Saturday, July 30, 2016

Poké-Hunting Under a Tokyo Moon



Tokyo’s surreal and shadowy world of Pokémon Go after dark

The Washington Post  Photos by Tomasz Lazar. Writer Nick Kirkpatrick   July 29, 2016


Hundreds of Pokémon Go players gather late at night in Tokyo’s Kinshi Park. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

It’s well after midnight. Dim colorful street lamps illuminate hundreds of people otherwise cloaked by the darkness of one of Tokyo’s public parks. But from the shadows, a bright glow emanates like a spotlight, revealing faces transfixed on its source. The people are mostly quiet. But on occasion, one will scream, causing a crowd to gather at the spot where a rare Pokémon was caught.

Welcome to Tokyo’s surreal and shadowy world of Pokémon Go. It’s been a week since the addictive game was released in Japan, where on its first day it was downloaded by more than 10 million people.

Pokémon Go players stand close to a gate near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

Players wander Tokyo’s streets and gather at hotspots throughout the city playing the augmented reality game into the morning, according to photographer Tomasz Lazar who spent a few days documenting the phenomenon. Lazar focused on the crowds at night, where players can be seen at 3 or 4 a.m., Lazar said. But the crowds aren’t rowdy, they’re mostly quiet and rarely interact — glued to their screens. Lazar said that once he saw a man almost hit by a car while walking and playing, so focused on the game that he was like a “zombie.”

Man tries to find Pokémon in the center of small Tokyo street. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

Group plays Pokémon Go close to the entrance Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A couple plays Pokémon Go near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A man and women play Pokémon Go under a street lamp in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A couple stops their car to play Pokémon go near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

Pokémon Go players play near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A man plays Pokémon Go at a cross walk in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

After midnight a large group of Pokémon Go players play in Yoyogi Park, one of the most popular spots to play in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A woman plays Pokémon Go near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A man stops his bike in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park to play Pokémon Go. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

Man plays close to Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

A young girl leaves Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park late at night after playing Pokémon Go. (Tomasz Lazar for The Washington Post)

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