Back in the day when I first started listening to Japanese pop music (J-pop) (think early 90’s), I had a fascination with one artist, Shinohara Ryoko. She wasn’t the prettiest of girls, nor was she the best singer; I just liked the attitude that she exuded when she sang—perhaps I should thank her producers for that.
She was one of the core members of a larger group of girls, forming the girl band, Tokyo Performance Doll (TPD). I even bought her album, including her spin-off album when she went solo. Over the years, the group disbanded, and I moved on.
On my latest trip to Japan last year, I was wandering around Odaiba when I encountered this setup, seen above. It struck me by surprise since I hadn’t heard of that group name for the longest time. Looking at the group of girls on the sign, I jokingly said to my wife, “I wonder if Shinohara Ryoko will be here.” She immediately dismissed my remark thinking it was a childish comment. Hey, I were able to meet a Japanese pop-singer-cum-actress, I would gladly take the opportunity! Shinohara Ryoko was noticeably missing from the sign, so instead, I decided to take this picture for the sake of commemorating this event in my life.
That’s when the girl sitting next to the sign spotted me as she was taking a sip from her water bottle. With her mouth full, she knew she had to do her job. She quietly put down her bottle and lifted up a sign that said, No Photos. I was oblivious to the sign since I was busy framing this shot until my wife tapped me on the shoulder and urged me to put the camera down. Sometimes I can be so focused on a task!
Walking away, I see another couple approach the sign. The husband takes a look at the sign, and says to his wife, “Hey, I wonder if Shinohara Ryoko will be here!”
For that split moment, I felt proud to be a fan of her during her heydays.