Lucy came to my studio the other day looking for headshots for her upcoming move to Los Angeles.
To get the light right for this shot, I actually went to the space behind the muslin backdrop in my studio. There’s actually about eight feet between the back of the cloth and the studio wall which id painted gallery white. It was late in the day and the light was nice, especially bounced off the wall.

The Pajama Factory

As you probably know, I’ve left Tokyo, gone back to Pennsylvania for a while to help out with my family.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but as it looks like it will be a couple of months at least, I’ve decided to use what free time I do have to take a break from freelancing and do a bit of creative photography.

pajama factory

Looking for LOHAS in Shimokitazawa

LOHAS, or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, is a movement wherein people take a careful look at how they live and the impact their existence has upon the planet. Here in the urban sprawl of Tokyo, it’s alive and growing, with shops catering to consumers with a heightened sense of responsibility for their actions.

When a possible client for my photography asked for LOHAS-related images, I realized it was one area somewhat under-represented in my portfolio, so I set off today by bicycle, (appropriately enough, I suppose,) to explore Shimokitazawa, a Western suburb of Tokyo, looking for LOHAS.

As the day wound down, I found myself at the Nong-min Café and spoke to its owner, Mr. Waki, who graciously allowed me to take some photos.

In the garden behind the café, there was a small herb garden, just a couple of square meters, that supplies the shop with fresh herbs.

Written on the stick is “Italian Parsely”.

I spoke with Mr. Waki, the proprietor. He told me about the shop’s two rice paddies outside the city and gave me a tour of the shop.

The first floor café is cool and casual.

Inside a cabinet, the glass teapots and handmade bowls await customers’ orders.

An organic cotton t-shirt proclaims “No Chemicals”.

The shop’s brand includes t-shirts, as well as workwear.

The second floor has two café rooms and an adjoining workroom, complete with sewing machine.

A wooden Buddha sits overlooking the tables in a peaceful customer area.

A cotton boll, a reminder of the connection between the goods in the shop and their natural origins.

An un-dyed organic cotton t-shirt on display.

Herbs grow in pots alongside chalkboards announcing the day’s specials.


A Day at the Doujunkai

Uenoshita Doujunkai
Click the photo for a slideshow.

The Dojunkai Apartments : The
Beginning of Apartment Living

 The current mainstream steel reinforced
concrete apartments that were built prior to
World War II are called Dojunkai apartments.
The Dojunkai was a foundation established
following the Great Kanto Earthquake to help
victims in need of shelter. It was an external
body of the Interior Ministry and was funded
by contributions from within Japan and
overseas. The Dojunkai supplied 12,000
housing units, including 2,500 apartments,
between 1926 and 1941. All of the
apartments were reinforced concrete structures
that placed a premium on earthquake
resistance and most of the properties were
three stories in height. In addition to having
proper electricity, plumbing and gas, each of
the units was equipped with flush toilets. At
the time they were built, these housing units
were well known and admired for their
leading-edge conveniences and technologies
such as elevators, steam heaters, telephones
and baths. The aforementioned comforts
proved to be very popular despite the
concern that the apartment style of housing
might not be well accepted as a part of
Japanese lifestyle.

Quoted from