Hello, it’s me, the designer Kenichi Tanaka. Usually, I mainly work on graphics and web design and production but recently, I’ve become a photography enthusiast, and I’ve been tasked to photograph small-scale interviews.
I was in Musashi Kosugi and Shinmaruko the other day with my teammate Watanabe to gather information and conduct interviews for Mitsui Fudosan. This real estate company is going to build a condominium in the area, and we were tasked to create content for its website, specifically, pieces that introduce the area where the condominium will be built, so we went around and photographed some shops. Going into a store to talk and ask for permission to photograph is different from going into a store as a customer, so it was something new to me that I’d like to share with you.
More than anything, I think that gathering information means gaining a deep understanding of the store and the people who own or manage it. By actually talking to them, you can discover all kinds of things. These include information that isn’t visible to the eye, things such as behind-the-scenes concepts for the store or the food, the hardships that they have undergone, and things that they are particular about and won’t compromise on.
Some of the people whom we talked to is a sundry goods shop owner who has always dreamed of owning such a store, that she quit her job and completely changed her life. There’s the third-generation fish shop owner who inherited the shop from his grandfather. There’s the happily married couple who has had a store selling small birds for the past 60 years. Obviously, starting from scratch requires a great deal of effort even if it’s just a small store, but in these efforts are people betting their lives to achieve their dreams, and all kinds of exciting and emotional circumstances.
I only spent a short time talking to them, but having a glimpse of the lives of people who work in different fields from mine was fun, and it was a learning experience. I realized that this is precisely what’s interesting about gathering information and interviewing people. Truthfully speaking, there are many things that cannot be conveyed unless you go there yourself, but I aimed to take pictures that convey the personalities of the people I met, and the atmosphere and vibe of their stores as much as I could. Finding a composition, and finding an expression that best shows who the person is was difficult, but also a lot of fun at the same time.
Some of the pictures that I took were uploaded at the website below. Please do take a look at the photos and the content that we also created.
Mitsui Fudosan Residential Park City Musashi Kosugi The Garden (Walkable Compact City)
This is “COMMON LIFE,” a cute sundry goods shop that carries hand-made items created by artists.
We dropped into a workshop for kids drawing pictures on chalkboards in “Atelier CUI CUI,” which has a lovely interior.
The second and third generation heads of “Nakasada Fresh Fish Shop.” They had a lot of customers even on the day we interviewed them.
Greengrocer and cafe “Mesa Grande” serves easily digestible lunches, and sells local vegetables from the Kawasaki area at its entrance.
Energetic Nepalese servers at “Kappo Kozuki,” located in the part of town in front of the train station teeming with bars and pubs. This place is always full and lively.
This is Mr. Koizumi of “Koizumi Farm.” He grows vegetables and strawberries, and holds “farm festivals” in his fields.
They created the very lovely interior of this shop called “JOURNEY MAN,” a combined flower shop and hair salon, all by themselves.
This married couple has been operating “Shinmarukoen,” a shop selling small birds in front of the train station for the past 60 years. They told us a lot of stories, and before we knew it, we stayed for a long time.
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