Sunday, 3 October 2010

A neighborhood in Hirakata

I will never forget the first day I arrived in Japan in front of Seminar House 4. I carried my luggage through the cozy park in order to arrive at my new place in Seminar house 3. Walking for the first time through this park, I noticed the coffee shop called Café de Raffinee and some children playing around; however, I could not pay attention to any more details since I was rushing to the dorms.

Next weekend I went with one of my new friends to the park. After chatting for a while we decided to have lunch in the small coffee shop that caught my attention since my arrival in Japan. Once I entered the place, I discovered that Japanese families actually come to have lunch with their family, friends and/or neighbors. I was interesting to be the only foreign person in the coffee shop without a family or children.  As I observed some of the Japanese families from my neighborhood spending their Saturday with family members, I must admit that became a little surprised.

After a while, I revisited the place since we decided to celebrate Jessica’s 22nd birthday there. Being together with my new friends and seeing some familiar Japanese faces (from my first visit) was a nice experience.  After having lunch I went to the bench and I saw how small children were running though the water fountains and how older children were playing sports together or with a member of their family.

Unfortunately, I cannot speak Japanese very well and therefore I could not talk to the people for long time about the activities that they do during the weekend in this neighborhood.  I asked for permission to take pictures of them and they politely agreed. I am fascinated to see how Japanese families spend their weekends together – here activities are very different from the place I grew up. Every Saturday I walk through the park and watch them for few minutes- it makes me feel better…


  1. Many have written about parks in their neighborhood and I think it is a very appropriate focus as parks are places designed for neighbors to interact with one another. Many have written about the same park that you discuss here, but I am most happy with your focus as you examine the park in the daytime and observe how the local people are using it. Your curiosity, enthusiasm and respect for people is apparent. I am sure the local neighbors feel this way as well.

    You have some really wonderful photos here. Why do you switch between color and black and white? Just curious... I especially like the third and fourth photos.

  2. Sometimes I feel that some pictures should be black and white...
    I like to play with colors, sepia, black and white sometimes.

    Thank you for your comments!

  3. The black and white photo with the girl looking down has to be my favorite photo. Her position and her placement in the picture seem to harmonize extraordinarily. 10/10
    Your pictures show a very intimate pare of what you see, they help me understand Japan better.
    by anonymous a.k.a. luca