“Your photos aren’t as good this time.”
“Heh, I know. I’m glad you noticed.”
I had a conversation with a good friend after meeting him in a small Italian restaurant in Ebisu, not far from where we first met on my first trip to Japan. I laughed about the conversation, knowing full well how accurately he caught me. This was my second trip to Japan, one I had been dreaming of for months. I wasn’t just dreaming of course, I knew I had to go back and I spent a lot of time planning on what I wanted to shoot and how I wanted to shoot it.
Of course, when I arrived it all fell apart. It was meant to be a photo journey but more so than that it was meant to visit friends, enjoy my time and see sakura trees in bloom for the first time in my life. I only had a week in Japan this time around and much too big of a schedule to wander around random streets, getting lost in Tokyo and living through my lens.
Japan, to me, is a spiritual second home (most would argue first home). While there ended up being many factors to contribute to what i perceived was my failing as a photographer I would be lying if i said turning off the camera and just enjoying my time wasn’t one of them. I wanted to use whatever opportunity I had to get shots of a slice of culture and life there but my camera also sat, turned off, in my camera bag for quite a bit of the trip. At times it’s an amazing feeling documenting the things I see, other times you just have to live in the moment and enjoy life.
It doesn’t make for the best pictures but I look more at it now as a chance to enjoy the small things and a small documentation of some of the memories.
There is no doubt that I will make another trip soon. I love it there, from the good friends, to the food, to the many quirks of the culture. The photo journey will just have to wait till the next trip.