Fushimi Inari Taisha
It's listed in the Lonely Planet Kyoto Guide book as one of the top 5 sites to see in Kyoto (along with the Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens, Nanzen-ji, Kurama-dera, and the Nishiki Markets). It's also the second easiest to get to from my house of the top five, but for some reason it was the last of the top five for me to visit. Since Ritsuko and had a rare Tuesday afternoon and evening off, so we decided to head to the Shrine in the afternoon and stop at Kyoto station on the way back for a dinner at a nice restaurant near the station.
Given the conditions (it was overcast with a bit of light rain) I was glad I had my D700 and 24 f/2.8 lens, to be able to capture a handheld shot at high iso and wide open aperture. It would have been hard to do with the D80 + Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 under those conditions, given I'd lose two stops of iso and at least a stop of aperture.
It is usual for a Shinto shrine to only have a few gates, because each gate represents passing through to a more holy part of the shrine. However there are thousands of gates all next to each other in the kilometres of maze like paths at Fushimi Inari Taisha. It's not the only shrine like this, there is a similar one near Tokyo.
Note 04/11/2011: Still very busy at the moment, might be a little while before I post another PBLOG, but I will try to update some of the other galleries in a few days.
Strange things seen at night
It was on the last day of May in 2010, that I went out to Kyoto to do some more testing of my D700 + 24 f/2.8D combo. I went back to Pontocho
(some of the shots of Pontocho from this day will be posted later). After spending a while in Pontocho, I decided to head for the Shinkyogoku arcade were I saw a few truly strange shops. So this is a little collection of them, plus a self portrait. If you're observing carefully, you might even notice I'm wearing a sports parka. Such is the weather in Kyoto that it can be pretty cool even on the last night of Spring. Actually coming from beautiful warm and sunny Perth, the amount of cool days in Kyoto for me, greatly out weights the amount of warm days. Then again the short summer here in Japan feels even more hotter than the summer in Perth. I can go on an on about Kyoto's "hena tenki" (strange weather), that I might make a gallery devoted to it one day!
Note 31/10/2011: Well it took me much longer to get back to Pbase than I expected... But well... I had visitors from Australia, a Sports Carnival, a Tax Return, and heaps of other work on, so I've been as busy as, and it still is pretty busy, but it might quieten down after next week. So I'm not sure when I'll be able to post the next PBLOG... We'll see...
Kyoto Botanical Garden
Well, after a trip to busy Osaka and all this talk of hard work, maybe it was time to "stop and smell the roses" and soak up the other sights at the Kyoto Botanical Garden. So on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in May 2010, I donned my "spring suit" and together with Ritsuko headed off for an afternoon of strolling around the garden. Although it is more of a European style garden, there are still the little Japanese touches here and there. I hope I can go back again and again in other months and see what's different.
Note 03/10/2011: We are hosting a couple from Australia at the moment, so I'm not sure how many opportunities I'm going to get to post over the next 2 weeks.
I was in Osaka for a couple of hours on a little errand, and I brought my D700 with the 24mm lens mounted on it along for the ride. So while I was going between the train station and where I needed to get to I took a few snap shots. It was in this same underground area in Osaka five years prior (2005), that I first felt a call to come to this part of Japan. I remember back then seeing the crowds moving by and noticing so many faces sad and without hope. The following verse came to mind:
"And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." - Mark 6:34 (King James Version)
It's a curious thing, but Japan is one of the most wealthy countries on earth, but it's also one of the most saddest, it's hard to see people who are happy. Many people don't even realise how good they have it, they think they are poor and have to keep working very hard. Not that hard work is a bad thing, but people need a balance, we need family time, we need spiritual time. I've been to places in the world which are much poorer financially, but the people are happier because they keep the balance better.
Also on that day in 2005, in this same underground area inside a smoke filled cafe/bar, a Christian friend who had returned to Osaka after three years in Perth, lamented to me "God is not in this country, I can't find him here, I want to go back to Perth". At the very moment the words came out of her mouth, a song buy a Christian Band named "Plumb" started playing on the sound system in the cafe/bar, the words went like this "There's a God shaped hole in all of us..."
. I encouraged my friend "Listen to the song, God is hear, people are searching for him." She's know found a great church to fellowship in and works as a teacher in a little Christian school.
But, who am I, what do I have to give? Unlike going as a missionary to a third world country, we can't impress the locals with superior technology and knowledge (but then that's not the point of the Gospel anyway, but sadly it's done too often). I many ways Japan is more advanced than the west. I'm only a messenger witnessing to the power of God in this world, I'm not coming here to change people to westerners. Rather I come here pointing out God's works to others and testifying of the "Hope" He has given me. It's not about me, it's about Him.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." - 2 Corinthians 4:7 (King James Version)
The Ship Returns
Quite a while a go now I posted an entry to this PBLOG titled “The Ship”
. It was of this apartment block which Ritsuko and I nicked named “Fune Mansion” (since “Fune” (pron. “Fu-ne”, e as in egg, but shorter) is Ship in Japanese, and for some reason apartments are called “Mansion” in Japanese, BTW real Mansions (very rare in Japan) are called “Sanso”).
The first time I noticed this building which is shaped somewhat like a ship, it kind of “appeared” over the top of some small buildings as I approached the area on my bicycle. It kind of reminded me how as I would walk down the streets of Fremantle (the city where I used work in Australia) if there was a passenger ship in port it would appear over the tops of buildings as you neared the port.
This building became a symbol of familiarity and better times after the very hard first three months when we were not earning any income.
So while my first PBLOG on this subject was at the start of my new business ventures in Japan, this photo (taken over a year ago now) was pretty much at the time when the business here started to get very busy. Having at the time recently purchased the 24 f/2.8D lens, I could think of no better subject to test it out properly with than “The Ship”.
Typhoon Roke has come and gone, we only got the yellow (on the typhoon map) part of the storm here, we weren't in the red zone fortunately. Doesn't appear be any damage around this area. The worst typhoon we've had here in Nagaokakyo so far was the one in 2009