Leica M3

Outside "let's" Sapporo

Drinking Districts in Japan VI: Sapporo, and a Gruesome Start

I checked in to a decent hotel on the south side of the city and went out for a recce, walking north through the love hotel district, then “Soapland” – which I’ll leave to your sordid imaginations – and on to “Suskino”, the drinking and restaurant area. Nothing out of the ordinary on the way, …

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Leica M3 and Zeiss Sonnar

Drinking areas in Japan IV: Yurakucho with a Leica M3, Zeiss Sonnar and Portra 400…

Yurakucho is an area and station name, close to Tokyo station, between the expensive Ginza shopping area, the Imperial Palace, and the Marunouchi office, financial and shopping district. The area contrasts starkly with previous areas I have written about – it’s not a specific set of streets but restaurants and bars are scattered over the area and many are in the arches under the main train line. The focus is rather more food than drink and the clients generally don’t go to get drunk – though a proportion do end up that way – and are mostly out for a relatively inexpensive meal and drinks with friends and colleagues.

A Leica family

The (my) Best Leica

Leica rather missed the boat when digital came along so of course I’m talking about the best film Leica. And no, its not another “the M3 is the best camera ever made” review. But to begin, a bit of background.

My first ‘camera’ was a 4×5 I made with my father’s help, and a loaned lens from my uncle who worked at Taylor Hobson in Leicester, UK. The wooden box camera used glass plate negatives – remember those? Focusing was hit and miss, manually sliding the fat projector lens in and out until infinity seemed as good as it could get – then stopping down with a cardboard cut-out sleeve over the lens. I was a teenager and was making the camera for a single purpose – to photograph a comet which was easily visible stretching across the sky.

Drinking areas in Japan III: Shinjuku with a Leica M3, Zeiss Sonnar and iiig, Elmar 50mm f3.5, Portra 400 and Ilford HP5

On the east side of Shinjuku station is an area of half a dozen narrow streets, the “Golden Gai” in the Kabukicho district, formerly the post-war black market area and later prostitution district, now just small run-down drinking bars. On the west side is “Omoide Yokocho” (memory lane), essentially a single alley barely wide enough for two people to pass each other, known colloquially as “piss alley”.

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