Camera shy Japanese (2004-05-29)
Often times when the news shows the house, apartment or school which
a victim of crime lives or attends, the entire screen is obscured.
The image doesn't return to normal until the structure is no longer
shown. It's like you see a reporter, followed by a full screen of
blurred image, and back to the reporter. What's the point of
showing it in the first place? It contributes nothing to that
A few months ago when Japan was beginning to send troops to Iraq,
some of the wives of the armed forces were interviewed on the
news. Every woman's face was blurred by mosaics and her voice altered digitally to
hide her identity. All they had to say was how much they would
miss their husbands and hope for their safe return. Who knows why
it's so shameful to stand up and declare support for loved ones who are
risking their lives to help rebuild war-ravaged Iraq.
Yesterday I was shopping in a pet shop and saw a young couple
browsing with a tiny raincoat-wearing dachshund in tow ( it was
drizzling on and off the whole day). I thought I'd take a shot of
it to post it on my site so I approached the man and asked if I could
take a picture of his dog. He eyed me suspiciously and
hesitated. He then told his female friend my request who gave me
the same look and said, "Why? What for?" I was actually thrown
back by their response because I only wanted a picture of their dog and
not them. Gosh forbid I should ask to snap THEIR faces. I
know Japanese people are chary of having their pictures taken, but
their pets too? I didn't realize dogs' privacy was so fiercely
guarded by their owners as well. Anyway I told the couple I just
thought the dog was cute and I liked taking pictures of animals.
I think out of politeness, they let me snap a couple of shots
half-heartedly at the end.
So next time you wonder why most of my Japanese people shots are taken from behind, you understand the reason.
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