On Da Block - Part 6

"It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you. Without a dope beat to step to." Aaliyah

I used to have a little series called “On da block” where I would take photos of people around the area I live in.

You can check out some of the old posts here:


So yeah, I moved house about a year ago to a completely different part of Tokyo. However, like my previous area it is a residential area and
there are a lot of people hanging around doing something.

After a week of living here I figured out the fastest route to get to the station from my house. On this route there is a house that is
a ゴミ屋敷 Gomi Yashiki” (gomi = rubbish yashiki = mansion” which translates to rubbish/dump house). It is an abandoned house which has pretty much become a rubbish dump site.


What was weird is that the house next to it is really beautiful house… Having an abandoned house overflowing with rubbish in such a populated location was pretty mind boggling.

After a few months the weather changed and the house started to stink badly,

Once in a while I would see an old guy sitting outside of the house. He would normally be either reading, piling in rubbish or trying to stabilize the rubbish to stop it from overflowing.

I wanted to try and talk to him on a few occasions but I never followed through.

A few days ago when I was out taking a stroll in the morning I walked past the house and saw him there. I decided to try my luck and see if I could uncover the mysteries of the man and the building.

I walked up to him and he is sitting there on a chair he brought with him, listening to an mp3 player with several packs of newspaper surrounding him.


I watched for a while as he took newspaper out of a package, ripped it into strips and made stacks of it.

I greeted him with a hello and asked him how he was doing.
He looked up acknowledging me and smiling but not saying anything.

Hmm… what to do now?

Since he smiled I decided to push my luck and try to talk to him a bit more.

I asked him if it was his house and he said,

"Mansion!". Mansion in Japan means a block of flats/apartments.

I looked up and for the first time noticed that it was in fact a small apartment block and not a single house. I am guessing he owns/owned the mansion.

I told him my name and asked him for his but he just looked up, smiled and carried on ripping newspaper up….

Not too sure what to do I took a few pictures of the building and the garbage. He stopped what he was doing and looked at the camera.

I gestured at the camera and asked him if I can take a picture and he put down the paper he was holding and sat up straight.


He initially had a big smile on his face but then covered his mouth with his hand. Maybe he was shy or something, but I could still see the smile projecting through his eyes.

He then gestured me to come towards him. I came and he signaled me to give him the camera.

I froze for a second… Did he want to see the picture I took? Or was he going to take the camera and smash it into the ground or throw it into the garbage…

I decided to take a leap of faith and very slowly gave it to him.

He gestured me to stand against the wall and then took a photo of me… It was the x10 so the top has a few dials on it next to the shutter button. He pressed the menu dial a few times before finally finding the shutter button and taking a picture.


He gave me the camera back and got back to shredding newspaper.

I asked him where he lived and pointed at around the corner.

I then remembered seeing him come out of a house around the corner a few times in the past. I said goodbye and went to check out the house.

I got to the house and saw an unfortunate sight…

His house had started showing symptoms of the Gomi Yashiki he was camped outside of..

The front is starting to overflow with garbage, and you can vaguely see some garbage through the glass door..

In the end the mysteries I set out the solve remain unsolved and I am left with the following questions:

Who is that guy?
What happened to the mansion?
Can he talk properly/coherent?
What will happen to his current house?

Maybe I will try and speak to him again next time I see him. He gave off the vibe that he is all alone in the world..

Land of the living

"Welcome back to the land of the living, my friend. You have slept for quite some time….”

Yikes, maybe like 1 year or so since I shot and deved any film…

Been running around the past few weeks trying to find some rhythm and get my sensitivity (that thing that makes you react to potential photo opportunities around you) back.

Bought a baby point and shoot camera (X10) to help get things rolling again.

I was having issues where I would walk around with the Pentax67 for a few hours feeling lost and end up not taking a single picture.

With the X10 I just spam and shoot anything and everything with no regard which is kinda helping me get back to seeing the world in “frames” again.

I need to shoot a ton more though to get that competence back though.

The two rolls I got back were a bit of a train wreck. My favorite mistake being forgetting that aperture is controlled on the lenses, not the body.

I shoot with one lens at F8 250 which is correct, change to another lens and keep shooting not knowing that, that lens is set to F2.8 or F11 …

Oh well, despite all that i guess the good thing is that the flame is rekindled.

So much stuff I wanna try, but one step at a time I guess.

More blogs coming soon…..


Quick Random Thoughts on Skydiving

Video -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X1_ZzfYPPA

The Brief

Arrived at the airport, registered and got called 40 mins before the jump to prepare and get briefed. The brief goes as followed:

"When we exit the plane have your hands on the straps and lean your head backwards and push your stomach out.
When I tap you on the shoulders let go of the straps and put your hands in the air.
When we land raise your legs up like you are about to sit down so you can land on your bum.
Ok lets go!!!”

That’s it…??? A 20 second brief… Everything is going to be alright… right…?

The Flight

Pretty uncomfortable, sardine style. My legs went numb and I got pins and needles luckily it went away just before I jumped. Takes 20 minutes to get to jump altitude (3800 meters) but felt like forever….

Scariest Part - Part 1

Seeing Anna going from sitting in front of me to falling out of the sky and seeing the last bit of her head disappear through the door…

Exiting the Plane

Here is where I felt let down in terms of preparation. A little warning or explanation of what/how you would feel when exiting would have helped a lot but for some reason they didnt think to mention it.
Im guessing the guy forgot what the first time feels like since he has jumped 8000 times…

Free falling first 3 seconds (Scariest Part - Part 2)

The first 2-3 seconds of exiting the plane I couldnt see anything, hear anything, didnt know where I was, if i was falling up or down, and I couldnt really breath… I started panicking and wondering if I was going to pass out….

Lucky I snapped back into reality and remembered the guy saying raise your head up. I did that and I think it must have reduced some of the pressure and wind from below from going into my nose and mouth and giving me a chance to actually start breathing again and calm down.

Free falling 3 seconds+

While I still didnt know if I was falling (if it was even real) or what exactly was going on I could now see and move my body freely (superman poses etc). However about 20 seconds later and after seeing the cameraman for the third time I was pretty much done and hoping for it to be over… Not sure if I subconsciously stopped raising my head, got tired or hit terminal velocity but the pressure and wind from below all of a sudden became unbearable…


All of a sudden it felt like I was swinging from a rope in mid air and then everything became quiet and calm and my ears started working again… Felt pretty crazy just floating in mid air, everything below you is tiny and you feel like king of the world. Wasn’t actually sure if what was happening was real or if I would wake up any second. 
The free falling and parachuting are a pretty interesting contrast. The first is chaos and the second is calm and serene…. The instructor performs maneuvers to steer you towards the landing zone and you get to help using the secondary ropes on the parachute. Turning mid air hurts the groin though…


After the free fall there was nothing to really be scared of.. Was actually fun sliding thru the grass…


Im curious, if you know what to expect beforehand will the free fall feel better? Or does your body have to experience the stress of it a few times to get used to it?
I guess there is only one way to find out….

Morbid Thought

Suicide from the top of a high building must be a terrifying way to die… I dont advise it 

Skydiving Adventures


Hopefully start updating again soon ;o

Essential Reading

All plans this weekend are now officially cancelled

STREET PORTRAITIST turned 2 today! View high res image

STREET PORTRAITIST turned 2 today!

(Source: assets)

A dead 8x10 polaroid. Kinda similar to how photography and me are at the moment. Aint touched a camera in a hot second.. View high res image

A dead 8x10 polaroid. Kinda similar to how photography and me are at the moment. Aint touched a camera in a hot second..

samcurtin said: Wholly shit man, wow. You have some amazing shots!! Must be awesome living in Tokyo. What are you mostly shooting with?

Thanks, I think I had my cameras up on my about page but just deleted all the info for some reason…

Ok from big to small:

Tachihara Field Camera 4x5 - dont use it so much, but when I do its for portraits (planning to shoot landscape with it)

Pentax 6x7: Main camera, mainly use it for colour photography: portraits etc

Mamiya 7: Shoot some landscape type stuff, occasional portrait and more documentary type stuff. Not used so much.

Yaschiamat124g: Walk around cam just shoot random junk mainly bw

Broken FE2: Retired, havent used it in a while, need to fix the winder.

D700: Use for work/studio “serious” type stuff.

I think thats about it atm…

I put a restriction on myself and said that I am not allowed to buy a new camera this year :D So far so good!

Tags: questions

Project A&A

A friend of mine just completed a cool project here is a description from the about page:

“21 Sep 2010
From: Alani Cruz
Subjet: Re: Hello!

Ok, so talking to you really inspired me! I have an idea.
Since we both have ricoh GR’s i want to collaborate with you.
My idea is we do a double exposure project together.
-First, i will shoot photos with my GR
-Then i will mail you the roll of film i shot with
-Then you shoot with that same roll of film.
What do you think?
Are you interested?
If you have any ideas too, please let me know!

: )

This is how the project between 2 strangers living in different parts of the world got started. Alani Cruz, an American photographer living in Tokyo, Japan and Amy Yang, a Taiwanese photographer living in Taipei, Taiwan have been exchanging emails and rolls of film since 2010 and have yet to meet each other.

Currently titled “Project AA”, the project aims to combine two unplanned images to allow the viewer to experience a completely new perspective that they might have seen viewing the photos individually. The viewer is also witnessing the interaction between two people who have never met and who are getting to know each other through their images.

Whether its Alani’s or Amy’s image, they both represent the expression of the two artist expressing themselves to each other and the viewer. Two different stories combined to make a third that is determined by the viewer resulting in a spontaneous expression of the truth”

Check out the pictures here:


And for more info on books and exhibitions like their fb page here:

Feel free to share/reblog.


mountain-light said: Do you use any 35mm camera (and what do you use it for)? Or do you just use phones as your small format/snapshot camera?

I have a FE2 film camera. Havent used it for a while, dont have a lens (used to have the 35 1.4 but sold it because its huge).

I have a d700 I use when I shoot models and for portraits that are lit with strobes.

In terms of snapshots. I bought a gf2 but never used it enough so I sold it.

I was doing well keeping my yashicamat 124 with me everyday as a walk around camera but havent touched it for a month or so now..

I just use my phone for snapshots… Take a snapshot, smile then forget about it very quickly…

Was thinking of getting a contax t3 or GR or something like that but decided against it since I would probably be too lazy to develop and do anything with the snapshots after I took them…

I think taking snapshots or even just taking lots of pictures isnt really my thing…

Test Shoot

From a test shoot I did a few weeks back.

Just Desserts

Do you remember the lady I took the above picture of in this post:


I was on my mid-afternoon chocolate break when I saw her outside her shop. I said hi and she asked me, “What do you like best Chocolate Brownies or Cheesecake?”.

I clenched my teeth in an attempt to stop my smile from growing too big and nonchalantly replied “Chocolate Brownies”.

She told me to come back tomorrow evening after I finished work.

I went back in the evening and she had baked these for me ;)

She said that her reason for baking them was because she wanted to do something back for me since I gave her the photos. I asked her what had become of them and she said she wants to frame the pictures but hasnt found a frame she likes yet.

She turned to her husband and said, “If I die first, use the picture as my memorial picture.” and we all started laughing.

I wasnt sure if she was serious or not so I asked her and she said,
“I’m serious, I would use it. But only in the event that I was to pass away before my husband.”.

One of those awkward happy/sad moment…

Lock on - BAZOOKA

I was outside a camera shop loading film into my camera when this man came out of the shop.


We were about 5-6 meters away from each other.

He looked at me and kinda tilted his head sideways as if he wanted to say something to me.

I tilted my head up in a, “Whats up yo?” gesture.

He took one step closer, stopped and tilted his head again.

I raised my palms up signaling him to state his business and he came up to me and said hello.

I asked him whats up and he said, “That is a nice camera, really good, and its film as well. You should keep shooting film, dont shoot digital, its no good.”

I laughed and thanked him for the advice.

I asked him what he was holding in his hand and he showed me a Santa record and said that he collects records because they are really cheap now.

I asked how much and he said, “Only 100yen! Records are really cheap but turn tables are very expensive.” and recommended that I buy some turntables and collect records.

He kept going on about how much he loved Santana and would gesture as if he was playing a guitar and start saying “Guitar Cry - YAWWWWW” and stuff like that.

We walked over to the shop and there were a bunch of records outside in boxes. We went through them and he showed me how cheap they were. Most of them were in the 100-300yen range except for this Prince record Alphabet Street that was 800yen.

He returned to camera talk saying, “The shutter on film cameras are great. Especially if its one made of silk. They have a beautiful sound (and started making the sound of a camera shutter). But your camera its so big its like a bazooka”.

He did a hand gesture as if he was holding a camera and said “Find a target, like a hot girl, Lock on - BAZOOKA!!! POW”.

I laughed, but then unfortunately he took it too far and started dry humping the air saying “Lock on - BAZOOKA!!!!”.

Something tells me he wasnt talking about taking photos of girls…

An example of what dry humping air means for those who dont know:


I cant remember how many times he said, “Lock on” and dry humped the air but it was one time too many….

I tried to change the subject and asked him about the camera in a case that he was holding. He pulled it out and it was an old Nikon film camera that had a button release that he got for 100yen.

I laughed and called him a bargain hunter and he told me, “My jacket costs 100yen and my shirt costs 500yen. The red sneakers I am wearing I got from a friend and I also got these glasses from a friend”.

He took the glasses off and showed me the inside of the frame. It was pretty scratched up but I could clearly see the words, “3D Glasses”.

I asked him why he was wearing 3D glasses and he said that they are pretty good, just a bit dark…

We walked to the traffic lights and he gave me some bread. Im not sure if he got it from a shop, made it at home or whether or not he had eaten some of it already…

I hesitantly took it, said thanks and put it away in my bag with no real intentions of eating it.


I assumed once we got to the traffic lights we would part ways but he ended up talking and talking and before I knew it 15 minutes had gone past. As we stood there, with mainly him talking lots of people walked past looking at us funny.

During that 15 minutes the only thing I remember him saying was that he was a chiropractor.

He switched to English and said that people would come to him saying “Pain, pain hurt so much!!” but after he treated them they would say “Oh, pain gone!!”.

He also gestured with his hands that people with erectile dysfunction would come to him and they would leave with a BAZOOKA!!!!

Anonymous said: Hi. I've seen your wonderful work with @KingLeonidaz_ on twitter and I was trying to make my own bot. I'm using searches on twitter as feeds, then Yahoo Pipes to procces and create the answers and twitterfeed to publish them. However, it is not always working and it lasts some hours to publish. Could you tell me how you did it? I would love to know it. Thank you very much :D

Hehe glad you liked the bot. I have a friend who made a bot using the same method as you did. I have no experience with yahoo pipes but im assuming it is a bit of a “long way around approach”.

If you have basic programming skills (or follow a few tutorials) you can easily make a bot using twitters api. https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api It is the same thing but basically you directly access twitter instead of using twitterfeed or w/e which is actually using twitters api too. You make an api call to search for a phrase or keyword using twitters api, then you take the info you get and publish a tweet using the twitter api. That way you wont have any problems with it working only sometimes. The only issue you will run into is rating. Due to twitters massive traffic they only let you make x amount of api calls for a given time frame y. Hope that makes sense.

jojonas said: latest shot looking is nice! looking forward to the few sakura trees we have hanging here. though winter is holding its grip long this year.. btw, this shot medium format or are you sporting polaroid gear now? the smooth colours got me wondering :)

Haha its actually a cellphone pic. Was on my lunch break and happened to walk past. Will see about taking a large format camera out this weekend and seeing if i can find anything interesting to shoot!

Tags: Questions