„Erhebt euch, widersetzt euch“

Never judge the book by it’s cover
Never cover the book with judge
Never book a judge to cover
Get up, Stand upmo1
mo2

mo3

mo5

These photo sessions started with the informal mood I like to put the “models” on ease. Mr. M was a former client of my shop Tattoo-Church back in Tokyo. We clicked together after several of his visits, and I had the idea of taking some of these photos
Clearly, his hair style stands out from the average Japanese crowd. Still a country so crusted with formalities, that the alone does not stand apart from being alone.
So, we started the “hair style project”. An informal way of pointing out that people do judge others by the look.
And I had to confess, so do I. As I wrote above, we clicked together after several of his visits.
My very first impressions were not so friendly to begging of. I think I’m just a crook bastard sometimes.. yes, please don’t judge
mo6
mo7
おばちゃんがスーパーのレジに並んでる時に後ろから、”あんたその髪どうやってシャンプーするの?”っていきなり聞かれた。そういった話からこの企画がスタート。
人は見た目で判断する。それは正直俺もそうだし。今回紹介するMさんも同じく。最初は俺もチャラオだと思った。すみませんMさん(笑
まあ本人も俺の第一印象は”怖い”だったそうである。俺は慣れっこだけど、でもやっぱりちょっとショック(笑
今になっては笑い話に出来るいい思い出だが。
タトゥーは時間をかけて作り上げて行くものなので、お互いのコミュニケーションから絵のタッチや好みが解り、徐々にその距離は縮まって行く。
音楽、食べ物、女の好みまで(笑
それがまた彫りに来てもらった時に、その人の顔を思い浮かべながら作業台にマシーンや色を並べながらその日の作業と会話を考えるのが楽しみなんです
mo9
mo10
また東京戻ったら飲もうぜMさん!

Time goes by 2

It’s a strange feeling when suddenly you are taken out of your familiar environment, and then you watch from outside as a simple viewer.

For many years I had the opportunity of working at Shimokitazawa. It’s a small little town cramped with tiny shops, cafes, theaters, live music joints and bars.
I hanged around first in the music clubs, or as in Japan they call live houses.
Back then, not that was a dangerous area, as it is hard to find a real dangerous area in Japan. But it had a certain dark and why not, a depressive vibe.
It could be the old rust buildings. It could be the strange characters that were attracted to the bars. People that usually wouldn’t hang in Shibuya or Shinjuku areas, too “hype” for those misfits.
Shimokitazawa offered on its small alleys a place for those outsiders to hide from the sunlight.

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Now the area surrounding the station are going through major changes. The train that was crossing and cutting the town in half, lays deep underground. No more traffic, no more crossings that made people stuck for long minutes during the train rush hours.
Also, no more sound. No more sound of the train clinching wheels, station speakers and voices of people from the platforms bouncing in the ceiling and echoing through the streets.
The area turning according to governmental and corporation plans. A clean, safe and business minded. One more area for shopping. One more attraction to be consumed.

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In this deep and dark surroundings lay my memories. Good times I had here, but no tears, no regrets.
I can say that I had the opportunity of working in the golden ages of this town. Like time, it does not stop. It keeps moving, it keeps changing.

When first I opened the shop, I had to face obviously the fear of unknown. Many neighbors surely wondered what I was doing.
Diabolical plans? Conspiracy? Or pure mind crime?
Answers never were the point. Questioning was a true exercise .

My way of dealing with these preconceptions were rather simple. Waking up earlier than anybody surrounding, cleaning the shop front, making sure no drunks would be laying on the way of passerby’s.
Simple simple . Hard hard, if you do that as a mantra for decades. In the end, I was able to feel comfortable in a place I could call my city, my neighborhood .

True believer that the micro-cosmos of that town would be the foundation of my work. The anti-these of globalization and the banal, the common sense.

Having a home base, a place I could play my cards and knowing that I couldn’t be cheated. Comfortable, easy to get used. Not for a free spirit like me, not enough to sit in some throne and accept people bowing and kissing my hand. Screw that…

I looked above my shoulders, I looked above my next possibilities. And I accepted my fate, my first step to the unknown.

I’m not being nostalgic. Not either lost in the transitions. Just accepting the flow and embarking to a new trip, even if that means starting from the very deep once again.

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Always there’s a way when there’s a will

Time goes by

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下北沢駅が本格的に地下化して、その以前の姿からどんどんかけ離れていく。僕も、周りの人も驚き、戸惑い、そして期待も含めて見守るしかないんだろうか?
そもそも開発計画は企業の物であり、反対も賛成もないんだが、時代の反映として町も機能的で災害にも耐用出来る事も大切である。

しかし、その流れの中でやはり裏では計画的に町全体の”クリーン化”作戦も確かに実行されている。
僕も下北に来てからは、その都度変わっていく姿を目撃しているし、そしてそれに対する共感の部分も多々あった。
なぜなら、下北沢は今からは想像も出来ないほどもっとダークで汚いイメージがあったからだ。個性的と呼んでもよかったであろうが、ハッキリ言って迷惑な輩もいたのも確かである。
そういった方々は徐々に町から消え、下北はおしゃれのシンボルとして生まれ変わっていた。

タトゥーショップをそのような状況の中でキープしていくにはやはり正直大変であった。自分が一つのルールとして、商店街の誰より早く来て店の前の道路やテナントビルの階段を掃除したり、昼間はポイ捨てされてるタバコ等を気づいたら拾う。全て小さなアクションに過ぎないが、こうして少しづつ地域の方々の理解を得る、そしてもちろん自分自身も気持ちいい環境で仕事が出来る。
今振り返れば僕は色々な意味でツイテいたと思う。場所も借りるとなった時も地元の人の計らいがあったからこそ話もスムーズに進んだし、当時はハッキリとそのパイプを持っていない場合は物件すら借りるのも難しかった。

まあここで”あの時は。。。”と懐かしんでもしょうがない。時代は動くし、自分もいい時期にここでショプをやらしてもらったのはうれしい。
姿形はこれからもっと変わるだろうし、そして僕もまたここに戻った時、遊びに来た時にはまた別の街、別の時間として受け止める事が出来ればまたそれはそれでエンジョイ出来るでしょう。

アディオス!いつも元気でな、下北よ。。。

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