A Year in an Instant


Day 22

Instant photo for Day 22 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


I’ve ordered my Halloween costume. I’ve ordered my Japanese study book. I’ve ordered my contact lenses. I defined my desired routine and next steps. This week I still have to open a bank account, get a phone contract and a gym membership. And I need to sleep more.

This is a photo of the Shibuya crossing at night.

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Day 21

Instant photo for Day 21 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


I ordered 40 boxes of 20 instant films from China. I take about 3 to 4 photos a day so this supply is going to last about half a year.

The parcel took 4 weeks to arrive. I ordered everything with the help of my friend Star through the Chinese marketplace Taobao. Taobao is a website similar to Amazon, but you interact and negotiate with the sellers directly using a chat client. You can negotiate, ask questions and arrange deals in real-time. For this reason it takes some time to find a really good deal. Star was chatting with multiple sellers and shipping companies for two days before placing an order. In the end the total cost of the order was 4042.29 or £416.46 including shipping. The same order would have cost me £631.92 on Amazon UK.

As I placed the order before moving to Tokyo, I asked my friend Shiho if I could ship the parcel to her address. The photo above is the box of instant film next to my backpack in Shiho’s apartment.

Day 20

Instant photo for Day 20 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


The three of us were enough to pack the elevator. From the 9th floor you could see the Shibuya station and the crossing clearly. The sky is cloudy. There was hip hop music playing. We walked in, ordered shots, standard procedure. Started talking to everyone, started dancing. I woke up a few hours ago.

Day 19

Instant photo for Day 19 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos

Today I had some late welcome drinks. My oldest friend from Japan, Masa, organised everything and invited everyone. We booked a table at the izakaya Watami (和民) in Shibuya for 3 hours with a set food menu and all-you-can-drink plan.

On this photo you can see from left to right: Yutaka, Ryo, Seiya, João, Hatsuki, Ichiro, Diana, Shun, Alex, Haru, Yoko, me, Minami, Asuka, Tom, Ayaka, Beer, Ivy, Tiago, Shinobu, Satomi and finally Masa.

Day 18

Instant photo for Day 18 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


Today I was a tour guide for two of my oldest friends: Ivy Clark and Tiago Alves.

I can’t think how different everything would have been in my life if I never met Tiago. We are two Final Fantasy geeks. We learned programming together when we were 14. At that time we built a surfing game for Nokia’s S60 OS written in ActionScript 2.0. It’s quite special to me that we are here together.

We visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Walked to the Meiji Shrine. Harajuku, Omotesandō and finally Shibuya.

The photo above was taken this afternoon at the Meiji Shrine while a wedding ceremony took place.

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Day 17

Instant photo for Day 17 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


Today Shiho introduced me to Luis, a Spanish illustrator based in Tokyo, who offered to show me around the Midoriso 2.0 coworking space. Despite being located in the fancy and fashionable area of Omotesandō, this place has a cool, relaxed and slightly hippie vibe. Before entering the Midoriso building you must walk through an entrance garden filled with food and booze stalls named Commune 246, akin to my favourite street market: Broadway Market, in East London.

More friends joined us before entering Midoriso. Diana, João, David and Adrian. Diana and João are friends from Portugal, recently moved to London and aspiring to switch to Tokyo. David and Adrian are two very talented illustrators based in town.

I had a glance at Luis’, Adrian’s and David’s work. They were making sketches of dogs and discussing how dogs never appear in traditional Japanese illustrations. They were all sketching dogs because Luis’ current client was a company Dog&Walk. His sketch of a Drever wearing yellow rain boots was particularly adorable.

I was inspired by the friendly environment of the working space. Everyone from creative disciplines works under one roof, independently, and quite often collaborate with each other. Luis mentioned that once you work at Midoriso you can get about 50% from within Midoriso. This seems like a great place for freelancers settling in.

We had a baguette from a small stall nearby. I spotted some interesting looking coffee shops while we strolled, including the California coffee chain Blue Bottle. We checked out some art exhibitions that were happening that night. It was a relaxed quality time evening.

Luis invited me to sign up for a website called Canvas (canvas.co.com), built by a Tokyo-based designer to give the community a place to post their details and work. I sign up at the end of the day.

On the group photo above you can see us in front of the baguette stall. From the left to the right there is David, Shop Owner 1, Shop Owner 2, Shiho, Mika, João, Diana, Luis and me.

Day 16

Instant photo for Day 16 of “A Year in an Instant” by Nuno Coelho Santos


Today is an unusually busy day at the office. Models walking in and out accompanied by makeup artists, stylists, hairstylists and other staff every minute. I took a seat by the entrance to keep up with the action. Today is the second day of the Tokyo Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. One of the shows is happening on the floor above and the changing room is here.


Terry Betts, a friend and coworker at Thread, introduced me to two of his friends who were visiting Tokyo this week: Tatsuo and Yamazaki. Yamazaki happens to be the name of one of my favourite Japanese whiskey brands.

I met with Tatsuo and Daniel who was travelling to Tokyo with him. We had Okonomiyaki in Shibuya at Bow’s Door. This time it was a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki: a version with more layers, spring onions and cabbage.

Yamazaki and Toda joined us soon later and we visited one of Tetsuo’s favourite music bars: JBS, which stands for Jazz, Blues and Soul. We opened the thick wooden door and heard the music coming from the large speakers at the back. The all-wooden walls made me feel like I was inside a music box. On both sides of the room you see rows of vinyls. The bar could accommodate no more than 10 customers and had about 4 by the time we walked in. The only other person was the owner behind the bar.

I ordered a Yamazaki, neat, and cheered with everyone else. We chatted amongst us and with the other customers, it was like we were all part of the the same group. I made my leave after my drink but I wish I would have stayed longer. I will have to come back again.

On the photo above you can see Daniel Todd sitting down, Toda Makoto standing up on the left and Yuji Yamazaki standing up on the right.

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