The monks at Koyasan Temple in Wakayama have set up a temporary cafe in Jingumae, Tokyo where shojin-ryori (traditional temple vegetarian fare) has been done up in nouveau-Italian style. It’s quite excellent, actually, but only until the 6th of this month. The monks will also do chanting, and offer shakyo calligraphy and meditation. koyasan cafe
I usually try not to snap photos of women dressed in the Lolita fashion, but for these two I couldn’t help myself. They seemed so wonderfully out of their element, wolfing down the free eats at a casino party in posh Roppongi Hills. Although casinos are still illegal in Tokyo, these theme parties are all the rage. I guess sponsors have realized that there’s really little socializing at these soirees, so they set up something to spur them on.
I am taking part in an exhibition set to start next Saturday. If you’re interested in photography and are in the Tokyo area, please feel free to drop by. They’ll be a opening party on Nov.1, from 14:00.
I can’t imagine what the Asakusa Samba Festival was like this year. The whole week leading up to it was all lightning and thunder and this Saturday was a drench. Thankfully I avoided it, like I do every year. It’s all color and noise and crowds, but for me it signals only one thing: the end of summer. It’s always held at the end of August, just when the afternoons noticeably shorten and the sunlight turns warmer in tone and cooler on the skin.
It may seem an odd import and an even odder way to send off the season, but the Samba Festival is Japanese down to the bones. There’s little spontaneity in it, and the forms you need to fill to be able to shoot it are among the longest I’ve seen. They read like legal documents. And the escolas, dance teams, try hard–but really too hard. They make a science of it.
Actually the samba season isn’t over yet. The teams are real troopers, and will perform here and there at small towns and neighborhood shopping arcades (here’s one coming up on Sept. 6 in Tateishi) even until it gets cold. By then they look like tropical birds, shivering and feathers faded.
These photos aren’t new, and they aren’t from the Asakusa event. They show a champion escola giving their all at a small community event in Shinjuku. I took them a summer ago but never found a place for them. I promised I’d parade them out this year, just before the book closes on another season.