snapshots on my way home, friday night




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11 responses to “snapshots on my way home, friday night

  1. Tara C

    The Japanese must be the most chronically underslept and overworked nation. That first photo everyone was collapsed!

    • I know! I couldn’t resist taking a picture. And yet the atmosphere in the train was quite calm and un-negative: it’s almost as if people are just publicly comfortable with sleeping in front of others, sprawling out after a long day’s work.

  2. Wow Black Narcissus. I’m very impressed by the all round supercleaniness!
    I mean look how clean the inside of that train is.
    It’s very different to some of the London tube trains!

    • There is more space too. I find the Tube slightly overintimate in the way that you are almost touching strangers’ legs when you sit down; at the same time that makes it more human (everyone is very detached on J-trains). But you are right: VERY gleaming and clean!

  3. Love this collection of pics! The top one is stunning. The hanging handles look like suspended cocktail glasses, all so glitzy up above, so downtrodden below.
    And I love the TGIF shot, it really is flooded with that atmosphere of Friday night relief, but the fact that you know it is a shortlived thing, endlessly repeated, makes it ultimately depressing, in a good way.
    The Macdonalds soap picture is so oddly disturbing, the bulbous, faded pink plastic alongside the grotty fries and in a public toilet, quite repulsive, but also compelling. Marvellous!

    • YEs I haven’t quite got out of the habit of using the disabled toilets – I like the privacy and the space- and this one, yesterday evening, had a really nice mean’s scent lingering in the air, all aromatic and peppery, and then a half-eaten McDonald’s thing of fries placed next to the liquid soap. I found it oddly beautiful. I wonder who it was.

      I also have taken so many pictures on trains for some reason – there seem to be almost endless aesthetic possibilities in terms of faces and shapes.

  4. Gisela Barrington

    Wow! I first thought that these were vintage fotos! Amazing eerie atmosphere of despair.

    • Perhaps that is my own dark take on things seeping into things: in fact the Friday night atmosphere in Japan is often quite celebratory and joyous – very noisy and smiley, but I agree – the first picture definitely is a study in DEPLETION.

      People work way, way, way, way, too much here.

  5. Robin

    For some reason, I got this sense of myself looking through the camera lens, taking those photos, and suddenly I realized that if I really was there taking pictures, looking clearly not-Japanese, that I’d live my life in Japan feeling that way: as if I was always, would always be, seen as “foreign” in the full meaning of the word. Do you feel that way, Neil? And does it appeal to you, that sense of separateness or distance or . . . and/or does it sometimes feel isolating . . . I’m struck by this new perspective and not sure how I’d feel myself. Is there a kind of ambivalence? I know I’d sometimes (as an introvert) enjoy the sense of being somewhat alone among other people — find it relaxing and, hmm, the opposite of that drained feeling I get sometimes around people. In my own private, insulated world. Hmm. Interesting.

    • Exactly as you say. I love the anonymity and the voyeurism, and detest the isolation. I am planning to write an entire book about it: hoping to ask readers on here about it what they think. Thank you for intuiting everything.

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