Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Osaka #1

I have spent quite a lot of time in Japan's second city, Osaka.  I have blogged about this city a few times before, most notably here: Osaka - Crystal Tower  and here: Osaka - Night Shots.  On my previous posts, I have often shown images of the modern architecture of concrete and glass, which is really not so different to other modern cities around the world.  The parts of Japanese cities which I enjoyed the most, were the small roads and back streets; where there is a mix of mundane architecture, traditional decor, brutal ugliness, pot plant horticulture, neon signs and air con fans, webs of electricity cabling, youthful cuteness and hi-tech pointlessness.  It is very difficult to explain the feel and style of these wonderful little back roads.  A general mix of 20th and 21st century oddness; a mish mash of syles and ideas borrowed from across the globe.

One of the things that always amazed me was the respect for property, even in the less that desirable parts of the city. For example, in the first image of the little corner bar, there is a little line of empty wine and sake bottles, which are often placed for decoration even though the bar may not be open.  If these bottles were left outside in the England, they would be knocked over and broken, stolen, rolled around the street by drunken idiots for fun.  In the same way that all the flowers and plants left outside shops and restaurant, are not stolen or vandalised.  I wish this kind of respect was the norm in UK, instead of the binge drinking anti social behaviour, which is completely endemic in British society.






7 comments:

s.c said...

Always interesting to see how the world on the other end looks. Thanks for showing.

Michael Gatton said...

Nice, Bill. It's really weird to see all that cabling above ground, which I associate with small town/rural life. But in that last shot the sheer density of it makes an interesting aesthetic.

ismall said...

Agree with the comment re binge drinking. The shots def adding to my desire to visit Japan. I really enjoy street shots ( as in urban landscapes not nec with people in ) they give you a feel for the place

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Mike... Originally, the cables all stayed above ground due to the daily earth quake tremors. Constant repairs to cables above ground is far easier. Although much of the central 'uptown' areas of Japanese cities have cabling in quake proof underground tunnelling nowadays.

Iesha... It's refreshing to take images of streets without the focus on people. It does give some sense of the daily lives of people, just by the contents of the streets.

George McKay said...

Thanks for the glimpse into the an urban landscape so unlike any here in the U.S. Other than a very few exceptions I can think of, urban commercial streets without cars are non-existent. Shopping malls are the norm.

okuko said...

I really like Osaka too! Lovely photos!

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks George... I have to say though that there are lots of malls in Japanese cities too, although I haven't shown these (yet). I am always amazed at how different countries around the globe have such different commercial and shopping styles.

Thanks Okuko... and I really like your blog too. Some lovely urban photography! I shall subscribe :)