Tag Archive for shopping

It’s Golden Week in Japan. Enjoy.

It’s Golden Week in Japan, which is actually a few days plus a weekend of no-work. Golden Week is a collection of public holidays, and an agreement by companies to let their workers see their families. Right now, the highways and public transport systems will be clogged and backup for tens of hours as families try to get from city to city to see grandparents. This photo was take on Sunday, when Sakae closes off the main street that is lined with department stores in the centre of the trendy shopping area of the city. I missed the height of the day where there were stalls and shoppers moving freely between department stores. Japan is a very spending/shopping oriented culture. It is as if shopping is a national pastime. Update to the JapanesePhotos Instagram at: http://bit.ly/2qB1C5F. This photo, and others like it are available for sale in my Nagoya Gallery.

New camera bag

I’m looking at going overseas for travel, so I need a camera that is not a magnet for thieves. So, naturally, I have some requirements for a bag the will hold (and keep) stuff. I need it to lock. It’s easier to steal something from inside a bag, as the owner will believe that since the bag is there, everything is there, and so the alarm won’t be raised for a long time. Also, it is easier to conceal a stolen item as it is usually smaller than a bag, but it is harder to steal the whole bag. It needs to look casual so it doesn’t look like it’s got a camera or other expensive things inside. I do need it to carry an SLR (or two), some lenses and essential accessories, so it’ll be (and look) heavy. Also as carry-on luggage it needs to carry my laptop and so I need to be able to take it out and put it back in easily during airport screening. Finally, as carry-on luggage it’s got to carry a guidebook and novel.

So in this Japanese store there are hundreds of camera bags, but does any of them meet my requirements? No. Don’t be surprised. There’s only a couple of dozen designs, but they display multiple colours and sizes of essentially the same couple-dozen bags. The most common issue where these bags fail is that zips cannot fit a TSA padlock or there is nothing for the padlock to secure to. Or worse, there are no zips, just clips. Eh, it was so tiring looking around! Did I buy a bag today? No. I’ll have to shop another day.

20140721-054228 pm-63748879.jpg

Portrait walk

I did what I’m calling a “portrait walk”, where I met a friend who agreed to be a model, and we walked from point A to point B in the centre of Nagoya. As you can see she’s looking great, very fashionable… but cold, and hence the puffy jacket (and I froze, too). It was a great chance for me to get a handful of photos I’d been meaning to get, including someone shopping; using a drink vending machine; a mobile phone used in the open; and expectantly, she is great with a spinning top!

It was interesting, she asked ‘why a vending machine?’. A natural enough question for a Japanese person; vending machines are everywhere, and they are so ubiquitous that they are nothing special. I pointed out that vending machines in Japan are as much of a symbol of Japan as Big Ben is to London, or the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. A point you might miss that is quite interesting. In winter, they change the settings of some some part of the machine to heat a selection of drinks. All the drinks with red price labels are hot, whilst all the ones that are blue are chilled. Most drinks price in the range of 110yen to 150yen.

The vending machine we shot could take money in four forms being of course coins, notes, Manaca card, and Waon card. Manaca is an embedded ic-chip card that just needs to touch a sensor surface for credit to be transferred. The Manaca is used mainly as a regular commuter access card, but can also be used in many convenience stores and vending machines in Nagoya. I don’t know if it’s usable in other places like Osaka or Tokyo, but I think they have their own systems instead. Finally, I have little idea of what the Waon card is. I think the Waon card might be connected to the Aeon shopping mall conglomerate.