Japan streets

Ichiko | 衣知子

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged this yet! Here are some shots I took of Ichiko in Tokyo last year. Ichiko is signed with Folio Management in Azabujuban, and she was great fun to work with! We shot in the streets surrounding the agency office, exploring the different textures that Tokyo’s suburban landscape has to offer.

お昨年、私は衣知子さんの写真を撮りました。衣知子さんはフォリオ マネジメントのモデルです。写真撮影とても楽しかったです。会社の近くところに撮りました。私たちは日本語だけが話しました。ちょっとチャレンジでしたけど良かった。どうもありがとう衣知子さん!!

170313 Ichiko Ozaki 033 R170313 Ichiko Ozaki 052 R170313 Ichiko Ozaki 013 R

We conducted the whole shoot in Japanese, and Ichiko was really easy to photograph. She didn’t need any warming up and was able to give off a range of expressions with ease. She also moved so well, creating great shaped with her body. I have to say I was really jealous of her hair- why can’t my hair grow that long!

170313 Ichiko Ozaki 039 R

We shot for about an hour before returning to the warmth of the Folio office. I love shooting in Tokyo and never tire of the landscape. I just feel very inspired by what is around me- probably because it isn’t the same as Melbourne. The light in Japan is also different; there is just something about it that excites me visually. On the day that Ichiko and I worked together, it was overcast and kind of dull, but that didn’t stop us.

Thank you so much Ichiko for being an amazing model <3

170313 Ichiko Ozaki 032 R

Ichiko is represented by Folio Management Tokyo

Adventures in Shiba Park

After testing with some of the girls from Folio in Tokyo, I came back to the office to pack up and say goodbye. In the meantime, a young male model had dropped in and was chatting to the office staff. He explained that he was looking to do some testing, so I asked if he wanted to do a shoot the following day. He was thrilled, and so we organised to meet back at the office the next day.

Ty was such a friendly guy, and was in Tokyo to work. He usualy resides in Hawaii, so I had lots of questions to ask him about the differences in living in the two locations.

We decided to shoot in Shiba Park, which is near Tokyo Tower and not too far from the office. This time, it was just myself and Ty with no other staff. There were so many spots to shoot in- shrines, parks, streets- so we just walked around and every so often I asked Ty to stop in a patch of light, or lean against a random wall.


Ty’s folio had a lot of smiling, youthful shots, so I wanted to capture some more serious faces and different expressions. He took direction really well, and was so easy to get along with. He was also very comfortable in front of the camera and moved well.


We shot for only about an hour, but I got so many great shots, it was hard to choose which ones to retouch. Thanks Ty! Looking forward to shooting again next time I’m in Tokyo! :)


And a couple of my shots made it onto Ty’s comp card…


Ena in Tokyo


In Tokyo a few months back I did a few test shoots with some faces from Folio Models in Azabujuban. One of those faces was Ena, who needed some new shots for her comp card. I photographed Sakura and Ena on the same day, and it was great working with their different personalities. Their agent came with us as we walked the streets nearby the office. I found this really intersting, as I’ve never had an agent come with me on a test shoot. But it didn’t phase me at all. Once I have a camera to my eye I am in a safe place and fear, nervousness, and any other emotion are totally evaporated. I can completely focus on what I am doing (pun not intended.)


I shoot really quickly, no matter who my subject is. I find that this keeps the energy up, and helps the shoot flow. I’m not sure if my models were used to this fast paced type of shoot or not! We spoke both English and Japanese, which was really enjoyable from my perspective. I was surprised at how much I was able to direct Ena using only Japanese to convey what I wanted.



Thank you Ena for being a gorgeus model and putting up with my broken 日本語!

Here’s a cute beind the scenes from before we hit the streets…


Sakura giving Ena a brush down to remove dog hair. #foliooffice


Nothing Exciting, But Lots Of Photos

I’ll admit it first up that I didn’t do that many blog-worthy activities today, which is why I’ve posted a bunch of photos to make up for my lack of written journalism. Today was kind of jumbled because I didn’t have any solid plans, and I had to change hotels, which is always a little bit of a hassle.

But the day couldn’t begin without breakfast, and Toyoko Inn breakfasts are always surprisingly good. I think I should stop being surprised, because of the consistency in quality and type of food provided, but it’s free and tasty, so I’m always appreciative (and yes I know I am paying for it, but anyway.) Toyoko Inn hotels usually have either Japanese or Western style breakfast, and I thought that this one had Western, so I wasn’t that excited when I went down the lift to the breakfast area. I expected a few kinds of puffy white bread and some coffee, which was fine by me because I actually only really wanted free flow caffeine  But when I entered the lobby area, I was surprised to find both kinds of breakfast. There were onigiri, salads, pickles, and soups for the Japanese breakfast fans, and sweet breads and croissants (both plain and chocolate) for the Western types. I loaded up a plate with onigiri, tamagoyaki, two kinds of salad, pickles, miso soup, and gomoku rice, and filled a cup with vending machine cappuccino. Then I found a seat kind of near the corner of the building, so I could execute my secret plan.

There are some things in life that just scream ‘take advantage of me.’ One of those things is the breakfast buffet. No matter where you are staying, I believe that there is a deeply-embedded human instinct which tells you to make the most of the free food you are surrounded by. There are two options for the execution of this advantage-taking. To eat as much as is physically possible, or to sneak leak-free morsels into your handbag when nobody is looking. I took this one step further and brought my own (empty) bento box to make my own lunch in. I figured that because I am small and don’t really eat a lot at breakfast, I am still getting my fair share of the buffet by making a take-away pack. I’m still eating the same amount as everyone else, just over a period of 6 hours. That’s ok, right?

So I sat in the corner and ate my fresh tasty breakfast, and packed food into my bento when I thought nobody was looking. I got into a conversation with a guy from Sydney, who was over in Osaka on an all-expenses paid business trip. Even though he was in the electronics industry, I still felt a tiny bit of jealousy at him having a job that would willingly send him to Japan. I talked to him for a while about his work and my photography, as well as learning Japanese and what is interesting to see in Osaka (he hadn’t ventured outside the hotel yet, so he didn’t really have any sightseeing suggestions.) I also went back for two more cups of coffee whilst we talked (it was free and decent. Or maybe I am becoming used to dodgy coffee.)

After breakfast I went back upstairs and packed up the last of my stuff, and then checked out of the hotel. I was able to leave my luggage for the day, which saved me having to drag my new (but still heavy and bulky) suitcase around the shopping centres. I had decided to spend the day shopping, so I could get all my last minute present shopping done before the last minute. That would give me two days free to do whatever I wanted, without present shopping nagging at me. So I walked to Osaka station, because it was only two stations away and I didn’t want to pay for the train.

The walk was quick and easy, as I only had to follow the above ground train line, so it was impossible to get lost. I stopped on the way at a 100 yen store and bought some presents, then continued to the Osaka station area. I won’t describe every detail of my girly shopping adventures, but I did visit a lot of department stores, small funky one-off stores, and a whole arcade of vintage second hand books. I stopped for lunch at a little seating area between arcades, where I ate the salad I couldn’t finish yesterday, as well as the goodies I’d packed into my bento this morning. Stupidly, I had forgotten to pack cutlery, so I had to eat with my hands again. The few people who walked past me looked at me really strangely, and I felt like an idiot. As soon as I was finished eating, I hunted out a bathroom so I could wash the shame and salad dressing off my fingers. Then I bought a milk coffee from a 7/11 and drank that as I walked around an arcade full of takoyaki stalls.





I walked past the anpan store that I’d bought the pumpkin anpan from yesterday, and bought a yomogi anpan and a chestnut anpan because I am a sucker for Japanese anpan and couldn’t choose between the two. I also actually remembered to take a photo of the store, which is apparently famous.




Around 5, I returned to the Toyoko Inn and collected my bags, then took a train to Shin-Imamiya station, where the final hotel for this trip was located. In Kyoto, I had been warned about walking around the area at night, because it was supposedly full of homeless people, and therefore ‘dangerous.’ I thought that was probably just the perception of the person who had told me. She said she didn’t like homeless people, and I suspected that their presence made her consider the place unsafe. Nevertheless, I walked from the station to the hotel just that little bit quicker, and didn’t look anyone in the eye.

I checked into Hotel Raizen South, which was smaller and less impressive than I had expected it to be. I suppose that after staying at Toyoko Inn, anywhere I went would seem less than impressive. I was given a key to a room on the 7th floor, which was a ‘women only’ floor, where I discovered my tiny closet-sized room. It had a floor space of 3 tatami mats, and was about the same size as my bathroom at home. But that was all I needed.



The only furniture, aside from the folded futon, was a tiny table, a TV, and a mini fridge. There was barely enough room for my suitcase. But for $20 a night, who was complaining? It was Japanese style, so I was happy. I spent a while online, talking to my boyfriend (who I miss really badly), and trying to work out what I wanted to do tomorrow. It became 8pm really quickly, so I decided to go out and get some food to bring back and eat in the room.

There were an abundance of Family Mart convenience stores around, but they were all really small ones with limited dinner-type foods. I bought some salad and a few other little items from one of them, then decided to venture under this tunnel next to a giant pachinko parlour, where everyone seemed to be going. On the other side of the tunnel, there was a long, enclosed arcade full of sushi bars, izakaya, and ramen stores. I walked along it, looking at the plastic nigiri in the windows, and the legs of patrons at the noodle bars, whose heads were covered by the colourful noren curtains hanging from the doors. At the end of the arcade, the road opened up to more restaurants and street food vendors, lit by a strange combination of neon lights and golden lanterns. Images and statues of puffer fish and octopus emblazoned almost every eatery or food cart, and pub staff stood out on the streets, trying to rally customers to enter their eateries. I walked around for a little, then remembered that I was supposed to be buying dinner, not gawking at the ‘Japanese-ness’ of the place. I bought some takoyaki from a street vendor, who tried to pull out the English menu on me, but I’d already read the Japanese one, so ordered before he could label me as an illiterate gaijin. The takoyaki he placed inside my white polystyrene takeaway container were huge. He carefully coated them with special sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, and aonori, then tucked two little baggies of pickled ginger and spring onions (which were, as the store’s sign proudly boasted, ‘a free onion service.’)

I took my delicious-smelling goodies back to the hotel, and ate them along with the Family Mart salad, and some okazu that I had purchased at the food market near Toyoko Inn. I really hadn’t been that hungry before I started eating, and I thought I’d have some takoyaki left over to save for tomorrow, but I ate them all without even thinking about it. They were so delicious and gooey and ‘ball-ey,’ each with a juicy piece of octopus inside. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this dish before, let alone become addicted to it. Afterwards, I ate the kuri anpan that I had bought from the anpan shop. It was made with chestnut and white azuki beans, and was delicious and sweet without being sickly. I have definately become addicted to anpan in the last week. Then I was surprisingly still hungry, so I ate the yomogi anpan as well. This one was filled with tsuba-an, which was the original purple colour. Both were amazing.

The rest of the night, I just use the dodgy wifi and ate green tea chocolate in my room, because I was a bottomless pit and couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to buy more food. I also munched on a muesli bar that I’d brought all the way from Australia, but hadn’t bothered to eat.

I really don’t know what to do in Osaka tomorrow. I feel like I’ve been to all the main attractions, and I’m to disorganised to take a day trip somewhere. Maybe for my last day I’ll go down to Yoshino to see the cherry blossoms. But for now I really just want to sleep. Too bad the hotel is right next to a very busy and noise road. The no-sleeping trend continues!