Yesterday, my daughter drove me and my wife to Kami-Ooka, a town south of Yokohama. We had already been there two weeks earlier, and as I had no business accompanying the ladies on their shopping spree, I spent a little over an hour walking around with my camera, in the area around the station that is crowded with people and tall buildings. Quite naturally, the tour also led me to a place that I always visit, and that I have decided to refer to as my “oasis number three.” On one side of a 50-meter stretch of a narrow alley between the back of a store and the Keihin Kyuko line, there are several juice stands, and sandwiched between them, a number of ashtrays are admirably standing and waiting for smokers like myself. There’s always a bunch of folks, guys and ladies alike, puffing away on their cigarettes as if there was no tomorrow. One of the bars has some concrete steps in front of it that are just right for sitting on, and in that “oasis,” I like to spend some quality time smoking while observing the neighborhood through my pocket camera, and taking the occasional snapshot. There are quite a lot of ladies, and also many blue-collar type guys, and they all come together here for a chat and a puff.
Back home, I found myself alone in the kitchen at night, and while having another cigarette or two, I reviewed the results of my own shooting spree in the alleys of Kami-Ooka. “I guess two or three of them will be alright for Record,” I concluded while thinking about the next issue. I remembered also photographing a long line of people and wondered what they were queueing up for, while lighting another cigarette. Another day in the life of the photographer that I am was casually drawing to an end. And tomorrow, I thought, I’m going to take a stroll around Ofuna.
(Number one and two of my own private oases are places that I carry in my heart, and I won’t tell anyone about them, unless they’re heavy smokers just like me!)