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Sand Sculptures at Kyoto’s Silver Pavilion Temple
The Golden Pavilion and its “ moon-viewing platform ” conical sand sculpture Kyoto Japan, November 2013 -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
The Golden Pavilion
and its moon-viewing platform conical sand sculpture
Kyoto Japan, November 2013

Last fall I visited the Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺, the silver pavilion) in north-east Kyoto. It's named for a building that was intended to be coated in silver leaf (comparable to how the golden pavilion is coated in gold leaf). Apparently they never got around to actually applying the silver, but the name stuck.

As it is today, the temple is noted for its sculptured sand, including a huge Mt. Fuji shaped cone.

Entrance Stone Garden -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Stone Garden
Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

The minor entrance stone garden is not particularly special, with similar features easily found at other temples. But the main garden raises the level considerably...

desktop background image of the sculpted sand in the garden at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
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Perfect -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Perfect

There's also a curvy/wavy raised sand feature that's better seen from above...

Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

I suppose it's supposed to evoke the sea or water or something, but I'm not sure.

Curved Edge a couple of feet tall -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Curved Edge
a couple of feet tall
desktop background image of the sculpted sand in the garden at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
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Edge Detail -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Edge Detail

I'd love to know how they construct these, and how often. I imagine that the sand is quite hard packed, but we've had some monumentally torrential rains of late that dump a month's worth of rain in an hour, so I wonder how these sculptures hold up. I looked around on YouTube and found these three videos, which give some insight.

A path leads through a more-traditional garden and up the mountain a bit, to give the nice from-above view we saw before.

desktop background image of a garden path at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Garden Path -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Garden Path
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“ Moody Trees ” -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Moody Trees

The focal point in this photo is unrelated to the focus point, which may be really annoying to some. Compare to these shots of similar trees at the Heian Shrine.

Wide View from Above -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Wide View from Above
desktop background image of a slope of rich moss at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Mossy Slope -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mossy Slope
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Testing a Couple of Watches: Stührling and Citizen
A Watch a cheap watch, but serviceable -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 1250 — image data
A Watch
a cheap watch, but serviceable

As I mentioned in the comments on last month's post about horrid watch-marketing copy, I've been looking for a nice watch with a combination of features and simplicity and size that no one seems to make. So after years of keeping my eye out, I finally decided that perfect is the enemy of good enough and went ahead and bought some cheap watches just to try.

I'm glad I did because I found out some new ways in which what you see in advertisements is not necessarily what you get, and I also found that what I though was important in theory wasn't always important in practice.

The first watch I tried:


Fossil Men's Chronograph Townsman Navy
$110 at Amazon.com

This was a huge compromise from what I wanted in that it's casual and has stopwatch fluff, but I liked the deep blue face, and with the bright hands it seems to be eminently readable. So many watches these days, whether cheap crap or an $85,000 Patek Philippe, don't seem to have basic look-at-a-glance legibility. If you can't read it, what's the point? (I guess the point of wearing an $85,000 Patek Philippe that you can't read is to advertise that you can afford to wear an $85,000 Patek Philippe that you can't read.)

Unfortunately, this Fossil Townsman was horrible.

The hands, which look bright in the photo, are actually dark metal with a mirror finish. If they reflect something bright then you see them as bright. Otherwise, they disappear into the black of the face (which indeed looked black, even in direct sun, and not the dark navy blue described by Amazon's prose and photos). So I couldn't read the time on the thing except in good circumstances. It was frustrating, so I returned it.

I did the same with the $125 light-cream colored version of the same watch that I'd bought at the same time, for the same reasons.

Running out of time to enjoy Amazon-US prices and selection before returning to Kyoto, I tried two more watches, and ended up keeping them.

The first is a $165 Stührling Original Symphony Eternity GMT...

Stührling Original Symphony Eternity GMT -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 4500 — image data
Stührling Original Symphony Eternity GMT

This too is a great compromise over what I sort of think I want in a watch, but for $165 I can give it a try.

The good:

  • Easily readable across a wide range of lighting conditions, including dim.
  • The face is not too small (42mm) and the case not too thick (13mm).
  • Automatic: it has no batteries to need changing, and winds itself.
  • A fairly simple, uncluttered face. (Photos make it look more busy than it really seems.)
  • Has a name with an umlaüt. Makes it look old-world classy. Ümlaut means class, you know.
  • Safe to swim with, so safe in the rain.

The bad:

  • I wish it was a bit bigger, much thinner, and had a cleaner design around the outside edge.
  • Such a low price for an automatic (self-winding) watch brings worry about quality.
  • The date and GMT boxes are too small/difficult to read even with glasses. I didn't even bother setting them.
  • Luminescent features (hands and dots around the face) are worthless. Fireflys are an order of magnitude brighter.

The GMT box is supposed to show the hour in some other timezone, which could indeed be quite useful for me living in Japan, but I knew before I bought it that the box would be too small to read without glasses, so I'd not be able to rely on it. Indeed, I can't read it even with glasses unless the lighting is really good.

I can read it in this photo I took for this post, though:

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 5000 — image data

The face looks a bit busy with the wavy pattern, but in practice it just seems like a mild background texture.

It's advertised as water resistant to 50m (165 feet), which makes me feel I should be able to wear while swimming as deep as I could ever swim, but the manual says shallow water. This is apparently a well-established racket of inflated ratings used across the watch industry. Water resistant to 10 meters makes you think it's okay to shower or swim? Nope. The manual says such a rating means "withstand splashes of water while washing the hand, but should not be worn while swimming".

Once you learn the code you can understand what you're getting, but until then it seems wildly deceptive to me. But it seems to be a standard in the watch industry.

The other watch that I kept is the casual Citizen Eco Drive Black:

Citizen Eco Drive Black -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — image data
Citizen Eco Drive Black

This cost $130 at Amazon. Its primary attraction for me is that despite being a quartz it doesn't ever need a battery change because it gets charged via light through the face. The manual says that two minutes in direct sun will keep it running for half a year.

It's quite readable, but again, the luminescent features are worthless. When I was a kid you could literally read a book by the brightness from the luminescent hands of a kid's watch, but these days it's all worthless. Geez, a little radioactivity never hurt anyone.

This Citizen is the same size (42mm) as the Stührling, so I wish it were a bit bigger, but this one is less of a fashion statement. Not that I have much to do with fashion statements anyway. I can't read the date (so didn't bother setting it), but hey, 19~this one is water resistant to 100m!


Sigh, Lost All Email For the Last Day
Japanese Gargoyle of Email Destruction at a craftman's workshop in Otsu, Japan ( email troubles have been part of Japan's cultural lore for centuries ) -- Minobe Onigawara Workshop (美濃邉鬼瓦工房) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Japanese Gargoyle of Email Destruction
at a craftman's workshop in Otsu, Japan
( email troubles have been part of Japan's cultural lore for centuries )

I've used Emacs as my primary email client since about 1982, and for the first time in those 30+ years it inexplicably deleted my entire queue of unread mail (about 1,400 messages) when I tried to load the last day's worth of new mail this morning. Doh!

The thought of losing 1,400 messages awaiting my attention was both frightening and liberating. Sadly, I keep good automatic backups (in this case with Crashplan), so I was able to recover my mail queue as it stood a few hours ago.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've not been too attentive to email lately so hadn't even tried to load new mail for about the last day, so anything sent to me in the last day or so is lost. Sorry.

Most people who send me email don't read my blog so I suppose this won't do any good, but if you've sent something in the last day or so, please resend.

(The huge gargoyle seen above is the kind that normally adorns a temple roof's peak, such as the one seen in the following photos.)

Shoju Raijoji Temple (聖衆来迎寺) Otsu, Japan -- Shoju Raijoji Temple (聖衆来迎寺) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Shoju Raijoji Temple (聖衆来迎寺)
Otsu, Japan
Gargoyle Detail -- Shoju Raijoji Temple (聖衆来迎寺) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Gargoyle Detail

Back in Kyoto (with some Cousin-Play Pics from Ohio)
Cousin Play Anthony and his cousin Grace at Grandma and Grandpa's, Rootstown Ohio -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Cousin Play
Anthony and his cousin Grace
at Grandma and Grandpa's, Rootstown Ohio

I'm back in Kyoto after a couple of weeks visiting my folks in Ohio and a friend in Milwaukee.

I've accomplished a lot in the week I've been back:

  1. Gotten over jetlag

That's an impressive list for me after a transpacific trip.

I also got a new MacBook pro set up (upgrading from a circa 2010 model) and replaced, for the umpteenth time, failing Seagate Barracuda hard drives in my NAS (giving some Western Digital NAD drives a try this time).

What I haven't gotten done since returning is a much longer list, including processing photos from the trip, writing blog posts, or reading email. So today I'm trying to chip away at this list with a few photos from Anthony's first day of play with some of his cousins, also visiting Grandma and Grandpa (from California).

Looks Cool but with a maximum speed of a lazy adult stroll, it was more fun when they were little -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks Cool
but with a maximum speed of a lazy adult stroll,
it was more fun when they were little
But Still Poseworthy 9-year-old Grace -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
But Still Poseworthy
9-year-old Grace
Easy Smile -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Easy Smile
Lacing Up -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Lacing Up
4½-Year-Old Claire caught through a railing -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
4½-Year-Old Claire
caught through a railing
Not Quite Soccer -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite Soccer
7-Year-Old Luke rode until the battery died -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
7-Year-Old Luke
rode until the battery died
Too Big to Fit which somehow makes it more fun -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Too Big to Fit
which somehow makes it more fun
Race -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Race
After The Batteries Died -- Grandma and Grandpa's -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
After The Batteries Died

I was about to lament on how many photos that I still have to get to from this short trip, when I realized that I have 3x the photos from last year's trip that I've barely touched...


Ohio-Trip Roundup: Misc Fun Photos

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Crazy Summer of Fun
well, two weeks of crazy fun
at Grandma and Grandpa's, Rootstown Ohio

Our trip to visit my folks in Ohio ends tomorrow with a long trip back to Kyoto. I've still much to post from this short two weeks, but here are some random photos to fill out my last night...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Trampoline Dodgeball

We ended up visiting ZipCity four times. I posted about it earlier, and will again I'm sure.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Me and Anthony
僕と晏人
photo by Phyllis Friedl

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
My Brother Mike
attacking a five-year-old kid
僕の兄

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 560 — image data
Transforming
a rock on its way to become a step in a flight of steps
(My squats at the gym finally paying off; lift with your legs, not with your back)
ジムの筋トレはやっと便利になりました

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Birthday Boy
Cousin Luke turns Seven
ルックいとこは七才になりました

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Race Results
First place overall, and third in age group
5キロのレースをやって、兄は一位に、義理妹は年齢層の三位を出来ました

My brother Mike and his wife ran a local 5,000-meter race. Mike came in first overall, which is better than he did earlier in the summer in an 56-mile ultramarathon. Chickee came in third in her age group.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Active Summer

The older kids doing a zipline in the backyard while Mike takes his youngest for a tractor ride....


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mike and Claire

Here they are again at ZipCity after 4½-year-old Claire did the big zipline:


Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Mike and Claire

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Luke's Turn on the Tractor

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Claire Switches to Backup Transportation

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Grace's Turn on the Tractor

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Pro Driver

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Photo Op for Mommy

Mike offered to give Anthony a ride, but Anthony declined. Maybe it was because the tractor was too slow after an experience like last spring's go-carts at Adventure World, or maybe it was just because the zipline was too fun.