Tokyo and the silent smartphone world

Tokyo, and the completely silent, insular world of modern communication.

Japanese smart phone use and the silence it creates


    • says

      Thanks. We certainly are. Myself very much included. As useful as they, they do suck up so much time, both in public and private.

  1. Squidpuppy says

    Couldn’t have got better were it staged; very nice. Also shows human nature’s preferred mean distance between texters LOL I imagine it goes on at infinitum to the left and right… BTW, what camera(s) do you use?

    • says

      Thanks! Yes, could have done with a wider lens…

      The vast majority of time (this photo included) I use a Leica M-E. Now and again a Nikon D300.

        • says

          It’s a lovely thing for sure. One I’m always eager to get out and about with as much as possible. Traded in my M8 to get it. Along with a few Nikon lenses I was sad to see go. But even despite the latter, it was more than worth it.

  2. says

    This is excellent, the spacing between them is so telling! I always love the way people are ether asleep or on their phones in public transport in Tokyo :-)

    • says


      Yeah, I think it’s a lot more telling than the phone use. In their own little worlds both mentally and physically.

  3. Dan says

    Why do so many people seem to think that the so called human preferred mean distance is a negative trait? Would you rather have people shanding shoulder to shouler even when there is a lot a space.

    • says

      That’s a fair point, and actually having some space is definitely a positive in a city like Tokyo. That said, it arguably does suggest a complete lack of interest/interaction with the world about us. Something that’s decidedly less positive.

  4. winnie says

    Cool!! Fabulous Shot!!
    I love this picture. :) All of them have different pose.
    The old man on the right (behind the pink shirt guy) is outstanding too!
    He must be thinking, “oh dear! everyone is using smart phone! Why!Then he sighed sadly…..

  5. GenjiG says

    Amazing shot Lee!

    It is often the samen here in the Netherlands. I sometimes feel awkward reaching for my phone while in a situation like this. We are more and more (not) connection…

    I do love my iPhone 5 though ^^

  6. Hokudai/Cast says

    A decade ago they would be staring out into space with bored looks on their faces. Which is better: texting, gaming, surfing the net, and watching music videos or looking bored and not interacting with anyone? Great shot.

    • says


      Yes, that’s very true. And anyway, before the smartphone it was mobile games. Before them the Walkman. Although arguably neither of them were so all-absorbing, or so widespread.

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