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Tokyo-X-Vario: View Japan Through a Leica

Image taken with Ricoh GR-D IV. 1/42 sec F/1.9 @ ISO 400

It’s always been a romantic concept of mine to wander the streets of Tokyo with a Leica. I know I’m not alone as there are a few ‘foreigners’ in Tokyo who have become quite well known in the photography blogosphere as Leica photographers. I’ve been back to Japan many times, and I’ve taken a variety of cameras over the years: Argus, Minolta, Fujifilm, Ricoh, Pentax, Canon, Panasonic; but never with a Leica. 

But why a Leica? I don’t know why really. Is it perhaps because both the Leica brand and the Japanese culture seem to both be entrenched in tradition, but at the same time adapt to the present without forgetting their past? Is it the red dot? Is it because of that movie with Clint Eastwood? Who knows…

Either way, this dream of mine was solidified years ago when I found a rare 1939 book entitiled “Japan Through a Leica” by Ihee Kimura. He bridged his specific tool (the Leica) with a specific project (life in ‘modern’ Japan of the 1930’s), and went one step further by giving stats on every image shot, including developing times and specs!! He was the original camera-photo-nerd hipster!! Anyways, this was too much for me to handle. 

So I’ve decided to do my own ‘Leica in Japan’ project called Tokyo-X-Vario. Yes it sort of rhymes, but more than that, it well describes what I’ll be doing for a month: wandering the streets of Tokyo with a Leica X-Vario camera. I’ll be posting pics on Instagram, Twitter and this blog throughout the month, and I’ll finish off with a review of the camera itself once I get back to Canada. 

Moreover, I’m really looking forward to starting this new project. I hope to take some great pictures with the X-Vario, but equally I want to meet new people, especially Leica-fans! Mijonju? Japan Camera Hunter? Shoot Tokyo? Here comes Bigheadtaco with a digital Leica!! I’ll be in Tokyo and ready to shoot this coming Saturday, so look for my first post a couple of days after that. In between I’ll be regularly posting to my Instram and tweeting.

I thank Eric Kerwin of Leica Canada for making this project possible by loaning me the X-Vario for a month. My previous review highlights the fact that the X-Vario is a great street camera, but I’ll have time to use it for other things as well. Let’s see what this Leica can do in the land of the rising sun!! Happy shooting!!