Tokyo – two

This is the second of five posts in my little Japan-memoirs-series. 

Part 1: Tokyo-one
Part 3: Tokyo-three-Kyoto
Part 4: Tokyo-four
Part 5: Tokyo-five

You know that feeling when you wake up, and you briefly think that you’re at home in your own bed needing to get up and get ready for work, but then you realise that you are NOT in your bed, but somewhere else?
That was how I felt when I woke up early on day 2 of my Japan trip. I opened my eyes and looked at the curtains covering the 31. floor panoramic window. I got out of bed and opened the curtains to reveal that magnificent view. Still pinching myself, that I was really here. I showered, got dressed and met with the gang for breakfast.

Shinagawa Station. Seen from my room. GFX 50R

The day started out with meetings at Fujifilm HQ in midtown Tokyo. We had a group introduction meeting, but then I parted with the group to attend my own separate meetings.

After the meeting-extravaganza, we then met at the Fujifilm-Square museum where Fujifilm has their various old heritage cameras on display as well as changing exhibitions from misc photographers. Other than the exceptional exhibition on display by Haruo Tomiyama my eye was drawn to the Fujifilm TX-1 on display (which I have a story about later in this series) as well as the old vintage LTM 50mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/2 from Fujinon. Amazingly rare and unique.

We took the subway to the Asakusa area obviously getting familiar with the very nice Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. A lot of tourists was buying and wearing Kimonos and other traditional clothes made cheap by the small tourist shops in the area.

I actually enjoyed taking a different approach and trying to find the “real” native Japanese people that roamed that area. Obviously not a lot of them was wearing the traditional kimono outfits. I often do that when I travel. Try to look at the tourist’y places in a different way. Trying to depict tourist behaviour as well as trying to find the real inhabitants of the area. It can be quite a task sometimes, but well worth the time when you succeed.

“Lanterns” – GFX50R – GF45mm

For lunch we went for local sushi and alcoholically-spiced green tea. Just as with the other food in this country, it was bloody amazing. I’m not having sushi back here in Denmark anytime soon. It’s simply a disgrace to the Sushi-name here!

One thing you do when you’re in a big city such as Tokyo is spend a lot of time in the metro/subway system. While not very different from all the other subway systems I’ve ever used, there is the same extreme order to things in the subway. People queue in perfect lines. They keep their pace. They are not allowed to speak on the phone, and it must be set to silent mode when in use. People stand for the weak and elderly, and there is just the same timely operation of the trains as with everything else in the country. The Japanese makes the germans look like bloody organising amateurs.
Never the less, the subway system always presents the settings for nice street photography. Tokyo is no different in this regard.

In the afternoon we went to the Sky Tree tower. It’s the huge 645m tower in the middle of Tokyo, where you can get to a platform around 400m up. Seeing Tokyo from up there was surreal. It’s like a never-ending city. Buildings stretching all the way to the horizon. Population as far as the eye can see.  We spent a good amount of time just wandering around up there. But from there on out the serious business and sightseeing stopped.


Shit hit the fan! We went to Shinjuku for the full “Robot restaurant experience” – To those of you who have no idea what that is, the best thing I could tell would be to go on YouTube and see just how crazy a place it is.
It was basically a show that revolved around robots invading the earth, but fabled animals like a panda and a giant snail and lobster saved the planet. Then it went on to feature a day of the dead halloween them and ending in a discover/Bruno Mars bonanza.  – Yeah…… It was insane. And VERY entertaining. It is one of those things you only go to once in your lifetime!

Again we went for very local Izakaya afterwards, and we had plenty of alcoholic beverages to wash down the amazing food.

After dinner I explored the Shinjuku area with my EF-X20 flash equipped camera. I was deliberately going for the more direct in-your-face-flash-style street photography. Not to be disrespectful, or a pain in the a**. But I think that that style best portrayed the busy streets of the Shinjuku area at night. I used a combination of 1/15th shutter speed. Rear curtain sync and black and white high contrast image processing. It resulted in the kind of messy shots that I was after. A very different approach for me. But I really wanted to do something a little different in addition to my usual type of street-shots.

Tokyos charm is definitely biggest after dark. The neon lights, the car lights, the colourful people. It is a real treat for the eyes. Bringing the Fujifilm cameras in this kind of environment is just an amazing experience.

After another cabride through the Tokyo streets, we again ended the night at the hotel bar 🙂




  1. Jonas, excellent gallery as expected. I get so inspired by your work. Are you using electronic shutter for all of these? I know the X100F shutter is probably the quietest of the three bodies but using ES will make them all silent obviously.

    1. Hey Mark. I never use electronic shutter on the streets. The rolling shutter effect in that environment is just too obvious. – But I do use electronic first curtain shutter. It makes the cameras a little more silent. Nothing like the X10FF though.

  2. Some very nice shots Jonas. I always enjoy looking at your pics. I have two questions. Q1: with what lens did you take the picture of the bicycle in front of the tall looking building? Q2: how did you take the portret of the gentleman, the effect is like he is in a circle. Did you turn the camera or was the gentleman swaying his hands and you using 1/15 sec? Thanks .

    1. Thank you so much Gerald.
      The bicycle shot was taken with the XT3 and the Laowa 9mm f/2.8 lens
      The swirled portrait was made by using 1/15s exposure. Having the flash fire at the rear curtain, and the just rotating the camera swiftly while exposing 🙂

  3. Hi Jonas,

    many thanks for the – as usual – great pictures and above all for the very exciting impressions from a country which I am fascinated by as well – and definitely have to visit it soon. Culturally, I think a visit there is a must. May I ask if you used the GFX 50r a lot there? I mean, on the streets and for documentary work. I have tried the GFX 50s recently and while it is a great camera for sure, it’s not my cup of tea – at least not for my personal work. For studio ans landscape shooters it might be a totally different story though. But with the appearance of the 50r I’m about to get into this madness and I will borrow the camera from my dealer at the end of November and see if I can warm up with it. As an absolutely convinced X-Pro2 user, the temptation is really quite high… unfortunately 😉
    For sure I have read your glowing review but with continued time and experience… are you still conviced to use it your way?

    Thanks and keep on with your great work!

  4. awesome photos truly. what main sense do you use. am thinking of changing mine and upgrading? any advice be great. love the up close and personal feel to these images.

  5. Love reading your posts, this was superb as usual! Regarding flash at nite, do you get angry looks or any comments for shooting total strangers with is?

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