This picture has nothing special visually, though for me it is a very important one, because I saw something essential happen :
In this image, scene happening in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit, a “salary man” ignores the agitation of the Matsuri and fends his way through people. As he gets through, and finds more space, he brushes past a Matsuri official on “crowd-control/security” duty. None of them seem to mind each other. But this kind of proximity seen the available space is uncommon. Immediately, I see the duality. Both are a side of the same coin, both a side of Japan that meets on the street without noticing each other. The workaholic stereotype meets the stereotype of tradition and spiritualism.
Their body position is also remarkable : the one perfectly stoic, impassible, as the stereotype dictates. The other, on the move, moving and facing away from me, symbolically rushing to his own stereotypical death - karōshi - death from overwork.
Both are holding an object in the same hand, the worker holds the iconic transparent umbrella, whereas the matsuri part-taker has a traffic control stick at the ready. Their hands almost touch each other, reinforcing the impression that the worker is the Matsuri official’s dark mirror image.
This mediocre shot is important to me because I managed to take the shot, while fully realising all this. The symbolism at work in this scene was the reason for which I aimed the camera in the first place. It was a split second feeling and I acted on it. A photographic satori of sorts.
Eiwachōkai at the Shibuya Matsuri 15th of September 2013.
Shibuya, Tōkyō, Japan.
TMAX 400 - Roll III - Frame XXIII