Sumimasen, the Romanised form for Japanese words すみません, roughly translates as excuse me. It is arguably one of the the most useful phrases for anyone travelling around Japan. During the month I spent in the country, I would commonly open interactions with strangers in the street with these words. As a rule, Japanese people are not particularly forthcoming with travelling foreigners. But if approached, they are invariably accommodating and relaxed when having their portrait taken, as evidenced by the images below.