A tribute to "Mr. T" (my neighbour not the actor)...
It was just another rainy April day when "Mr. T" (also referred to by Ritsuko and I as "Jiji" (grandpa)) rang the door bell. He gave us a bunch of unusual looking flowers. It wasn't the first time we've received flowers from him, by any means! However these where the most unusual flowers we've received from him so far...
You see "Mr. T" is that kind of guy. He travels around the neighbourhood either by bicycle or motor scooter (one that pollutes a lot!), giving vegetables or flowers to the neighbours. He's a retired carpenter and he's even helped us fix a few things around the house on occasion for free. Now-a-days he works a field owned by a rich friend of his, who doesn't have time to grow anything. It's a good deal, "Mr. T" gets to use the field for free, his friend doesn't have to pay so much land tax because the field is in use. "Mr. T" grows vegetables and flowers in the field which above and beyond what he needs for him and "Mrs. T", he distributes around the neighbourhood...
"Mr. T" speaks very rough Kansai-ben (the local dialect), tells lots of crude jokes and is very politically incorrect. He's a bit of character, but he has a heart of gold.
Note 23/04/2011: I'm making a trip back to Australia (again) for 10 days from Thursday, so this might be my last PBLOG for a while as I get myself ready to go.
It's happen again: while I was hoping to get this entry posted a day or two after the last one a few things have cropped up which have delayed me. One of them was a nasty but short lived illness I was suddenly struck with three days ago. You know I'm a guy that is pretty obsessed with keeping fit and healthy, actually I spend more time on fitness than I do on photography! I was absolutely floored by this illness, I felt I wanted to die! It was in this time I was reminded of just how sinful we are and how big God's grace is a upon us. No matter what we humans try to do to save ourselves in the end we are but clay in God's hands dependant on His Grace... Which leads me on to talking about getting a new camera (which happened almost one year ago now), because it too was an act of Grace....
Six months before moving to Japan I had upgraded to the D80
(from the D50
), actually that too was thanks to God's help in a lot of ways. After arriving in Japan I thought I'm probably not going be able to upgrade again for a long time, and I kind of put the thought out of my mind for the first year and bit hear in Japan. However come April 2010, the price of the D700 had fallen, too the point where it looked affordable (actually that was about the lowest they went cause the price has gone up again now!). Our business improved a lot and I had saved up more than enough money. However just like the second hand medium format camera, I couldn't get my wife's approval. As you may recall I prayed for a medium format camera, then someone gave me their old one without me telling anyone I was praying for such a camera
. Was it a selfish wish to ask God for a D700?
So I prayed and although I already had saved up the money myself, two weeks later someone deposited Ritsuko and I a love offering in our Australian bank account equal to the price of the D700. Ritsuko took this a confirmation that God wanted me to buy the camera. Not only that just like with my D50 prior I was able to sell the D80 quickly to a budding photographer friend of mine who was in need of a decent camera. So on the 26/04/2010 upgraded to the D700 and haven't looked back...
Note 20/04/2011: It's now been almost a year since I bought the D700, I've taken more photos with it than I did with the D80 in two years! I've been able to produce some wonderful photographs with it which I look forward to sharing with you all. Prayer works folks, please continue to pray for Japan.
P.S. I had planned the title of this entry a few months ago! and today as I went to add this entry Pbase is advertising "Something New!" WOW!
The Azaleas at Night
It was my final photo shoot for the D80 and 18-135 lens, before I sold them. I went back to see the Azalea Bush at Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine. This time photographing it at night using a small but high powered torch to paint the flowers with light as the lanterns weren't shining enough light on them. In the end I had to push the results a couple of stops in post processing (maybe at the EV limit of the D80s light meter?).
So now I've let the cat out the bag, so to speak. What I was trying to convince my wife I should buy a few blogs ago
was a new Nikon D? Well I prayed hard that the Lord would convince her it was good idea and a miracle happened, God answers prayer! I'll let you know what model it is in the next PBLOG.
While I was taking the shots that evening, I also met a couple of people I'd see a bit more of in the months to come. I consider those were divine appointments. All in all it was a very good evening and send off for the old camera.
Nagaokakyo's most famous bush
Every year around the last week of April people come from far and wide to see it in bloom. It's over 100 years old and classified as an important cultural asset. It's Nagaokakyo's most famous bush, a a large Kirishima Azalea bush at Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine
To quote the words of one of the ALTs (assistant language teachers) who writes a column in the local Nagaokakyo City Council Newsletter. "When I saw a painting of it at a school where I was working, I didn't believe it could be so red. After seeing the real thing, it's even redder than the painting!". Yes, it is an amazing red coloured bush, that is very tricky to photograph with out blowing out the red channel! In 2009 this bush only appeared in my PBLOG as bokeh
. This time I give you the bush!
Honestly, it is worth a trip to Nagaokakyo to see if you happen to be in Kansai
around the last week of April. 5 minutes walk west up either Tenmangu Dori or Azalea Dori from Nagaoka Tenjin Station (on the Hankyu Railway's Kyoto Line