I’m not sure where to start today as I’m still trying to catch my breadth from a wonderful once in a life time experience as a photographer I had yesterday. Yes, to me, a once in a life time experience.
I began this blog with a photograph I submitted to Ricoh’s 11th Annual Photography Contest “Radiance” and earned a “Performance Award”. The official awards ceremony was held Sunday, October 30, 2011 at the Ristorante Porto Faro located around the corner from Ricoh’s Ring Cube Photo Gallery in the Ginza District of Tokyo. The winning photos were displayed at the Ring Cube from October 26th – November 6th.
Living in the United States made it pretty difficult to impossible to attend due to my work schedule and the time and cost to fly from the east coast to Tokyo. My photograph was used for Ricoh’s 2012 calendar for the month of August and I was sent two calendars, a photo book with all the winning images, and a couple other Ricoh goodies. It was a very nice touch.
So this past week I’m informed that I’d be doing a trip to Tokyo with my company and my schedule showed that I may have a whole day in Tokyo, which is very abnormal to have. However, my day in Tokyo was yesterday Tuesday here and the Ring Cube is not open on Tuesdays. However, I emailed the Ricoh photo contest contact and said that I’d be in town and if possible would love the opportunity to say hello.
I received a prompt response back and they did confirm that the Ring Cube was closed Tuesdays but we could meet at their corporate office in Shinyokohama for lunch. One could not ask for more!
Then the day before I left for my trip I get another email that there would be a change in our itinerary if it was ok with me. They wanted me to now meet them at the Ring Cube and would open it temporarily just for this get together.
Oh my, what I have done now. I really wasn’t expecting any special treatment whatsoever as photography is a hobby for me and feel very fortunate to have been selected in this contest.
The night before leaving for my trip I had sent a PM to BBW at Serious Compacts forum of my trip and she mentioned that I should bring along some gifts as that is Japanese tradition. So on my way to airport on Saturday I stopped by our local gift shop and found some gifts that I thought portrayed a little bit about where I lived and the character of Brevard.
After flying on the airlines to Anchorage we picked up our trip from there and headed to Tokyo. Fortunately, the hotel I was staying in was a very short train/metro ride to Ginza taking only about 20 minutes and part of that time was me trying to figure out which train to get on and what ticket to buy.
I got off the metro at the Ginza stop and its located right at the heart of Ginza and that’s where the Ring Cube is located. I was a bit early and I grabbed a few shots before heading across the street to the facility. The entry is not very big and there were two gentlemen there that appeared to provide support for the building. The Ricoh Exhibition in the Ring Cube are located on the 8th and 9th floors and there are some other businesses located at lower levels.
Since the Ring Cube was closed on Tuesdays the elevator button to floor 9 did not work. The attendees did not speak any English but of course pointed to the sign that its closed. Ok, I was a little early. About then I believe it was Mori Yoshinori found me and explained to the attendees that indeed the Ring Cube would open for a bit after all.
Once inside the others began to arrive, Masaki Kimiko, Karima Tsuyoshi, Mami Ebisutani and one of the photography judges, Yukio Uchida. We had an incredible dialog about many things but they really wanted to know all about me and my interest in photography and especially Ricoh cameras.
I was then invited to see a new gallery display “RING CUBE 3rd Anniversary Candid Photo Exhibition “Famous People”” on the 8th floor and would be the first to see it as the show opened today. I saw some incredible black and white work dating back almost 50 years, it was definitely inspiring to see.
When we came back up to the 9th floor we prepared to head to lunch at the Ristorante Porto Faro but before we left I was hoping to get my calendar I brought signed. Well I didn’t have to as they gave me another one already signed along with the photo book signed too. What a class act! I then realized this was probably the proper time to offer the gifts I brought too. Hopefully they enjoyed the exchange as much as I did.
Yukio and I hit if off early on as he really liked the Gordy’s Strap I had on my Ricoh GXR. I also have an Optech connector I use on a modified Ricoh strap as a sling on the other lug. They were curious as to how and why I did that and when I showed them how it worked I think they liked that too.
Off to lunch we went and again I was flabbergasted at the wonderful place we came to dine. Just outstanding. The service was impecable and the food terrific.
During the meal I learned that Yukio had been to Hawaii many times and when I told him we had lived there a couple years we had even more talk about.
Then desert finally arrived and a new topic arose with Yukio and I. It seems we’re both coffee snobs or I should say we both enjoy fine coffee, especially well made espresso.
After our meal we said our good byes and took a couple photos.
I thank these wonderful people for providing an incredible once in a life time experience yesterday. One I will remember forever. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules and I hope to see you all again.