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  1. #1
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Japan! My journey home.

    We returned last week after a whirlwind tour of Japan. In order to see our friends and family who are scattered throughout Japan in the most time efficient manner, we scheduled 5 main stopover points with 6 hotel changes. From each of these locations, we made several minor excursions every day. So everything had to be minimized including my equipment.

    Space and weight had to be kept to an extreme minimum so no tripod, no flash, no computer, no backup. I love street photography and I opted to take my Canon 5D and the 24-105mm f/4L IS as my main setup. But I also took a 16-35mm f/2.8L II (for extremely wide architectural landscapes and city scenes) and the 35mm f/1.4L (for night shooting). Initially I planned on using the 24-105mm around 70% of the time. It ended up that I used it more than 95% of the time. The internal stabilization is so effective and the zoom range on a full-frame camera is so ideal that, if I were to do it again, I would only take this one lens.

    I also took a Sanho hyperdrive to download all images each night. My bag was a Tamrac Velocity 5x (#5765) – a superb sleek street bag with enough space to hold the 5D with the 24-105mm attached and inverted (for quick shots) cradled between the 16-35mm and the hyperdrive - all under a reverse opening main flap (for security and quick access). The included waist strap converts it to into a fanny pack. But even as a shoulder bag (strap included as well), this relatively thin bag hugs close to the body making it ideal for city walking.

    Images not in chronological order. All handheld and most shot at intentionally slow shutter speeds.

    Image 1) Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo – the largest wholesale fish/seafood market in the world
    Image 2) Taxicabs waiting for business during morning rush hour in Sendai
    Image 3) A flower vendor in Tokyo
    Image 4) A monk and school girls in Nara (near Kyoto)
    Image 5) A shinkansen and businessman in Tokyo Station
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-5d2_0740.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-5d2_4585.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-01-0050-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-op-01-2131-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-tr-01-3913-.jpg  

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  2. #2
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Image 1) A bluefin tuna awaiting processing (Tsukiji market, Tokyo)
    Image 2) A fatigued worker trying to recuperate (Tokyo - underground)
    Image 3) A woman dressed in traditional clothing descending into the underground network of high-class shops and “roads” underneath Tokyo – literally a city beneath a city.
    Image 4) A businessman on his way to work in Miyazaki
    Image 5) Visitors enjoying a scenic view from a traditional Japanese “mansion” near Arashiyama (Kyoto)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-fm-01-0684-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-02-4618-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-05-0421-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-06-2804-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-ps-01-1923-.jpg  

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  3. #3
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Image 1) Auction of fruits, vegetables, and pickled food at Tsukiji market (Tokyo)
    Image 2) Orderly chaos of taxis in Sendai
    Image 3) A fisherman in the Oi River in Arashiyama (Kyoto)
    Image 4) Visitors lighting incense for good health outside the Great Buddha Hall (Todai-Ji temple) in Nara (near Kyoto)
    Image 5) A picturesque view from a restaurant in Rihga Royal Hotel (Osaka)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-fm-3-1788-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-01-4568-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-ps-02-1865-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-ps-03-2222-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-01-3853-.jpg  

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  4. #4
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Image 1) Workers sweeping the stone walkway using traditional stick brooms, Miyazaki Jingu (shrine) in Miyazaki
    Image 2) Rather “unusual” style of clothing worn by many high-school aged youths in Sendai, particularly popular in the Harajiku District in Tokyo
    Image 3) Obviously frightened child at the deer park in Nara (outside the Great Buddha Hall), near Kyoto
    Image 4) Night view in Tokyo
    Image 5) A visitor taking in the sight of a 1000 year old Japanese cedar at Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara (near Kyoto)


    More to come later.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-es-04-3064-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-03-4026-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fs-04-2171-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-02-0084-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-ps-07-2389-.jpg  

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  5. #5
    my venus butterfly moschika's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Wow! great shots. I really like the one of the fisherman kneeling in the river. Japan is definitely one of those "must visit before I die" places.

  6. #6
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    What a wonderful way to share your experience with your PR family. Thanks Loupey!! I can't wait for another installment. The 5D and the 24-105 was a wonderful choice as your primary setup.
    Don't forget about the Gallery. Are your photos there??


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  7. #7
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Spent nearly a year in Japan while I was in the Navy. Wish I'd been interested in photography at that time, but I did manage to take some 'touristy' pictures from time to time. Nothing like these though. Great job, Loupey.
    John
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  8. #8
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    We returned last week after a whirlwind tour of Japan...
    Nice shots. I love Asian imagery. Always a fun excercise in perception, as what's absolutely normal, even run-of-the-mill to the locals can seem highly exotic to Western eyes...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  9. #9
    Moderator Didache's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Some wonderful shots there - it looks like a photographers paradise.

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  10. #10
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Thanks for sharing these, Loupey. I find each shot interesting in its own way. I can wonder about each individual shown.
    Keep Shooting!

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  11. #11
    Liz
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    I love these photos! You really caught the spirit of your trip in these photos - human interest stories are included in the images. I enjoyed viewing them a whole lot. I hope you post more.

    Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Liz

  12. #12
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, everyone! It's been 25 years since I last visited Japan and I considered this a once-in-a-lifetime trip (with the kids able to go at the stage they are in before they get too wrapped up with school/activities/friends) - so to say I was excited about going would be an understatement

    A thoroughly enjoyable time virtually every minute we were there. We were worried about the weather because their monsoon season starts late May and lasts through the end of July. Everyone figured we would be rained out every day; but luck was on our side the entire time as it rained (lightly) on us only two or three partial days. Seems we were always ahead or behind the rains. There was even an earthquake on my son’s birthday there. This earthquake (magnitude 7.2) occurred shortly after we first arrived in Tokyo in the city of Sendai – the city of my father’s family and our next to last stop of the trip. Japan is earthquake-ready as they get minor quakes somewhere daily so this quake did no real damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Nice shots. I love Asian imagery. Always a fun excercise in perception, as what's absolutely normal, even run-of-the-mill to the locals can seem highly exotic to Western eyes...
    Steve, so true! I took my son to a sword museum there and the other people were all westerners. As for shooting the cities, I’m sure that people were watching me thinking “what is he shooting?” Probably like someone coming here and sitting next to a freeway photographing cars drive by. The “test” for me is what my hosts think of my images when I send them.

    When I started shooting, I would get looks that I can only describe as a combination of wonder/humor/disdain/disgust/embarrassment all rolled into one. Well actually something like what this fellow is giving below. The foreigners (me included) were so easy to pick out in more ways than one
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  13. #13
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    The "other" reasons...

    In addition to the “standard” list of reasons to go to Japan (work, military, family, culture, shrines, etc.), I would have to say there are three other main reasons:

    Shopping
    Eating (my personal favorite)
    Nightlife

    OK, the latest electronic toilets are nice and fun to use but I wouldn’t go there just for that! More than a bidet, just about every toilet now sprays your bum as well (you control the intensity) and some will even dry you on the spot. Most have heated seats. If that wasn’t enough, in one hotel lobby everything was touchless - the lid rises upon entering, you wave your hand over the flush sensor, your soap and water are dispensed automatically, and the heated air comes out from inside the wash basin.

    Back to the topic, Japan is a shopper's paradise. Anything and everything can be found in the high rise department stores or the street vendors or the underground malls. My favorite store is the Yodobashi Camera chain. Nine floors of merchandise (one floor just for toys, another floor just for photographic/optical equipment, another floor just for computers and iPod peripherals, and so on) – I have never seen so many Leicas as there were in each store. The Yodobashi store in Yokohama was so busy on the weekend that we had to get out of there. At one point, my son counted 23 people on the elevator with us (there is no such thing as "personal space" in all of Japan ). We had to take the escalator down 4 floors just to get out. Like salmon swimming the wrong way the entire time.

    Image 1) Outdoor shops just outside a train station in Tokyo
    Image 2) Pottery shop in Asakusa (Tokyo)
    Image 3) A shop that even sells fake food (typically sold to restaurant owners)
    Image 4) An aisle dedicated only for coin-operated toy dispensers (Yodobashi Camera, Tokyo)
    Image 5) A covered outdoor mall spanning several city blocks in Sendai (cars even cross these malls, and shoppers on bicycles traverse its lengths)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-sh-01-0209-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sh-02-0320-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sh-03-0324-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sh-04-0149-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sh-05-4084-.jpg  

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  14. #14
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Shop until you drop!

    Shopping continued...

    Image 1) A shopper's view of Ueno (Tokyo)
    Image 2) A food vendor of Ueno enjoying his craft
    Image 3) A Ching-Dong performer in Yokohama trying to attract attention for his sponsoring store
    Image 4) A dried fish vendor of Ueno
    Image 5) A vendor selling fruit at $1/piece in Ueno. Much better than the department stores selling one (1) mango in a gift box for $120 each. I also found that a pint of perfect cherries, arranged flat and in neat tidy rows and columns, in a gift box sells for $120
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-5d2_0273.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sv-01-0263-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sv-02-5112-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sv-03-0267-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-sv-04-0203-.jpg  

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  15. #15
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Who's Hungry!?

    Now to the food! Everyone was convinced that I was trying to eat my way out of Japan.

    Everywhere you look there is something delicious to try. The train stations alone are filled with fine cuisine, noodle counters, extravagant desserts, Starbucks, and sushi stations. Each restaurant and shop vying for your attention and welcoming you in.

    The restaurants can range from the ordinary (ramen counter shops for lunch or even McDonalds) at extremely reasonable prices to the exorbitant. My first morning trek allowed me to follow the busy businessmen around Tokyo. Seeing what they were eating, I ate a hearty breakfast consisting of a BIG bowl of steaming hot udon noodles with a side of rice topped with egg and pork – all for about $7 and served in less than a minute. At the other extreme, we were hosted to a shabu-shabu lunch on the 35th floor which directly overlooked the Emperor’s residence in Tokyo. Seated at the best window-side table and tended to by a very attentive server, the lunch of a lifetime easily cost our host over $100 a head. And eating at a hotel is financial suicide as they are often geared for businessmen/women entertaining clients. We had no choice when we arrived late to one hotel when every other restaurant was already closed for the night. We had a “light” dinner of club sandwiches, a few salads, and two desserts. The bill? $140. But the price of the moment, priceless

    Like the shopping, each outing is an indulgence in being treated like a guest. You are graciously greeted at the door, every worker within earshot welcomes you in, you are “presented” back your change or credit card, and everyone thanks you as you leave. When dining, the server will not bother you until you are ready. Many restaurants have a buzzer that you press when you are ready to order or if you need anything – and they are there in seconds.


    Image 1) A “shoe locker” (with wooden keys) in a traditional style restaurant on the top floor of a high rise in the Ginza district (Tokyo)
    Image 2) A shabu-shabu lunch preparation in Tokyo (the thinly cut slices of beef are boiled for a few seconds)
    Image 3) Uniquely decorated settings typically balancing space efficiency with function
    Image 4) A Yakitori chef doing his thing (not for the casual diner; even though yakitori translates to “cooked bird”, they use some weird parts of the bird - if you know what I mean)
    Image 5) A red snapper overlooking his own sashimi along with some tuna pieces in a Miyazaki buffet
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-re-01_0018.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-02_4667.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-03-4104-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-04-5017-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-05-3196-.jpg  

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  16. #16
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Are you full yet?

    More eats...


    Image 1) Typical dessert and coffee shop which can be found every few dozen paces it seems
    Image 2) An electronic fireworks display at Hanabe restaurant in Tokyo.
    Image 3) Unique fare at a Miyazaki dinner buffet
    Image 4) The largest restaurant I have ever seen. A breakfast buffet includes a map showing the locations of the various food choices and drink stations. Hapuna Restaurant in the lobby of the Prince Hotel Shinagawa
    Image 5) the waiting line for the buffet above. During the weekend, the waiting line had been three times longer and the hostess had to start two new lines in the middle of the lobby.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-re-06_1370.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-07-4988-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-08_3182.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-09-5287-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-re-10-5064-.jpg  

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  17. #17
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Ah, the night life...

    As with other large cities around the world, Japan’s cities don’t seem to sleep. Perhaps it’s because the sun sets at around 7 pm (it rises a little before 4 am local time). A steady stream of businessmen and women pour out of the train stations. Restaurant owners and store workers jostle to attract attention of everyone passing by. Narrow alleys fill with people eating and drinking, musicians play here and over there, a giant TV mounted on the side of a building plays commercials and sports clips overhead, the rumble of an overhead train grows and then fades away. Each night, every night.


    Image 1) A businessman emerges from beneath a train overpass (Tokyo)
    Image 2) A trio of happy musicians near “the gathering place” for businessmen and women in front of the train station (Tokyo)
    Image 3) Musicians of Kyoto
    Image 4) An elderly couple takes in the sights and sounds of the Gion district (Kyoto)
    Image 5) An elevated network of covered walkways connecting malls and offices to the train station (Tokyo)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-nl-01-0486-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-02-0500-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-03-1982-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-04-1963-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-nl-05-5027-.jpg  

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  18. #18
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Maybe it's just me...

    I'll leave you all for tonight with a scene that made me laugh (alone, in the dark, and in the middle of an intersection ).

    Shot in Tokyo. The crosswalks at this intersection were painted in every conceivable direction and I thought it might have been easier to just paint a big white square instead - allowing the people to walk anywhere within.


    Some more images/stories tomorrow. Good night.
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  19. #19
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    A blended culture

    Everywhere I looked I saw the powerful effect that the two vastly different cultures had on the people.

    Although somewhat blunt at times, the convergence seems acceptable and peaceful to the citizens.


    Image 1) A traditional-style restaurant along side Mister Donut (outdoor mall, Sendai)
    Image 2) I wonder what they're all thinking
    Image 3) The allure to the past is strong to even the younger generation
    Image 4) Different cultures reflected in a bridal store
    Image 5) Wedding reception party at the Prince Hotel Shinagawa
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-op-1-4020-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-op-2-2604-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-op-3-1887-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-op-4-3172-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-op-5_5144.jpg  

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  20. #20
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    This looks like one incredible trip Loupey! Thanks for sharing.
    Mike

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  21. #21
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs1973
    This looks like one incredible trip Loupey! Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks for looking, Mike. Hope not to drag this out too much longer. A few more posts ...
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  22. #22
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    How fresh is the food?

    The Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo was one of my favorite places to hang out, watch, and shoot. So much activity it was difficult to walk and shoot. I had to keep looking around constantly - behind me as customers kept trying to get around me, in front of me to get out of the way of the gasoline-powered tow motors, beside me to keep from getting splashed by water or blood by someone throwing some sort of sea creature around. I was told more than a few times to stand back. Their knives are long and the aisles narrow – so narrow in some places that people can only walk single file.

    The blue fin tuna was by far the king of the market. But creatures I’ve never even seen before could be found from within some of these Styrofoam boxes.


    Image 1) The tools of the trade
    Image 2) Filleting a blue fin - the double-handled knife is about 5’ long, end to end
    Image 3) A happy team
    Image 4) Frozen blue fin tuna getting ready to be carted off
    Image 5) A shrimp dealer portioning off smaller lots
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-fm-1-1668-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fm-2-0642-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fm-3-1540-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fm-4-0777-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fm-5-0647-.jpg  

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  23. #23
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    The end of the day is near, and it's only 8am

    At around 8am, things start to slow down and I saw people begin to relax. Some ate a snack, many drank tea, most smoked, and everyone seemed to enjoy the company of other fellow dealers.


    Image 1) A smoke break
    Image 2) A buyer's load being transported to his truck
    Image 3) A lone blue fin tuna sits unprocessed (for now)
    Image 4) Where the empty bins go (just out of view to the right is the recycling machine busily being fed)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-fma-1-1528-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fma-2-0828-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fma-3-1594-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fma-4-1572-.jpg  
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  24. #24
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    It takes a family

    I loved the fact that this market seemed to be a family affair. Fathers, wives, sons, and daughters all seemed to have their lives intertwined around the market.


    Image 1) Mussels being bagged for easier sale and transport
    Image 2) The “money ladies” keep the books from within their tiny wooden “rooms”
    Image 3) The daughter of the proprietor (I believe, based on my eavesdropping )
    Image 4) A money lady with a successful transaction completed
    Image 5) A customer and her child. A few other small children were present; but none old enough to walk otherwise they could easily get injured.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Japan!  My journey home.-fmw-01-0897-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fmw-02-0774-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fmw-03-0908-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fmw-04-0619-.jpg   Japan!  My journey home.-fmw-05-1730-.jpg  

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  25. #25
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    Re: Japan! My journey home.

    Wow, a lot of good shots, Loupey !!

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