Tokyo has the Yamanote line, Osaka has the JR Loop line. Both are essentially circular train routes around the central parts of the respective cities. I had been thinking of this little project for a few years and finally had the time (and the wherewithal) to do it during my time back in Osaka over Easter break. The plan was to hop on the inner loop line (since it’s a loop, it runs either clock-wise (outer) or counter-clockwise (inner)) at Umeda and then hop off at every station, shoot the name of the station and try to photograph something of interest in the immediate location. In some cases, this was far more difficult than I thought it would be.
The first section of the line actually began service in 1898, with the entire line being completed in 1961. There are 19 stations and the distance of the circuit is just a shade under 22 km long (21.7 km, to be exact). This little project actually took me two days to complete. I initially thought that I’d be able to finish in one, but after 5 hours it was time for me to meet up with friends and I still hadn’t gone all the way around. I had to finish, or it would be all for naught, so I needed to go back the following day to get through the last five stations.
I’m not entirely sure if this was an overly unique, or even a successful project or not. I suppose you, the viewers, will be the judges of that. What was interesting for me, despite knowing Osaka quite well, was to see areas of the city that I hadn’t had reason to go to before. There are some very drastic changes as you go from certain areas to others. South Osaka in particular is noticeably less affluent. For my Vancouver folks, you could equate it to the lower East-side, minus the overt drug problem.
The other thing a bit unusual for me is that I shot all these digitally. Normally I shoot film, but I had planned on doing some night photography this trip (which didn’t happen) so brought along my DSLR. I also ended up applying various filters to these images. Mostly just for film types that I like because I find digital images to be “too perfect”. You’ll notice a few others have more significant filters applied. I figured if this was going to be an experiment, I may as well do a bit more to make things interesting.