so we needed herding from time to time.
24. The Fujifilm offices in Midtown Tokyo house a museum and a gallery of X photographers work on the ground floor. I particularly like the heritage collection of medium format Fuji cameras.
25. Gold mic sir? Or perhaps a costume to help your party go with a swing. Try this gold lycra onesie on for size.
26. Marc, Thomasz and Chris on the mics as my beer gets the full brunt of a brutal rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.
27. The whole team at Fujifilm really let their hair down and it was good to share fun times with our heroes from the camera design division.
28. After a night out at the Karaoke bar it was suggested we head down to the fish market. It was 5am by the time we got there and the stall holders in the surrounding streets were busy preparing breakfasts.
29. The sushi in the top right picture is made of plastic and is a very lifelike menu in the restaurant window. At least you know what the food you order is going to look like.
30. Graffiti, signage and overhead cables are everywhere. So too are vending machines serving hot and cold drinks.
31. Stop! don’t do it. This famous Japanese actor is gesturing to pedestrians not to cross and it seems to be working. On the right, the sun goes down in Midtown and the city transforms into a centre of fun.
32. A poster for the film 50 shades of grey greets commuters on the Metro.
33. Old and new, man and nature. Shiny new buildings are gradually replacing the low rise of old town.
34. This is probably the best photograph from the whole trip and was set up and taken by top Swedish photographer Knut Koivisto using his X-T1 with the compact 18mm lens. He lit us with his handy pocketable led light.
Did we do any work? Yes but most of it is secret so I’m not going to mention it here. Will I return to Tokyo? You bet! The place, the people, the culture and the work hard, play hard lifestyle are amazing.
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