Photography: Chitose’s Carrot Shop

Every time I’ve been to Hokkaido it has been via Chitose. I don’t know anything about Chitose except that it has an airport and Ninjinya (人参屋). Ninjinya – Carrot Shop – looks wonderful in the dim snowy light and the photo above is one of my favourites from last winter’s trip. All that traipsing around in the wilderness north of Kushiro and the best photo – or the one that gets me excited – was just around the corner from the first hotel on the first night. But I don’t know what appeals to me about it. It’s just a shop in the snow at night. Must remember to photography it again and again and again next time.

This photo below, pretty mundane in all honesty, also ignites something that’s difficult to describe. Perhaps it’s the excitement and expectation of the journey ahead, the first encounter with Hokkaido’s snow for the year, my winter boots barely visible tucked away neatly by the bed ready for the day ahead. Japanese business hotels – I know what I’m getting and I know I shouldn’t be there but they trick me every time. Stay away.

And then there’s the quiet subzero night time izakaya street. Too cold to stay outdoors for long unless you’re an inquisitive outsider wandering with a Leica and a roll of film, reminiscing of the days when a Saturday night meant more than an early night preparing for a morning hike the following day.

Shot on my Leica M6 and a roll of Fuji Superia 800 because I miss film.

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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