Hey Adrian, Welcome to our “Expat in Japan” series! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself: how long have you been in Japan? What do you do?
My name is Adrian Rydz. I am originally from Poland, where I grew up in a small town. I have lived in Japan since 2015. I am passionate about exploring the streets of Tokyo, especially after dark in the rain. I love urban photography, however since the last year I have been working on another photo project that I would be happy to talk about in this interview.
Why did you choose Japan in particular?
I couldn’t get the thought of packing and moving to another country out of my head. I didn’t want to spend my whole life contemplating what to do so I stopped thinking too much, and I started making moves that will make me happier. So, I just moved to Japan haha.
What have you learned regarding photography from your experience in Japan?
I purchased my first pro-level DSLR camera at the end of 2016. What I’ve learned since then is that the gear doesn’t matter, but it does matter. Let me explain. I was interested in photography long before coming to Japan, but I could not get into professional photography without a piece of gear I have now.
If you’re just getting into photography, it doesn’t matter what you use. But when you become serious about it, you’ll have no choice but to invest in gear that will fit your work. Japan is the place that gives me the opportunity to do it and make my dreams come true, and I appreciate it every single day.
You have incredible shots of abandoned buildings on your IG account! How did you come to discover such places?
Thank you very much! That’s the project I mentioned at the beginning. I’ve been visiting and photographing the most beautiful abandoned places in Japan. They are truly unique places and I always try to create some interesting Instagram stories to share the special moments from my adventures.
As for your question… before every trip, I research and spend lots of time on Google Maps. Some of the places are easier to discover, but others can be much more difficult to find.
It seems like you really have explored Tokyo from a different point of view! What’s your favorite spot? And how many places have you visited in Japan?
Tokyo is a fascinating place that I love to shoot with my camera. I think it would be too difficult to choose only one place but if I had to… I would say the city of Shinjuku on a rainy night.
On the other hand, visiting all those unique abandoned places in Japan demands travelling all over Japan from the north to the south. It’s a lot of hard work, but this project allowed me to discover the beauty of the whole country that I live in. Thanks to this project, I was lucky enough to visit most of the main islands such as Hokkaido in the north and Kyushu in the south.
Let’s talk food now: what’s your favorite Japanese food?
Oh, I love Japanese cuisine. I’m especially crazy about eating sushi, ramen, shabu-shabu, and curry. Definitely can’t live without sushi anymore haha.
How often do you try out new restaurants? Do you prefer cooking at home?
I often try new restaurants on trips where I’m looking for small businesses run by elderly people. Those places have a special, unique atmosphere that you can’t find in all those chain restaurants around the country. Of course, the food there is amazing too! I like cooking at home. I think I may have mastered the ability to make the best homemade pizza in Japan!
Nice! We need to try it! It looks like you often work late at night, what’s your staple food when coming back home from a photoshoot?
Yeah, that’s definitely true. Usually I get back home very late when I’m shooting on streets in Tokyo. Rice is the staple food for most of the Japanese people, but I usually have some eggs and bacon to make my special toasts.
What would you suggest for tourists that want to have a unique experience in Japan? Something that is not found in your classic travel guide.
After a few days in Tokyo or another major city, I would suggest going and visiting more rural areas. Little towns in Japan are totally worth visiting, since they offer stunning scenery and regional food we can’t find in other places, and the people are wonderful.
Is there a place you still wish to visit? What’s your plan for the future?
There are lots of places I want to visit in Japan, however nowadays I’m focusing on my photobook that I want to release this summer. I want it to be a beautiful photo exploration into all of those unique abandoned places in Japan. Finally, I’m also setting up my own online store with prints. When I accomplish these goals, I will definitely go on a trip to more rural areas in Japan.
Thanks Adrian for your time and for sharing your experiences, it has been a pleasure to have you as a guest!
If you’d like to follow his work, please be sure to have a look at his: