I have the pleasure of knowing and meeting a lot of interesting people in my life. The international community in Tokyo is full of fascinating people. I'm lucky enough to meet many more as I travel around the world.
I have gotten away from photographing people I am interacting with. It is something I have always liked doing. I've decided to get back into this more as I think people really like the photos and I think it makes my blog posts much more interesting. I will try to introduce you to some of these people here.
Today's Configuration: Leica M10 w/ Summicron 28mm f/2.0, Summilux 35mm and 50mm f/1.4
Meet Takeshi. He is the manager of ABC Coffee. He is the smiling face you see when you come through the door. I'm very grateful for all his work to make a cool coffee shop in Jiyugaoka. Arigato Takeshi-san!
As I mentioned in my last post, I have been speaking with Alvin about collaborating with Alpha Beta Coffee Club. Well, it's happening this April 26th through May 6th. I'll be exhibiting some of my favorite images throughout Golden Week. My book will also be available for sale at a special price.
I'll be hosting an Opening Reception this Thursday, April 26th from 7-9 PM (Facebook Event Page). If you are in Tokyo, come hang out, say hello and grab a coffee, tea or one of their great craft beers. I expect a good mix of people so it's a good chance to meet some interesting people.
Alpha Beta Coffee Club is located 1 minute from Jiyugaoka Station @ Milche Jiyugaoka 3F, 2-10-4 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan 152-0035 (Google Map).
Many of the interesting folks below should be coming on Thursday.
Meet Dino. He reached out to me on Instagram a few weeks to say he liked my photos and introduce me to his. We realized that we both drive an Audi RS4. It's not a very common car so that's quite a coincidence. After a bit of chatting, we also realized that we lived about 1 kilometer from each other, so we decided to meet up at ABC for a chat and enjoy one of their craft beers
Dino is a 25 year resident of Tokyo. Like many of us, he has lived all over the world so the accent of his home country of Italy is all but gone. He is a Motorjournalist, Photographer, and Editor at Large of the widely popular car culture website SpeedHunters. Dino is deeply emerged in the Japanese car culture and his Instagram is awesome. Think ShootTokyo but for cool cars.
You met Gyula previously a few posts ago. We 1st met when he was living in Ireland and took a business trip to Japan and we spent a great night shooting around Shinjuku. We worked together for a few years and recently he has moved to Tokyo. He is living a digital nomad lifestyle. The freedom is something to be admired.
Meet Sean. He is someone I have known online for years now and we have many mutual acquaintances. Sean recently moved to Tokyo from LA. Like a lot of my friends explaining what he does isn't so straightforward; He has run hackerspaces and blog networks, an art gallery, design firm and a record label. He is an Associate Professor at Keio University, a Shuttleworth Fellow, and an MIT researcher. We finally met up when Sean bought some film I was selling.
Sean is also one of the founders of Safecast. Safecast is an international, volunteer-centered organization devoted to open citizen science for the environment. Safecast was established shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, following the Tōhoku earthquake on 11 March 2011 and manages a global open data network for ionizing radiation monitoring. The Safecast team, with help of International Medcom, Tokyo Hackerspace, and other volunteers, has designed various devices for radiation mapping.
To put more simply, within hours of the Fukushima disaster the world's supply of Geiger counters were gone. There was no access to information about what was happening in regards to radiation in Japan. It was very scary time to be in Japan. Sean and a few others rather than accepting this situation figured out how to build Geiger counters, how to deploy a network of them across Japan and have become the world's authority on radiation measurement having governments call on them to help to define their strategy and share what they have learned. They have taken more than 54 million measurements. You can see all of this data laid over a map to see the power of what they collected.
Meet Pieter. He has been on ShootTokyo many times as we have been friends for years now. Pieter and I met when he was running IT for Shinsei Bank which was one of Japan's most progressive banks at the time. It's hard to describe Pieter in just one role as he does so much. He is a true polymath.
He co-founded Safecast. He is a technology advisor to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). While MAS sets monetary policies for Singapore they have emerged as a thought leader in how to innovate the financial system for a country and how to work with Fintech companies. He is a researcher and guest Professor at Keio University. He is a researcher at MIT Media Lab.
Go to dinner and drinks with Pieter, it will go on for far too long and you will leave feeling like you need to read more and be doing much more with your time. I remember the phone call I got from Pieter right after the earthquake in 2011. "Dave it's Pieter, who do you know that works with Nuclear Power or in that industry? Also, let me know if you need to use my Satellite phone (as communications were down across Japan)." This is not an abnormal call to get from Pieter. I typically smile when my phone is ringing and it's Pieter on the other end.
He also has the most impressive collection of Leica lenses and cameras. The dream lens for many Leica shooters is the Summilux 35mm f/1.4. The unattainable one that many long for is known as the double aspherical which has two aspherical elements in it. The reason it’s considered so special is that the aspherical lens elements where hand polished, which resulted in only a few that were perfect enough to make it through a lens. Today aspherical lenses are machine polished. It's virtually impossible to find and if you can it's probably unaffordable. Pieter shoots with the prototype of that lens and was kind enough to loan it to me for the photo above.
You can watch Pieter speaking about Safecast at TEDx. It will be easy to see the power of citizen science (and how smart Pieter is).
I dropped my backpack a few months ago. I was throwing it over my shoulder and somehow the strap completely missed my shoulder. I have this big ding on the right front corner and some of the metal was a bit sharp and cutting into my bag. Pieter had the tools to grind it down and smooth it out. Jon Ivy would die watching us grinding down my Mac but it looks great now.
Steve has been on here many times. He is one of favorite people in the world. Our wives joke that we are dating. He had some miles to burn so flew to Tokyo for 36 hours and we were able to catch up for a coffee.
(photo credit: Steve Collins)
I've been looking for new sunglasses forever. I have such a hard time finding glasses that fit me, feel good and look good on me. My head is too big and glasses often just look weird on me. They either look too small, crooked or just off. I found this blue tinted pair from Tom Ford. At first I didn't think I would like something so fashionable but I really like them now. I went to my local glass shop and the optometrist spent a while adjusting them and fitting them to me so they are really comfortable and fit really well now. Steve tried shooting a lot of pictures and it was hard to capture the actual color with a camera but this is pretty close. I'm really happy with them.
I mentioned before when I first moved to Asia 18 years ago, I weight 97 kilos (214 lbs) about 12 years ago I dropped my weight down to 82 kilos (181 lbs) and I've always kept it between 82 kilos and 84.5 (186 lbs). It is still heavier than I wanted, to give me the figure I wanted, but it's close.
I've worked myself into a diet of eating twice a day; lunch and dinner. I didn't realize but when you consume all of your food in an 8 hour period and don't eat the other 16 it's a form of intermittent fasting. This wasn't really intentional. I've never been a big breakfast eater and I don't feel good if I eat late in the evening it just worked out that I eat like this.
I've been watching what I eat lately. I tend to take an approach like carbon offsetting (i.e. you can fly in a plane but then you need to buy carbon credits). I apply it to food; if I eat bad things I need to make up for it with good things. So if I eat a heavy lunch or dinner, I follow it up with a light lunch or dinner. My go to are boiled eggs and toast or banana and oatmeal.
I also don't deprive myself of anything. If there is something I want to eat I do but then I 'offset it'. If you have been following my Instagram you'll know I've been really into Cheeseburgers lately. Tokyo has some of the most amazing burgers.
I joined a gym recently and I weigh myself daily as a way to keep my weight in check so I wasn't too worried about the burgers. Well, it seems my weird mix of diet, exercise and allowing myself to eat burgers whenever I want has worked. I weighed in this morning at 77.2 kilos (170 lbs), my lowest weight since high school this morning. I'm not going to argue with science. On with the burgers (and exercise I guess)... #burgerdiet
One of the trends lately in Tokyo are shops that allow you to build your own burger. This one is beef, American cheddar cheese, tomato, bacon, horseradish mayonnaise, on a brioche roll.
Someone yarnbombed the giant spider.
Neighbors are moving.
I know many of you have made your way over to Grown Man Shave and have become customers. Thank You for that. It means a lot.
Thanks for stopping by today.