Monday, August 24, 2015

Black and Whites from another time.

I recently did a post about my time living in Japan, working in Hiroshima and living in a small town nearby, Otake.  When I got back home from visiting in LA I dug around and found some pictures of that time, mostly 8X10, and in an album undisturbed since around 1968.  It was impossible to remove the pictures, the album had sticky pages that had firmly cemented the pictures to the page. I was able to scan them with some success.  Here is a sample:

This was taken at one of the doors inside my house, the girl, alas, was not smiling for me, but for my friend Bob who roomed with me for several months. A picture of him will follow in a bit. 

This statue of Siddhartha was in the garden around my house, enclosed by a wall and pagoda gate. The garden was a pleasant and quiet place, escaping from the hustle of the village just outside the wall.

Bob, in the same garden, after one of the infrequent snows we'd get in the winter.  Behind him another statue, of a 7 story pagoda can be seen, along with the almost bonsai pines. 

Two other pictures taken in the garden.  At this time I was toying with the idea that I'd be a professional photographer. I had just seen the movie 'Blow-up', directed by M. Antonioni, one of his first films. It's one of the few movies of that era that have actually kept it's interest to audiences. 

Following are other pictures taken around Japan that year, 1968. 

A feudal-era castle in Osaka

The entrance pathway to a Shinto shrine and park 

Fountains at the Imperial Palace, Toyko

The famous and often-photograph of the Torii at Miyajima.

Ok, this one is my one photography claim to fame:
it was published in Stars and Stripes, Asia edition.

These last ones are people I photographed there one time or another. 

This girl was being photographed by several people 
in a park in Hiroshima when I happened by. I started 
taking a couple shots when one of the other photographers
told me they were a photo club, and had paid this woman 
to model for them. I apologized and left. 

I was walking in Tokyo when I saw a group of 
what had to be paparazzi taking pictures of this young
girl walking a dog (you can see the leash). I have no idea
who she was, or what it was all about. She's looking rather
disdainfully at the group of photo takers.  

A nurse I worked with. 

I don't think these last two were taken at the same time. 
And in truth, I'm not sure what I was thinking when I took the shot. 
Two salarymen, the last possibly retired, napping. 

Well, I had two more to add, but apparently I've reached a limit of some kind for loading pictures. 

Ah, figured out how to do it. 

A demonstration near the closest military base, I happened 
to be passing through. 

Taken while I was waiting for a ferry to Hokkaido, the 
northernmost island in the Japanese archipelago. 
I have no idea, she didn't stir in the 5 minutes or so I
was watching. Clearly there was something on her mind. 
I hope it came out well for her.  


  1. Fascinating. But none of young Mike?

    1. Hi Bruce
      Oddly, there are few from this era. I was the one packing the camera, and I had few companions. And the 'selfie' hadn't, thankfully, had occurred to anyone yet. I have a couple, one is over at my oldest's house, a color one of me with the tori above in the background. Have to get it scanned, might not be till after thanksgiving.

  2. How long ago it all seems. I once visited an old man in a nursing home, and asked a question to get him started. I knew he was a WWII GI and asked how he came to serve, his age seeming to disqualify him. He joined at 16 (I don't recall that bit) and spent his enlistment in Japan as "MacArthur's radio man. He had to be in touch at a moment's notice, you know, so I was pretty important!" Twenty years earlier than your photos. How small the world has become, though.

    1. True in both things, it was so very long ago, and the world has become small indeed, in nearly every way.
      I hope you or someone has his recollections, they will soon be lost to us, those following us.

  3. They are beautiful and timeless photographs. I love black and white.

    Ah yes! David Hemmings smoldered his way through that one.

    1. Yes, and Vanessa R. was quite good too. For some reason the movie made an impression on me, even with English sub-titles.

  4. Beautiful photos from another time in another place take me to a dreamworld. Thanks for the brief trip.

  5. Interesting photos... I spent some time in Japan in 1979--it is a beautiful country.

    1. I'd be interested to hear about your trip. Didn't you say your parents moved there?