A surge of Tokyo pedestrians doesn’t shuffle. A Tokyo crowd moves like a current, its unity seamless and sychronized. On a rainy day, from above, the umbrellas of Tokyo drift like leaves in a stream, independent and incongruent, yet guided by a common momentum. Down the narrowest alleys and side streets, these lids flock together like birds, graciously careful to not encroach or collide. Even for the most urbane first-time visitor to the city, swimming in a Tokyo crowd takes guts and determination. Observing it from a vantage point is often more pleasant, and far less embarrassing.
I remember exiting the Harajuku JR station on a Sunday afternoon in September, expecting to photograph the over-the-top fashions of the gothic Harajuku Girls. What I saw instead were hundreds of other downcast, yet eager faces peering from beneath the rims of their umbrellas. Moving on through Harajuku in the rain, as the only person without an umbrella of my own, I wasn’t anticipating taking a picture at all that day. When I arrived at the top of Takeshita Dori, I decided I’d take the risk and get one quick shot of the stream below, before my camera became dangerously wet.
Harajuku Station is located on the Yamanote Line of Tokyo’s subway.
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Sunday afternoon is when the kids come out dressed up like a Jetsons nightmare.
Tokyo Pop (1988)