Old Japanese Photographs When we moved into our awesome (very) old Tokyo house, I was half-expecting to find interesting leftovers in some of the thousands nooks and crannies of the place. It turned out to be spotlessly clean and empty.

However, in the process of turning our room into a giant LED-lit wonderland yesterday, I happened upon a small worn-out paper bag, tucked in the small interstice between the wall and the hook-supporting wood panel near the ceiling, filled with a bunch of black&white photographs…

The first photographs, in smaller format, seemed to have been shot at some formal event (a wedding?), featuring close-ups of a younger lady in kimono. Hard to pinpoint a date, but easily more than 40 years ago. By that point, I was already pondering whether I should turn over these heartwarming mementos to the landlady (whose family presumably were the last tenants, some time before we moved in), or could claim prescription and keep them in good conscience…

Then I flipped past the first few and understood why these had been carefully hidden behind a wood panel in a corner of the bedroom…

Porn Photo Stash

Yes: I had found one of the previous owners’ secret porn stash from the 70s.

I guess I might hold off on contacting the charming little old lady I pay rent to every month.

Update: I originally abstained from posting the non-nudie pics on the off-chance that they would incriminate some long-retired (/long-dead) philanderer somewhere. Upon further reflection, the odds that anybody in a position to personally recognise them would ever land on this page being astronomically low, here they are:

Japanese Dinner (there are about 5 or 6 more, all near-identical re-shoot, with slightly different angles)

When I first glanced at them, I surmised a wedding dinner or some such. In light of accompanying material and upon further review, I would say it is clearly a much less family-oriented event. My guess is “business” dinner at some onsen retreat. Whether extra “services” were provided by the female personnel, or the pictures merely fueled the secret fantasies of our pin-up collector, we probably will never know…
It is also hard to tell from my crappy keitai copy, but these shots are quite crisp and detailed for amateur photographs, leading me to think they might be a little more recent than the pin-ups (early 80s?).

As Pierre and I were pondering the next stop on our week-long tour of Japan, I remembered a stunning picture I had seen in a special Brutus magazine issue on countryside minshukus a few years ago. I looked up what turned out to be the village of Ainokura (part of Gokayama town), in Toyama-ken.

Driving past the still-quite-urban town of Jōhana, the last few km of mountain roads and never-ending tunnels magically opened into some Lost Valley-like landscape, with a dozen thatched-roofed houses lying at the bottom. We spent the night there (half the village is minshuku, the other regular farmers) before resuming our trip south through the much more touristy but still very picturesque region of Shirakawa.

Definitely on par with Iya for surprisingly preserved piece of old-times Nipponia.