loss and gain

A nearly deserted Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market during a recent snowstorm

For the first time in my life, probably, I paid for a piece of software that was not a game — a data recovery tool. A seemingly dead Buffalo external hard disk I rediscovered dictated it, after my Mac detected that, although invisible and un-renameable, over 900GB of data lay in it. After 10 hours of crunching the software retrieved about 30,000 photos that are now being uploaded to a cloud. Maybe they’ll wake me from my photo-amnesia.

Oddly on the same day snow was falling. From the window I could see the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market in its final winter and decided to record the melancholic sight. Snowy alleys, reflected neon, footprints and bicycle tire marks–I really got some good footage. Sadly the SD card it was written to get corrupted, leaving only three discernable frames, one of which is shown above.

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!

Year of the dog

A statue and posters of a dog

Here is the first photo shot in anger, so to speak, of 2018. In front of a house somewhere in western Tokyo, someone has erected a private Hachiko, perhaps to memorialize a well-loved pet. The next door neighbor has put up posters advertising a detective agency. These agencies don’t actually solve crimes but are hired to sniff out the pasts of potential mates or dig up proof of two-timing.

Lost diner

One’s Diner no longer exists. But every morning for about 10 years I drank my morning coffee at this American-styled diner while reading the Japanese newspaper. It wasn’t for pleasure exactly: The pancakes were dry but it was the only place in the neighborhood that opened early, and I had to get the newspaper as part of my job. The subscription fee came out of my salary.

So most mornings I brought my camera with me and shot at the passing scenery as the seasons went by. Pre-schoolers and students on field trips, hipsters who worked for the many apparel firms in the neighborhood, photographers and fashion models (who would sometimes use the diner as a set and the Duskin man who would come to change the floor mat every couple of weeks–They all became my subjects.

During the time I outlasted about five managers but eventually got to put a dozen or so of on the hundreds of photos I snapped there in an exhibition held there before the eatery closed to become a clothing inventory storeroom.

But none of them sum up the spirit of the place as this AI-generated animation made by Google Photo Assistant:

The window of old One’s Diner in Jingumae, Shibuya Ward


A man dressed as a Boss can

A pachinko parlor using the distinctive Boss typeface

A woman showing her man who is the boss

The Boss enjoying sound on a stamp

I love the coffee brand Boss, although I never drink it. What I like is the logo, which is supposed to be the profile of a coffee plantation owner, I imagine. But I can’t help think that the designer who made it must have seen the movie “The Boys From Brazil” and drawn inspiration from Gregory Peck. Whenever I hear a can of Boss coffee pop I think “Evil Nazi!”


Gregory Peck plays an evil Nazi doctor in The Boys From Brazil


cloud burst

A wedding party on a ship in Tokyo Bay

It took God six days to create the universe and he rested on the seventh. Whew. It took my 12-inch MacBook about 70 hours to upload 60,000 photographs to Google Photos that will now take me an eternity to sort through.

Among them are ones I found on my company’s server after a long-dead shortcut icon (or so I thought) took me to dozens of folders I thought had been erased an age ago.