I was not a photographer when I lived in Japan twelve years ago. Sure, I took more than a few snapshots during my visit, but I have always regretted the fact that I didn’t have the passion for photography that I have now. In many ways it feels as though 12 months of photo opportunities passed me by and it’s difficult not to feel a small twinge of regret for those lost moments. One in particular stands out as the photograph that got away and I remember, even back then, that I was disappointed not to have captured it on camera.
I was 23 when I first arrived in Tokyo and already fairly well traveled having undertaken the 3 month backpacking trek through Europe that is almost a right of passage for Aussie University students. Still, the bus ride from Narita airport to our hotel in Tokyo was eye opening. I remember looking up at the enormous apartment buildings with thousands and thousands of identical windows and wondering what it must be like to live in such a confined space. I was a long way from my suburban Melbourne home and, for some reason, this image was the one that made it a reality.
When we traveled back to Japan in October, I tried to capture this image on camera. It’s not perfect – taking photos out the window of a speeding train has its challenges – but I was grateful to have captured, on film, this memory of my first visit to Japan. To me, it’s much more than just a photograph.