Each year in late January or early February my family heads to Japan for our annual snow trip. We stay a few days in Tokyo, before spending a few weeks in Nozawa Onsen, a cultural little village with epic snow and traditional onsen bath houses scattered throughout the town.
In the lead up to my trip this year I put a call out for a family living in Tokyo who would be happy to let me into their home and see how they do life, in a city that I love. I had an amazing response to my call out, with so many lovely and interesting families getting in touch to show interest in participating in this family documentary style session that I had in mind. After finally narrowing it down, on a Saturday morning in early February, I headed to the charming village of Shimokitazawa, where I hung out with Natalie and Bede and their two adorable kids Aria and Coby.
It’s hard to believe Shimokitazawa, which has a bit of a bohemian feel to it as you walk by the vintage thrift stores, cute cafes and even a nursery, is just two stops on the train line from the hustle and bustle and neon filled streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya.
When I arrived at 9am the streets were empty and I strolled up the hill of a narrow laneway, passing by cute little houses and lots of dog owners on their morning walks. There were stray piles of snow on the sides of the footpath from the snowfall that hit Tokyo a few days before I’d arrived.
Originally from Australia, Natalie, Bede, Aria and Coby have been living in Tokyo for the past 18 months while Bede is on a transfer with his work. I was fascinated to hear the tales of daily life, from the morning office exercise routines at the office Bede works in, to Natalie’s daily juggle of university study and getting about life in a foreign city with the most intimidating train network I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Within moments of me entering the apartment Aria was quick to get down to business. After introducing her tribe of dolls, we set about photographing them before we had to take a break so Aria could get her hair done. With the morning routines out the way the morning flowed on. Aria pulled out her dance moves while Coby showed me his favourite books. There was bed bouncing, and acrobatic stacks on led by Bede, before we piled on the coats and boots to head out to the local park which happens to be in the grounds of a beautiful Shrine. As you scroll through the photos from the session check out Natalie’s amazing bike. These electric assisted bikes are everywhere in Tokyo, and this is how Natalie gets the kids to their daycare and does the shopping whether it’s sunshine or snow. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story of how this lovely family of four do life Tokyo style.
A big thank you to Natalie, Bede, Aria and Coby for making me feel so welcome in their home, letting me and my camera follow them around for a morning and showing me around their beautiful village.