Photographs, quotes, thoughts and trees by Julie Walton Shaver


In Tokyo With You

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I think it’s so cool to have been able to document John and Kara’s home in Tokyo.

If you’d like to see the slide show from their session, shoot them an email. Or, if you missed the preview slide show from my trip to Japan, click here.

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    This is their Tokyo neighborhood. I wanted to capture a few shots that defined the community as being in Japan. It’s such a cool thing to live in Japan!

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    Come to think of it, ordering ice cream could really be just a pointing thing, no matter what country you happen to be in. “I’ll have that one” works just fine.

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    It wasn’t unusual to see Japanese women in dressy clothes in the playground. Love the sunvisor. I saw many people wearing those. Must be a fashion statement like sunglasses since it wasn’t even sunny.

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    You might recognize this one if you saw my preview slide show. It was so cool because I asked her to tell me some of her favorite things to do in Tokyo. She said she likes to read. So I said, “Grab a book for me so I can snap some pictures of you reading.” She reached down, and this was the first book she grabbed off the shelf. What luck I have!

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    She also liked to color. It just now dawned on me that it was an odd choice for me to convert this picture to black and white. I should ask my little friend to color it for me! (But I love it in black and white. The color version has a mixture of light sources causing her skin tone to look odd. See yesterday’s post that has a discussion about white balance.)

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    What a beautiful family! I think it’s such a great experience for kids to be immersed in a completely different culture for a few years. I’m sure they will never forget it!

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    You know how I love hands.

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    This one cracks me up. The little boy, first of all, was not too keen on climbing that old-fashioned jungle gym in Arisagawa park near their apartment. I think he was also a little bit intimidated by that little girl stalking him too.

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    Fave! Love this one.

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    Is that the coolest bed!? Love it!

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    You probably remember this one from the preview slide show too. One of my all-time favorite bed-jumping shots. I think it’s the dots on the wall that make it super cool and colorful and full of motion. It reminds me of an information graphic (that’s for my Times graphics friends who check out my blog now and then).

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    Beautiful kitchen too.

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    This is not the easiest shot to get. I mean, if you had a photo subject who really wanted the shot and was willing to hold still for a minute or two, it would be easy to get it just right, but I’m always working with kids who think photography is “point, click, done.”

    So, just in case you’re a kid who’s reading this and I’m going to photograph you some time soon, the formula is more like “point, check exposure, adjust three buttons, click, chimp, readjust, click, chimp, done.” LOL! That’s in an ideal world of course. In the real world I never have that kind of time, so you just get what you get from trying to anticipate where a kid is going to be a few seconds from now and hope for the best.

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    I love shots like this one! Doesn’t Kara look awesome! I’d frame this one and keep it on my bedside table.

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    Monkey in the middle.

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    This one is so fun!

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    I love this one too for the cool bokeh that blurs Kara in the background of that pensive expression, as if moms are always in the back of your mind, no matter what drama might be going through your head.

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    I learned how to use chopsticks while I was in Japan! Yay me!

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    This was in their favorite noodle shop and was the first place I went to in Japan that had REAL DIET COKE. I wanted to tell the waiter, “Forget the noodles, bring me 14 of these,” but I didn’t know how to say that in Japanese. I LOVE this picture. The kanji letters in the background are so cool and the colors are so vibrant. A little off-camera lighting works magic in a dark restaurant!

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    That’s an unportrait.

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    LOVE this one!

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    Man, you should have seen this one straight out of camera. Waaaaaay too dark. So cool that I shoot raw because I was able to adjust the exposure in photoshop and make this a useable picture that I really love.

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    Love this one too!

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    This awesome little hill is right next to their apartment. What a great place to scooter!

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    This picture was in the preview slide show too because I LOVE IT!!! I love how the focus is on the boy, and I love his expression, and I love the look on his sister’s face and the fact that she is slightly out of focus, and I love the watchful eyes of the parents walking behind.

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    Love the flying ponytail.

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    I like this one because of the action and the background that defines the playground where they hung out all the time.

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    There’s another nice action shot.

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    She had a framed picture in her room of her dad carrying her on her shoulders so we had to try for another one.

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    But I like this one even better.

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    Whistling.

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    Whistling. I remember when I first learned to whistle. I couldn’t stop either!

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    I love the natural smile on her face in this one.

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    They were reaching for koinobori, fish kites, that were hanging above in celebration of Children’s Day.

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    What a beautiful couple.

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    She has such pretty eyes and cute freckles.

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    And I think she’s a natural at posing for my camera, or not really posing but aware of the camera, and acting accordingly, as in this picture.

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    That’s a sweet one!

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    I didn’t get very many pictures of him looking right at the camera and smiling so I’ve decided that I really love this one anyway!

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    There’s a sweet smile!

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    See what I mean about her being a natural in front of the camera? We had a nice “fanless modeling breeze” that day too.

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    Check out the motorcycle in the background. I don’t even know where he’s coming from because I don’t think that’s a road. I think it’s a sidewalk. In any case, I love family walking pictures.

    Thank you so much, Kara and John! I hope you enjoy your pictures as much as I do! It was so great meeting you! Say hi to the kids for me!
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12 Responses to “In Tokyo With You”

  1. Adam Squier says:

    I really shouldn’t ever look at these images of Japan. Really makes me more homesick than I ever thought I’d be. And that Ice Cream? The choice is either Chocolate Mint or Love Potion 31. Hmmm. :D

  2. Steve G. says:

    Beautiful apartment and family. Is it really sort of like a never-ending vacation to live in as an ex-pat in a foreign city? That just sounds so fun.

  3. gina&tony says:

    these are so great! tony and i want to visit tokyo soooo bad and looking at these just made that worse, haha. i’m so jealous!

  4. I LOVE those kids rooms….how fun. This looks like such a great place to live and grow up. fabulous photos

  5. Kara says:

    Julie, Many many thanks for creating a piece that we will cherish forever. I wouldn’t have imagined how you captured expressions and moments that are always there, but never get “documented”. This to me is priceless. And Beth is right, when Tokyo thoughts begin to fade… we have this!! You are so very talented… I am envious, and in awe of what you can do! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the others too! Again, many thanks!

  6. Beth says:

    Am I really first again?? Goodness… I really have become a stalker, Julie! Love it, of course. Too many favorites, but how sweet is the whistling? And the picture of John and Kara is too beautiful. We miss you guys!! When time makes things start to fade, you’ll always have this three minute injection to bring back memories of your special years spent in Tokyo. What a perfect gift to give each other and the kids.

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